Answered By: Sarah Morehouse
Last Updated: Jan 11, 2016     Views: 88

College Source Online logo with menu

College Source Online is a database that provides the full text of over 80,000 college catalogs, both in the United States and around the world. It is available through the Empire State College Online Library to all faculty, staff and students.

College Source Online has resources for all aspects and stages of managing one's academic career, but this post will discuss those features that make it useful in Empire State College's educational planning process. In particular, students, working with their mentors, can investigate how other accredited institutions of higher education structure their majors. Studying the curricula and course descriptions from other colleges can shed light on:

  • what constitutes college-level learning
  • what constitutes foundational work versus advanced work
  • what skill sets and domains of knowledge are important to explore for a student interested in a certain discipline or interdisciplinary field
  • how subject- and discipline-specific areas of knowledge are balanced with the need for a solid foundation ("gen ed") and well-roundedness ("electives")
  • what, if any, requirements are there for learning through real life experience in the form of labs, internships, practicums, etc.

To access College Source Online via the Empire State College Online Library:

  1. Go to our web site at (or click our link under MyESC's Learning Resources tab.)
  2. Click Article Databases.
  3. Scroll down the alphabetical list and click College Source Online, then log in with your college login and password.

Once you're in the database, you will see a search box. One option is to type in the name of the college you're interested in, which is very straightforward. You and your students may find it more useful to browse for colleges that have a certain accredited academic program.  To do this:

  1. Click the Advanced Search link, which is located under the search button.
  2. Click Criteria Search.
  3. You now have a number of criteria to select:
    1. Click a radio button for degree level (choose bachelor's or master's)
    2. Select up to four degrees (such as Accounting or History) by holding down the Ctrl key while clicking them.
    3. Leave the rest of the criteria blank; they are irrelevant to educational planning purposes.
  4. Click the Search button at the bottom of the page.
  5. You will now have a list of colleges and universities that match the criteria you selected. To the left of each one is a set of icons that link to different kinds of information. Of particular interest:
    • This PDF icon links to the college's catalog.

    PDF icon

    • This profile icon links to a page that contains information about the college's accreditations.

    PDF icon

In addition to its value in the educational planning process, College Source Online is a valuable resource to which we can direct students who wish to take a course at another institution and have the credits transferred here, or who are finishing up their bachelor's degrees with us and want to pursue a master's degree or PhD somewhere else.

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