Should there be a "the" in

I am a student in (the) course Data Structure?

"Data Structure" is the title of the course.


  • Could you post the entire sentence please? It's impossible to say with 100% certainty whether or not the article is needed without additional information (i.e., this isn't governed by a universal rule). At the very least, if you could provide some basic contextual/background information, it would likely improve the quality of the answers that you receive. It would be best if you explained what it is, exactly, that you're trying to say. – Giambattista Dec 17 '13 at 3:41
  • Yes. I edited it. – Tim Dec 17 '13 at 3:42
  • 2
    Based on the way it reads, I'd say you probably need the. There are potentially a handful of exemptions that might apply, but those would be more rare (i.e., it's very hard to answer a question about English grammar without having all of the relevant context). Think of it this way: if you include a word that's unnecessary from a grammatical standpoint, it just makes the sentence wordy; it's not wrong. On the other hand, if the meaning of the sentence cannot be understood or is easily misconstrued, omitting the word, is wrong. Bottom line: It's better to be safe than sorry. – Giambattista Dec 17 '13 at 3:55
  • The more usual way to say it is, "I am a student in the Data Structures course". (Also, notice Data Structures is usually plural because you study more than one structure for data) – The Photon Dec 17 '13 at 6:31

Yes, 'the' is okay there.

COCA defines it in one of its instances

Elissa Goldstein, a fiction student in the MFA program at Brooklyn College, was born and raised in Melbourne, Australia.

Maybe, it takes definite article to describe that particular course.

Nevertheless, the sentence can be clarified further by adding the place you go.

I am a student in the Data Structure course at Virginia University.

  • +1 To me, it sounds as if you will need that the. By the way, it's more common to write Data Structures, with the s, as suggested by ThePhoton above. – Damkerng T. Dec 17 '13 at 7:59
  • @DamkerngT. Yeah, agreed. It's Data Structures. Though I found a few document written by a professor from the University of Alberta who mentioned it as a Data Structure Course. webdocs.cs.ualberta.ca/~holte/T26/top.realTop.html – Maulik V Dec 17 '13 at 8:10

Yes. Course here is countable, which means you need a(n) or the. You're referring to one course, not to "course" in general (whatever that would mean).

I'm a student in the course Data Structures.

Usually, though, the name would come before the word course:

I'm a student in the Data Structures course.
I'm a student in a Data Structures course.

The last sentence would be possible if there were multiple Data Structures courses.

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