Course Descriptions

Course Numbering

Courses are numbered to indicate level of instruction. Freshman level courses are designated in the 1000 sequence, and sophomore level courses are designated in the 2000 sequence. All Del Mar College courses are identified with letter abbreviations followed by a set of numbers. Courses are alphabetized in the Catalog according to their abbreviations. The numeric sequence in parentheses after the course title is indicative of the course's lecture hours, lab hours and credits respectively. For example, course 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 Course Number System

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 number, the first digit usually indicates the level of the course. A 0 indicates the course is developmental level, a 1 indicates the course is freshman level and a 2 indicates the course is 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 (REM). They are listed as Assessment Levels at the end of most course descriptions. Using course BIOL 1406 (Biological Concepts I - Cellular And Molecular) as an example, an Assessment Level listing for this course of R3, E3, M2 means this course requires the student to have a level 3 (college-level) in Reading and English and a level 2 (intermediate developmental level) in Math. Level 1 denotes basic developmental level. If no REM levels are 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.

Texas Success Initiative (TSI) Compliance

All new students are required to take a placement test to determine if developmental courses are needed in reading, writing and mathematics as required by the Texas Success Initiative. The TSI Placement Assessment is valid up to five years from the test date.

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 placement requirements before enrolling in restricted courses.

The following examinations may qualify to satisfy the TSI requirement:

  • ACT - American College Test
  • SAT - Scholastic Aptitude Test
  • STAAR (EOC) - State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness

Note: Please see the exemptions table for more information.

Assessment Level Tables

Scores are subject to change without notice. Please refer to this Catalog section (online) for the latest updates.

College Readiness Benchmark

You have completed Texas Success Initiative requirements for a subject area if you earn the minimum score listed in the tables and date ranges below. TSI scores are valid for a period of five years from the date of testing.

Note: College Readiness Diagnostic Test Score (CRDTS)

TSIA2 Administered on or After 01-11-2021
English/Language/Arts/Reading (ELAR) Math
Essay 5–8 and 945+ OR < 945 and CRDTS ≥ 5 and Essay ≥ 5 950+ OR < 950 and CRDTS 6
TSI Administered Prior to 01-11-2021
Reading Writing Math
351+ Essay 4 and 340+ OR
Essay 5 and ABE CRDTS 4+

TSI Assessment Exemptions

The following may be used to exempt you from one or more parts of the TSI Assessment.

Test Reading and Writing
Exemption Criteria
Exemption Criteria
ACT taken within 5 years from the testing date Composite 23+ and English 19+ Composite 23+ and Mathematics 19+
SAT (March 2016 or later) taken within 5 years from the test date Evidence-based Reading and Writing (EBRW) 480+ Math 530+
STAAR (EOC) for Graduates Level 2 ENGL 3 4000+ Level 2 Algebra 2 4000+
GED (effective May 12, 2021) taken within 5 years from testing date Reasoning through Language Arts (RLA) 165+ Mathematical Reasoning 165+
HISET (effective May 12, 2021) taken within 5 years from testing date Reading 15+ and Writing 15+ and Essay 4+ Mathematics 15+

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, STAAR or TAKS test may be eligible for an exemption. Please reference the "Exemptions from All or Some Assessment Requirements" table found in the Assessment Level Tables section of the Catalog to verify your eligibility for a score exemption or contact the Student Enrollment Center at (361) 698-1290.

Earned Degrees

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

Previous Coursework

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 (in the subjects of Reading, Writing, and Math) are exempt at entry. 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 armed forces of the United States or the Texas National Guard or service as a member of the reserve component of the armed 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.

Level 1 Certificate Waiver

A student who is enrolled in a certificate program of one year or less (Level 1 certificates, 42 or fewer semester credit hours or the equivalent) at a public junior college, a public technical institute, or a public state college is waived from the TSI requirement. TSI requirements apply if you change your major or take courses outside of your Level 1 certificate plan.

College Preparatory Course (CPC) Waiver

Students who successfully completed a college preparatory course (CPC), as allowed by Texas Education Agency, are waived for a period of 24 months from the date of high school graduation with respect to the content area of the course. For more information on eligibility, please contact the Admissions Office by calling 361‐698‐1290 or emailing

International Students

If you are an international student whose primary language is other than English, and you are taking only English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) classes, you will take the Comprehensive English Language Test (CELT) to determine your placement into ESOL classes.

Certification/Licensing Exams

There are special licensing/certification/registry exams that students may be required to take upon completion of specific occupational degree programs. Check with your departmental advisor for additional information upon completion of your degree requirements.

Other Examinations/Exam Proctoring Services

Del Mar College employs exam proctoring services, as appropriate, to verify student identity in hybrid and online courses.