Course Requisites*

B. What can be used in a requisite?
C. Unenforceable Requisites and Consent of Instructor
D. Managing Enrollment (section-level requirement groups)
E. Using Grades in a Requisite
F. Rules
G. Phrases to Use
H. Phrases Not to Use
I. Courses that Require a Requisite (based on course number or attribute)
J. Courses that Might Be Considered Equivalent for Requisites
K. Post-Enrollment Requisite Checking

Go to: style/formatting, requisites of requisites, using placement or AP test scores, how to word requisites, including VISP students in a requisite, using cross-listed courses

A. What is a requisite and why should they be enforced?  
A requisite is the academic preparation required of all students to be successful in a course. Requisites can take the form of a prerequisite (completed prior to the start of the course) or co-requisite (taken concurrently with the course).

Requisites are a part of the catalog entry for a course. They are enforced at the time of enrollment in the student information system (SIS) via a requirement group. (Ex. The requisite text for a QR-B course is “Satisfied Quantitative Reasoning (QR) A requirement”. The requirement group used to enforce the prior completion of QR-A is 001859, which includes completion via a QR-A course, UW Math placement exam results, and AP/IB test credit.) An in-progress course can provisionally be used to meet a requisite.

Requisites are not a means of managing enrollment, this is done through the application of section-level requirement groups and is not a part of the course catalog entry.

Institutional research has shown that students who enroll in courses without the necessary preparation have higher rates of D, F and drop than students who are appropriately prepared. Enforcing requisites is a way to ensure that students are only enrolling in courses that they are prepared for. For students to make smart decisions about their education, they need clear, consistent information.

  • D/F/DR rates are higher for students who don't have the course prerequisite; targeted minority students and first generation in college students are more likely to enroll in a course without having the necessary requisites.
  • Overall, 8% of undergraduate course outcomes are D/F/Drop, this represents a large number of seats that do not result in students making progress toward degree.

B. What can be used in a requisite?  
- UW-Madison courses (ex. MATH 101)
All courses deemed equivalent to the course must be included
All courses cross-listed with the course must be listed
- Transfer courses that are equivalent to a UW-Madison course
- Plan and subplan codes (ex. Declared in Athletic Training) this includes all degree/majors, certificates, minors, honors programs and named options
- Class standing (freshman, sophomore etc. determined by credits)
- Grade in a course - If grades are used as part of a requisite the department must have data that clearly shows that students who have a lower grade are not successful in the subsequent course. Students who earn a grade of D or better in a course receive credit and if a specific grade is not mentioned this is the default standard.
- GPA - Use of GPA as part of a course requisite must also be backed up by significant data.  
- Advanced Placement scores - AP scores (and other advanced standing credits) are automatically included as part of an enforced requisite if an equivalent course is used in the requisite. UW Placement test scores - Are automatically included as part of an enforced requisite if an equivalent course is used in the requisite. (ex. If MATH 112 is a requisite, students who are exempt from MATH 112 because of their placement test score are automatically included).
Student Groups - there are a few limited cases where student groups may be used in a requisite. Student groups are created in SIS for a very wide range of purposes not all of which relate to or are defined in a way that makes them compatible with use in a requisite. It needs to be clear how a student group is defined and is academic in nature and how it will be maintained in a way that remains consistent with that definition over time.  If interested in potentially using a student group in a requisite, consult APIR regarding acceptable use.

C. Unenforceable Requisites and Consent of Instructor  
If the required preparation for the course includes factors that are not enforceable in the enrollment system (ex. ability to run 20 miles per week for a course on training for a marathon) then the factors that would be considered should be mentioned in the Enroll Info at the end of the course description but the requisite would be "consent of instructor" and students would only be able to enroll if given individual permission to enroll. It is never necessary to list "or consent of instructor" at the end of a requisite as faculty always have the ability to override the stated requisite and permit a student to enroll.

D. Managing Enrollment (Section-level Requisites)  
It is okay for units to use section-level requisites in addition to the catalog level requisite as long as the section-level requisite is for enrollment management purposes and does not include additional academic requirements (i.e. courses, GPA).

E. Using Grades in a Requisite  
When completion of a prior course is used as part of a course requisite, earning a grade of D (i.e. getting credit for the course) is the default and in these cases it is not necessary to include language referring to grades in the requisite text. In rare circumstances it may be necessary to require a grade higher than a D. Requiring a grade threshold higher than the standard impacts student progress toward degree and requiring a student to repeat a course in order to progress in an area of study should only be done when there is clear evidence that it is necessary for student success in subsequent course work. In these cases data that shows that the higher threshold is required for reasons related to student success (not enrollment management) must be presented as part of the course proposal. 

When a requisite includes completion of a course with a particular grade or higher, transfer courses (which posted to the student transcript as a T) will be calculated as a C. Therefore, in a requisite of B, no transfer course (regardless of grade earned at the previous institution) would satisfy the requirement. All test credits (AP, IB, retro credit), are posted as T (equated as a C). Any transfer course receiving credit will have a grade of a T, including courses where the grade from the previous institution of a D.

When a requisite includes completion of a course with a particular grade or higher, courses taken on a pass/fail basis (which posted to the student transcript as a S) will be calculated as a C. If a student fails a pass/fail course (receives a grade of U) they do not receive credit and therefore the course can not be used to meet a requisite. 

F. Rules  
Where ever there is a placement exam, AP, IB, CLEP equivalent score, or direct transfer equivalency, they will automatically be included in the coding of what can be used to fulfill the requisite.

When listing a course, use the short description (abbreviation) for the subject + course number (ex. MATH 221)

No abbreviations ("so st" should be written "sophomore standing")
No periods
Use the Oxford comma with 'and' and 'or' statements.

- Where there is a list ending with “or X” then all course in series are considered “or” (ex. STAT 201, 224, 301, 324, or 371)
- Where there is a list ending with “and X” then all courses of the series are required (ex. GEOG 378, 572, 574, 575, 576, and 579)
- You may wish to consider using parenthesis to group courses and make it clear where multiple courses are all required or are considered interchangeable. (ex. DS 120 and (M E 160 or ART 112)

If there is a limitation on taking two courses that have significant overlap in content (in the past this would often read "can not receive credit for X course and Y course"; there must be an enrollment control that prevents students who already have credit for course X from enrolling in course Y and vice versa. (ex. "Students with credit for PHYSICS 201 may not enroll in PHYSICS 207") and the enrollment system is encoded to prohibit enrollment in both courses.

For cross-listed courses that are part of a requisite, all cross-listed units must be included (ex. SOC/PSYCH 530). 

Where standing is a requisite it is assumed that the level specified and above are permitted unless the word "only" is used. See the Standard Requisites list.  
- Sophomore standing = 20, 30, 40, graduate and professional students, and special students
- Sophomore standing only = 20
- Not open to undergraduates (used only on courses numbered 300 - 699 that are intended for graduate or professional students)
- Not open to special students (used to exclude non-degree seeking students who are included unless it is specifically stated otherwise)

If the course is limited to entering students you may consider the student groups of First-Year Student, First-Year Freshmen, or First-Year Transfer, as using standing alone will include or exclude students who have a significant number of advanced standing (AP, IB, retroactive etc.) and transfer credits. See the Standard Requisites list.

If there is a list of courses from the same subject, put the subject at the beginning of the list and do not repeat it. Pull out cross-listed courses and list them first or last. (ex. PSYCH/SOC 401, SOC 102, 202, 302, 506)

Where possible, when student groups are used, in the text say "Members of [name of student group]" (ex. Members of WES-Comp Sci)

Where the requisite includes reference to a student being declared in a specific program and/or plan (ex. Declared in Sociology) it may be assumed (unless otherwise stated):
- for courses is numbered 100-299 this refers to undergraduates only.
- for courses numbered 300-699 this refers to undergraduate and graduate programs
- for courses numbered 700 and above this refers to graduate programs

The official, approved transcript title must be used. The title on the Guide entry for the program uses the transcript title (ex. Agronomy  do not include the , B.S. )

If a course is a requisite of another course listed in the requisite (ex. if STAT 101 was a requisite for STAT 102 and STAT 102 is a requisite of STAT 201 the requisite for STAT 201 would just be STAT 102 not STAT 101 and 102. 

G. Phrases to use  
Satisfied Communications A requirement
Satisfied Communications B requirement
Satisfied Quantitative Reasoning (QR) A requirement
Satisfied Quantitative Reasoning (QR) B requirement
Declared in an honors program - required for all courses with an HON (H) designation
Declared in [X] (use the transcript title for the degree/major this is found on the page title for that degree/major in the Guide)  
Declared in [plan transcript title: named option] (use the transcript title for the degree/major with a colon then the transcript title of the named option this is found on the page title for that degree/major in the Guide)  
Declared in [X] certificate (use the transcript title for the certificate this is found on the page title for that certificate in the Guide)
Declared in [X] graduate program (if the masters and PhD program are included use the page title from the Guide without the degree)
Classified in [X] program - where there is a pre-major code and a major code and you want all students with either code to be able to enroll
Member of [X] - where there is a student group that defines who may enroll in the course  
Concurrent enrollment in [CRSE ###].

CRSE ### or concurrent enrollment

A grade of [X] in [CRSE ###] (this assumes that the grade stated or any grade higher is acceptable).
Not open to students with credit for [CRSE ###]

Graduate/professional standing - If the course is numbered 700 or higher then the course must at a minimum, have a requisite that limits the course to post-baccalaureate students. Note: a change was made to this standard text from "graduate or professional standing" to eliminate an "or" that caused confusion and complication when the phrase was used along with other requisites.

How to include VISP students  

Declared in a Visiting International Student Program (equates to all students in the VISP plan codes UIDL999, UIGL999, UIUL999)
Declared in a Visiting International Student Program at the undergraduate level (equates to VISP plan code UIUL999)
Declared in a Visiting International Student Program at the graduate level (equates to VISP plan codes UIDL999, UIGL999)

H. Phrases *not* to Use  
- "or consent of instructor" ALL courses are open to all students with the consent of the course instructor.
- "or equivalent"  All course equivalents should be clearly stated in the requisite,
- "Open to freshman" (or any derivative of this) - all courses are open to all students unless there is a specific limitation
- Reference to UW-Madison admission standards, or high school preparation (ex. high school algebra) may not be used.

I. Enrollment limits based on course number  
All courses with a number that ends in x89, x98 or x99 will be set to require instructor consent to enroll.
All courses with the Honors Only (H or HON) requirement designation will have a requisite that limits enrollment to students in an honors program.

Courses numbered 681 and 682 or 691 and 692 will be set to require instructor consent to enroll. The course descriptions for 682 and 692 will also state that 681 or 691 respectively are required in order to enroll.

All courses numbered 700 or above will have a requisite that limits enrollment to students with graduate or professional standing.

J. Courses that Might Be Considered Equivalent for Requisites  
Algebra: MATH 112 is College Algebra. Students can elect to take MATH 114, a combination of MATH 112 and 113, and therefore any requisite which MATH 112 can fulfill should allow MATH 114 to satisfy the requirement. Math also teaches MATH 171/217, a two course hybrid sequence which blends pre-calculus and calculus I (MATH 221). Departments may wish to consider if completing MATH 171 would satisfy its requirement, or if MATH 171 and 217 would be needed. For more information on MATH 114 v. MATH 171, visit:

Introductory Biology: BIOLOGY/ZOOLOGY 101 and BIOLOGY/ZOOLOGY 102, BIOLOGY/BOTANY 130, BIOLOGY/BOTANY/ZOOLOGY 151 and BIOLOGY/BOTANY/ZOOLOGY 152; Biocore (curricula vary on how much Biocore is needed for an “intro biology equivalency) BIO SCI x52 will automatically be added but not displayed in the requisite text to any course that lists BIOLOGY/BOTANY/ZOOLOGY 152 as a requisite.

General Chemistry: Chemistry courses to consider in your requisite include CHEM 103 and CHEM 104 (the standard two-semester introductory sequence for STEM majors), CHEM 108 (often considered a terminal chemistry course for non-STEM majors, CHEM 109 (an accelerated version of CHEM 103 and 104 combined), and CHEM 115 and CHEM 116 (completion of 115 and 116 is the equivalent of general chemistry and an analytical chemistry course)

Organic Chemistry: Chemistry offers a single semester, terminal Organic Chemistry course (CHEM 341) as well as a two semester sequence (CHEM 343 and CHEM 345). CHEM 341 is not equivalent to either CHEM 343 or CHEM 345 and it does not satisfy the requisite for enrollment in CHEM 345.

Introductory Psychology: PSYCH 201, 202, and 281 are considered equivalent

Introductory Sociology: SOC 181, C&E SOC/SOC 210, and C&E SOC/SOC 211 are all considered equivalent. Often C&E SOC/SOC 140 (Intro to Community & Environmental Sociology) is considered equivalent as well.

Microeconomics: ECON 101 and ECON 111 are considered equivalent. Sometimes A A E 215 (Introduction to Agriculture and Applied Economics) is also considered as a microeconomics equivalent.

Introductory Physics: STEM majors vary on which Physics course they will accept in their programs. There are 4 sequences which are often considered, including: PHYSICS 103 and 104 (an algebra-based introductory series), PHYSICS 201 and 202 (a calculus-based introductory series primarily for engineering majors), PHYSICS 207 and 208 (a calculus-based introductory series for math and science majors), and PHYSICS 247 and 248 (a calculus-based introductory series for Physics, Astro-Physics, and AMEP majors). EMA 201 and either EMA 202 or ME 240 are often considered a substitute for the first semester in the introductory sequence.

Calculus I with Analytical Geometry: MATH 217, 221, and 275 are all considered equivalents. MATH 211 is also Calculus I, taught without a trigonometry requisite and geared more towards business and social science

K. Post-Enrollment Requisite Check (PERC) 

PERC is a process that departments can opt into in order to help enforce enrollment requirements that were in progress at the time a student enrolled. This allows for more enrollment control and fosters communication with students to ensure they are making successful degree progress and enrolling in appropriate the courses.

More information about PERC

See Also:

Keywords:prerequisite, prereq, prereqs   Doc ID:25566
Owner:Melissa S.Group:Courses and Academic Programs
Created:2012-08-10 08:37 CSTUpdated:2021-09-07 14:11 CST
Sites:Courses and Academic Programs
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