What is Choice Based Credit System?

What is Choice Based Credit System?

What is Choice Based Credit System?

What is choice based credit system or commonly called as CBCS? There has been a lot of fuss among the student community on introduction of semester pattern and choice based curriculum in universities. What exactly is it?

Choice based – means the courses learned are according to the interest of the student in a specific subject.

Credit system – the credits are somewhat similar to points or scores earned. Credits are earned when a student earn a pass for the course. Typically, three credits are awarded when a student passes one course.

Choice based credit system is a globally accepted academic system that gives freedom for the student to choose the courses of his interest. This system fully empowers the student to choose a course of his so that he/she excels in the studies. Unlike conventional system, the assessment is done by the teacher who taught the subject. Continuous evaluation along with the choice based credit system enables the student to score maximum marks during the semester itself rather than waiting for the end of the semester to write the examination. Because of the flexibility, the teachers will have to keep updated on the knowledge of courses they teach.

Recently, University Grants Commission (UGC), the apex educational body in India made a notification to make it mandatory for all the universities in India to follow CBCS pattern of academic system.

Let us see what is a “Credit”?

A credit is like a point awarded for completing a course. A course is nothing but the “subject”. Best example – Basic Mathematics. Credit awarded for a course is directly related with the class room hours for that course in a week. When we say that it is a four credit course, it means you have to spend 4 hours attending the class room session in a week. Usually it is three hours and one tutorial. Tutorial is the practical done based on the theory, in the class room itself. 4 hours per week is allotted for a four credit course.

Lab practical is given only one credit. The reason is that the lab practical is the implementation of what has been done in the notebook during the tutorial hours. In the case of a programming course, you write or develop the logic during the tutorial hours and implement it in a programming language during the lab hours.

“Choice Based” – The name itself says:

  • Student has the choice to select the courses (subjects) of his interest in a semester.
  • He can choose the courses based on the credits for each course. For example, if there are four courses of four credits each, the total credits he registers is 16. Usually there is a cap of minimum and maximum credits for a given semester. That depends on the university.
  • This is important when there are electives offered under choice based curriculum. Elective may be selected based on the interest of the student. It has some influence on the next level of degree. For example, post-graduation.

Benefits of Choice Based Credit System

Courses & Subjects

In choice based credit system, there is no concept of subjects. They all are called courses. The reason is that subject is viewed in a broad sense and courses in a little more specific sense. Example – Biology is a subject and Molecular Biology can be a course. Physics is a subject and Quantum Physics is a course. It designed so because, there are students interested in Photonics, but not in Quantum Physics or Astronomy. This means, in credit system, few courses will be listed under a subject and the curriculum will mention the number of credits required from that particular subject. So, the student can choose the courses to satisfy the credit requirement. Same happens with all the subjects. For example, if it is mandatory to earn 24 credits in Mathematics according to the curriculum, the student has to choose courses from the Mathematics to earn 24 credits.


Registration is mandatory to attend a course in credit system. Unlike the conventional system, Registration process is devised to know the number of students registered for a course. The reason is that any student can register for any course provided the course mentor permits to do so and the prerequisite condition is fulfilled. Registration may be rejected by the course instructor or the course mentor or the academic body based on certain policies. One reason can be the number of students. Another reason is that you can register for a course only if you have successfully completed the basic course on the same subject in the lower semester.


The courses taught in the first year are mostly fundamental courses in various subjects. These fundamental courses are prerequisites for the courses to be registered in the higher semesters. Once you advance to higher semesters, you will find that in order to register for a course, you should have completed its prerequisite. For example, a pass in Basic Mathematics is mandatory to register for a course in Linear Algebra or Probability & Queuing Theory.

Elective courses

Elective courses are basically specialized courses offered under a subject area. For example, Wireless Communication can be an elective course. Elective courses are offered in the higher semester. Elective courses helps the student to streamline his studies in a specific area. One of the important benefits is that while going for higher education, choosing the area based on the elective course would really help to get deeper knowledge in the area.

Continuous evaluation:

The name has everything. In a continuous evaluation system, the student is the king. He can score at least 50% of the marks for a course, during the semester itself. This means, 50% of the marks is for the continuous evaluation. This continuous evaluation is held by conducing periodical / unit tests or asking students to write home assignments, open book examination, quizzes, etc. It is essentially the teacher who decides on it. It depends more or less on the nature of the course. If the course is more theory oriented, home assignments are one ways in which the teachers evaluate the students.

Student benefits in a credit system:

Compared with the conventional system of yearly examination, this helps the student to write the examination, score the maximum marks during the semester itself. You know the marks scored at any given point of time during the semester. An average student can plan accordingly. For example, let us assume that out of 100 marks for a course, 50 marks is for the continuous evaluation and remaining 50 marks for the final examination conducted at the end of the semester. You can score 40 marks out of 100 during the semester itself, before the final examination. Studies can be managed accordingly for the final examination.

What if I fail?

In a typical Choice Based Credit System scheme, if you fail, it is possible to attempt for the second chance immediately after the results are published. Some universities doesn’t show it as a “second chance” in the grade sheet. Thus, this is helpful for the student in lot of ways. In case, if you fail again in the second chance, there is no way other than to sit with the lower semester to complete the course again. This happens sitting with your juniors. It may be a bitter experience, so grab the marks during your course of study.