Course Descriptions

Course Numbering System

All Del Mar College courses are identified with letter abbreviations followed by a set of numbers. Courses are alphabetized in this catalog according to their abbreviations; see the Index of Courses in the back of this Catalog to locate a specific subject. The numbers in parentheses after the course title indicates the number of lecture hours, lab hours and credits respectively. For example, CHEM 1411, General Inorganic Chemistry I (3-3-4) meets for three lecture hours and three lab hours a week in a regular semester and awards four semester hours of credit.

Four-Digit Numbers

Del Mar College has adopted the Texas Common Course Numbering System for most academic courses and the Workforce Education Course Numbering System for occupational and technical courses. These four-digit numbers were developed to simplify the process of transferring credits from Del Mar College to other Texas colleges and universities and to ensure the maximum credit possible for each transfer student. These numbers are approved by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.

In the four-digit common course numbers the first digit usually indicates the level of the course: 0 - developmental, 1 - freshman and 2 - sophomore level. Some exceptions to this rule exist. The second digit indicates the credit value in semester hours. The third and fourth digits are used to differentiate courses or as an indicator of course sequence.

Assessment Levels

The Del Mar College faculty has established specific Assessment Levels for every college-level course. These levels refer to diagnosed abilities in the basic skills of reading, writing and English, and mathematics. They are listed as prerequisite Assessment Levels at the end of most course descriptions. Using Biology 1406. Biological Concepts I - Cellular And Molecular as an example, R3, E3, M2 means this course requires the student to have reading and English Assessment Levels of 3 (college level), while mathematics assessment may be at level 2 (intermediate developmental level). Level 1 denotes basic developmental level. If no R, E, or M is listed, the assessment level defaults to Level 1.

Students must meet the assessment levels shown for each course either by placement testing or by previous course work.


ACT and SAT scores more than five years old will not be used for course placement in English, reading, or math.

Please refer to the Assessment Levels chart on the following page to see how scores are used.

Texas Success Initiative (TSI)

All new students are required to take a placement test to determine if developmental courses are needed in reading, writing and English and mathematics as required by the Texas Success Initiative.

The purpose of the Texas Success Initiative (TSI), mandated by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board is to grant institutions of higher education the flexibility and responsibility to improve individualized programs and ensure the success of students in higher education. All students must meet the following requirements before enrolling in restricted courses.** The following examinations all qualify to satisfy the TSI requirement:

ACT - American College Test

TAKS - Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills

SAT - Scholastic Aptitude Test (taken before March 2005)

NOTE: The above exemptions may be used within a five year period of enrollment.

**Beginning Fall 2013 the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board will be implementing a new benchmark examination. Any students testing after the first day of class for Fall 2013 will be required to take the new examination.

Assessment Levels Chart

(R1) (R2) (R3)
TSI Assessment 341 and Below 342-350 351+
ACT (Reading) 0-14 15-18 19+
SAT1 (Reading) 200-419 420-499 500+
TAKS (English Language Arts) 2200+ with writing
sample 3+
(E1) (E2) (E3)
TSI Assessment 358 and Below 
Essay 0-3
Essay 0-3
363+ and Essay 4 or 
Essay 5 and Above
ACT (English) 0-14 15-18 19+
SAT1 (Reading) 200-419 420-499 500+
TAKS (English Language Arts) 2200+ with writing
sample 3+
(MO) (M1) (M2) (M3)
TSI Assessment 335 and Below 336-345 346-349 350+
ACT (Mathematics) 0-12 13-15 16-19 20+
SAT1 (Mathematics) 200-310 311-459 460-499 500+
TAKS (Mathematics) 2200+
Exempt from Reading and Writing Exempt from Mathematics
ACT taken within 5 years from the testing date with composite of 23+ English 19+ Mathematics 19+
SAT taken within 5 years from the testing date with total reading and math of 1070+ Reading 500+ Mathematics 500+
11th Grade TAKS within 5 years ELA 2200+ with writing sample 3+ Mathematics 2200+
STAAR (EOC) for graduates Level 2 ENGL 3 Level 2 Algebra 2
Writing 2000+ Level 2 Algebra 2
Reading 2000+
Earned Degrees A student who has graduated with an associate or baccalaureate degree from a Texas public institution of higher education.

TSI Exemptions*

All students taking college-level courses must satisfy Texas Success Initiative (TSI) requirements, unless they qualify for a TSI exemption, waiver or exception.

Official documents must be submitted to the Student Enrollment Center for determining exemption. Exemptions are permanent and do not need to be renewed each semester.

Score Exempt

Students who meet qualifying standards on the SAT, ACT, or TAKS test may be eligible for an exemption. Please reference the preceding assessment chart to verify your eligibility for a score exemption or contact the Student Enrollment Center at (361) 698-1290.

Degree Exempt

Students who have earned an associate or baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited post-secondary institution or from a recognized international institution are exempt from all Texas Success Initiative requirements.

Transfer Exempt/Passed

Students whose previous Texas public college or university has determined that they have met minimum passing standards in reading, writing and English, and/or math are exempt in the curricular area/s indicated, but must develop and pursue an Academic Success Plan in any remaining area/s. An official transcript or other appropriate documentation of status must be submitted.

Private/Out-of-state Transfer Exempt

Students who transfer from a regionally accredited college or university and have earned at least three semester hours of college level credit (ANY course) are exempt at entry. (The private/out-of-state institution must be the last institution attended). An official transcript must be submitted.

Course Exempt

Students who have completed a restricted course from a regionally accredited college or university earning a grade of C or higher are exempt in the curricular area of that course, but must develop and pursue an academic success plan with an advisor in any remaining area/s.

Veteran Exempt

A student who on or after August 1, 1990, was honorably discharged, retired or released from active duty as a member of the arned forces of the United States or the Texas National Guard or service as a member of the reserve component of the arned forces of the United States may be exempted. The veteran must provide a valid DD214.

Military Exempt

A student who is serving on active duty as a member of the armed forces of the United States, The Texas National Guard or as a member of a reserve component of the armed forces of the United States and has been serving for at least three years preceding enrollment may be exempted. The service member must provide a valid statement of service from his or her unit of assignment.

The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board provides more details about exemptions and waivers.