Prerequisites

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How to read prerequisites

A prerequisite may consist of a single course, multiple courses, or a choice of courses.

Because of space restrictions, prerequisites are written in the most concise way possible. Certain conventions have been used for consistency and clarity.

A prerequisite may consist of two or more courses (or sets of courses) that a student may chose from. Such groups begin with the word "either" and have "or" before the last choice. Separate courses (or sets of courses) are divided by commas.

Example:

CHEM 237 Organic Chemistry (4)

Prerequisite: either CHEM 155, CHEM 160, or CHEM 162.

Translation:

A student must take one of the following before taking CHEM 237: CHEM 155 or CHEM 160 or CHEM 162

A prerequisite choice may consist of more than one course. These groups are defined by the use of "and"".

Example:

CHEM 152 General Chemistry (5)

Prerequisite: either CHEM 140 and CHEM 141, CHEM 142, or CHEM 145.

Translation:

A student must take one of the following sets before taking CHEM 152:

  1. CHEM 140 and 141 or
  2. CHEM 142 or
  3. CHEM 145
The main division of prerequisites is the semicolon (;), which divides required courses or groups of courses.

Example:

SPAN 401 The Morphological Structure of Spanish (5)
Prerequisite: SPAN 303; SPAN 323.

Translation:

A student must take SPAN 303 and SPAN 323 before taking SPAN 401.

Example:

CHEM 317 Inorganic Chemistry Laboratory (3)

Prerequisite: either CHEM 165 or CHEM 312; either CHEM 242 or CHEM 347.

Translation:

A student must fulfill each of two prerequisites before taking CHEM 317:

  1. either CHEM 165 or CHEM 312, and
  2. either CHEM 242 or CHEM 347

A course may have a combination of groups of choices and several prerequisites.

Example:

CHEM 241 Organic Chemistry Laboratory (3)

Prerequisite: either CHEM 155, CHEM 160 and CHEM 161, or CHEM 162; either CHEM 224, CHEM 238, or CHEM 336.

Translation:

A student must take one of the following sets before taking CHEM 241:

  1. CHEM 155, or
  2. CHEM 160 and 161, or
  3. CHEM 162

As well, a student must take one of the following before taking CHEM 241: CHEM 224 or 238 or 336.

Example:

ZOOL 438 Comparative Endocrinology (3)

Prerequisite: either BIOL 202 or BIOL 102 with either ZOOL 301 or ZOOL 315.

Translation:

A student must take one of the following sets before taking ZOOL 438:

  1. BIOL 202, or
  2. BIOL 102 and ZOOL 301, or
  3. BIOL 102 and ZOOL 315

What Can Be Included in a Prerequisite Listing

A prerequisite can include any of the following:

  • Specific course(s) offered at the University of Washington
  • Test scores
  • A specific number of courses at the appropriate level (e.g., two 300-level GERMAN courses)
  • A minimum grade attained at a course offered at the University of Washington

Additionally, the following features are available upon request:

  • Automatic cancellation if prerequisites are not met by the beginning of the quarter
  • Not allowing a "CR" or "S" grade to satisfy the prerequisite requirement. (Note: the default is to allow this. However, if you request a minimum grade above 2.0, you must also request not allowing "CR" or "S" grades to satisfy them
  • requirement.)
  • Allowing concurrent registration of the class and its prerequisite.
  • Prohibiting students from registering in a class for which they have already received credit.

The following are not supported by the prerequisite database and therefore cannot be included in a prerequisite:

  • "Or equivalent"; must have acutal UW courses that can be checked by they SDB
  • "Permission of instructor"—use entry codes instead
  • Specifying a certain number of credits (e.g., "10 credits of upper-division classes")—specify number of courses needed instead.
  • General concepts (eg, "intermediate calculus")—specify a course offered at the University of Washington.
  • "Majors only", "seniors only" or any other statement restricting enrollment to a certain category of students—specify this on a quarterly basis through the Time Schedule.
  • Section-specific prerequisites—use entry codes to screen students when a course has section-specific prerequisites.

How does prerequisite cancellation work

Requesting prerequisite cancellation for your course prerequisites automatically unregisters students from a course if they have not met the specifed prerequiste. If this box is not selected, you will receive a report of students how have registered without the appropriate prerequisites and you will have to decide if the students can remain in the course.

How to Change a Prerequisite

Prerequisites should be changed only when a course's content has significantly changed.

Depending on the type of change there are two ways to change prerequisites:

  1. If the prerequisite change involves another department (e.g., Chemistry wants to change a prerequisite from MATH 124 to MATH 125), a Course Change Application must be completed and submitted to the Curriculum Office. Section 8 of the application must have the signature of the chair of the department being affected.
  2. If the prerequisite change involves only courses within your department (eg, Chemistry wants to change a prerequisite from CHEM 160 to CHEM 162), you can fill out the online email form and the Curriculum Office will contact you about the requested change.