Office of the University Registrar

Prerequisites

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.
  • Restricting students from repeating a class if the student has achieved a certain grade (e.g., “Cannot be repeated for credit if received minimum grade of 2.5 in CHEM 110.”)

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

  • “Or equivalent”; must have actual UW courses that can be checked by the 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 the content of a course has significantly changed. Changes are submitted through UW CM.

Please see the Help Center for submission guidance.