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Transfer Student Resources

Common Numbering System FAQs

What is the Common Numbering System (CNS)?

The CNS is a college course numbering system designed to help undergraduate students attending UNC System Institutions to plan their education and ensure successful transfer of course credits.

Why is CNS Important?

The CNS will allow for more seamless transfer of course credit between UNC universities and limit the number of excess credits that transfer students earn, saving time and money.

How were courses selected for the CNS List?

The most often transferred lower division courses between UNC System universities were selected for Phase 1 of the CNS project (typically, courses with content intended for first- or second-year undergraduate students and courses numbered at the 100/200 or 1000/2000 level). These courses were reviewed, revised and approved by faculty at each institution for transfer.

Where can I see the CNS equivalencies?

A searchable database ( is available for public access and the full list of CNS courses is downloadable from the UNC CNS webpage

Will non-CNS courses transfer?

Yes, the Course Transfer Search ( was developed as a resource to view all transfer credit to UNC System Institutions.

Are general electives included in the CNS?

Only courses that transfer as specific equivalents are included in the CNS. Depending on a student’s major and institution, some CNS courses might be considered electives.

Will universities have to change their course catalog numbering?

No, the advantage of the UNC CNS is that institutions retain their course prefixes, numbers, and titles. Institutional courses are mapped to an overarching UNC System numbering system, which helps to identify how a course transfers.

When was the CNS implemented?

Fall 2022