Building a Course Prerequisite
Below are some questions that might help you formulate an appropriate, enforceable course prerequisite. Keep in mind, a prerequisite should include the minimum level of preparation needed to succeed in a class.
1. What is the minimum class standing? This type of requirement should be used sparingly. It is based only on the number of credits a student has earned including advanced standing (AP, IB, retroactive etc.) Someone with junior standing may be a new college student with 55 AP credits or they may be a student who has attended UW-Madison for 3 years and earned 54 credits on campus. Most prerequisites will naturally limit enrollment in higher level courses by virtue of specific course prerequisites etc.
- Freshman: less than 24 credits
- Sophomore: at least 24 credits
- Junior: at least 54 credits
- Senior: at least 86 credits
- Graduate student
- Professional student (if specific type, law, pharmacy etc. please list)
2. Does a student need to be declared in a certain program?
3. Is there a course (or courses) that a student must successfully complete or be concurrently enrolled with in order to enroll in this course?
If yes, please list the course(s) by subject and course number (ex. MATH 101, not Introduction to Algebra). Include all possible courses that would meet this requirement, think about equivalent courses, honors versions of a course etc. It is not necessary to list AP scores, placement test scores etc. as these will automatically be included as appropriate.
4. Are there students who should NOT be allowed to enroll in this course?
If yes, (it is not necessary to reference the opposite or absence of characteristics listed above) include equivalent courses, class standing or other enforceable data element. (ex. students who have completed PHYSICS 201 may not enroll in PHYSICS 207).
5. Are there other, non-specific recommendations? If it is necessary for students to possess specific knowledge, experience, skills etc. that cannot be accommodated by the enrollment system these would be listed at the end of the course description but the enforced requisite would be “consent of instructor” and it would be necessary for the instructor or department offering the course to determine individual student’s qualifications for the course and give them a permission to enroll.
An enforceable prerequisite with all of the above mentioned criteria might look like this:
Prereq> Junior standing, declared in Sociology, and SOC/PSYCH 530. Students who have completed SOC 300 may not enroll.
Keep in mind, no prerequisite is absolute, the course instructor always has the authority to give permission for any UW-Madison student to enroll in their course regardless of whether they meet stated requirements or not.