These questions and answers about prerequisites apply to undergraduate students at the University of Iowa in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Tippie College of Business, the College of Engineering, the College of Education, the College of Nursing, and University College. However, these other colleges may have slightly different procedures. Please visit their Q and A pages and be sure to consult with your advisor about your questions.
Q: What is a prerequisite?
A: A prerequisite is generally a course that you must complete before enrolling in a second course. Sometimes a student is given a choice of prerequisites to complete. In the example below, the student must complete PHYS:1511 (College Physics I) OR PHYS: 1611 (Introductory Physics I) before taking College Physics II. In other cases, a student has the choice of achieving a certain placement test result in lieu of a prerequisite course. Some courses require more than one prerequisite.
PHYS:1512:000A College Physics II
Lecture Electricity, Light, and Modern Physics
Prerequisites: PHYS:1511 or PHYS:1611
Q: Why are prerequisites important?
A: Prerequisites prepare you to be successful in a related course. Generally, the prerequisite course is taught at a lower level and covers information, theories, skills, and vocabulary that you will be expected to know before taking the higher-level course.
Q: How do I know if a course has a prerequisite?
A: If a course has a prerequisite, it will be listed on MyUI; you will find the prerequisites within the course information page, visible when you click on the course link.
Q: If I haven’t taken a course’s prerequisite, can I still enroll in the course?
A: Undergraduate students must complete a course's prerequisites; the registration system will read your student record, and if there is no evidence of the prerequisite on your student record, the system will automatically block your enrollment in that one particular course. However, if you are currently enrolled in a prerequisite at UI you will be allowed conditional permission to enroll in the course or to join its waitlist. You still must earn the required grade to stay registered for the class. If you do not earn this required grade, you will be automatically removed from the class requiring the prerequisite. This removal will occur after semester grades are published if you are taking the prerequisite at UI. (See below for more information about "in progress" prerequisites being taken at other institutions.)
Q: What grade do I need in a prerequisite?
A: Generally, an undergraduate student needs only a passing grade unless the MyUI description of the prerequisite lists a higher grade. See the math course below, for example. The prerequisite course of MATH:1005 requires a minimum grade of C- before the student may take MATH:1340. The student could also fulfill the prerequisite in this case by taking one of the math placement tests listed below, scoring at an appropriate level or higher.
MATH:1340 Mathematics for Business
Prerequisites: MATH:1005 with a grade of C- or higher or ALEKS score of 45 or higher or MPT Level 3 score of 9 or higher
Q: I am currently enrolled in a prerequisite at UI. I register for spring courses in November and I have no way of knowing if I will earn the B- that I need to complete the prerequisite successfully. Can I register for the course requiring this prerequisite even though my final grade is not yet reported?
A: Yes. In this case, you will be allowed to enroll conditionally in the course because you are in the process of completing the prerequisite. However, if you do not earn the minimum grade required for the prerequisite, you will be removed automatically from the course after final grades are published. It is your responsibility to know that you will be automatically dropped from the course if you do not earn the required grade and to make sure that you enroll in another course if needed.
Q: What will happen if I am taking the prerequisite at UI now, but I end up failing the class? Can I stay enrolled in the course?
A: No. The registration system will read your final grade in the course when it is posted; the registration system will then automatically remove you from the course after final grades are published. Be sure to keep an eye on your grades and on your registration. Contact your advisor as soon as possible if you need help.
Q: If I took the prerequisite at another institution and have a final grade in it, will I be allowed to register for the course requiring that prerequisite?
A: The registration system can only read your current student information, such as your final grades and other information on your transcript and on your degree audit. If you have transferred the prerequisite officially to UI and you can see it on your student record as equivalent to the prerequisite course needed, the registration system in most cases will know you have completed the prerequisite with the required minimum grade and you will be allowed to register for the course in question. (You can find a copy of your student record after you log-in to your MyUI account.) Please remember to request that your transfer credit be sent to UI Admissions as soon as you are enrolled in the course at another institution and again when your grade is finalized if you do not want to experience a possible delay in registering for a course with a prerequisite that you are taking elsewhere.
In some rare cases, if the system cannot read your transfer credit, you will need to contact the department offering the course to explain the situation. (See below for more information.)
Q: I am taking a prerequisite now at another institution but I haven't earned a final grade for the course. The course does show up on my UI student record as "in progress" (IP). Can I register for the course that requires this prerequisite?
A: Yes. You will be able to register temporarily for the course if you can see that the prerequisite is reported as "in progress" (IP) on your student record. However, you also will need to submit proof that you have passed the course or earned the required minimum grade in it OR you will be removed three business days before the next semester or session begins. It is your responsibility to make sure that the department offering the course receives information about your final grade. For more information, see the question below.
Q: I am taking a prerequisite at another accredited institution but it does not show up on my student record yet as in progress. What should I do?
A. There is a two-step process that you must follow. Read the information below carefully.
First, you may request an exception since you are currently enrolled in the prerequisite at an accredited institution. In order to make this request, fill out the "In Progress Transfer Work" form available to you at your MyUI homepage and login. Click on the Student Records tab at the top of the page and in the section called "Courses and Grades," you will find the "In Progress Transfer Work" form. Complete the "In Progress Transfer Work" form online and attach documentation uploaded from your computer giving evidence of registration in the required prerequisite at another institution. This does not need to be an official document but must give proof of enrollment, showing your name, the institution, the enrollment information, and the date. Screen shots or related documents that you can scan and then upload into the form are acceptable. Submit the form online; it will automatically be sent to the department overseeing the course that you are trying to enroll in. You should receive a response to this submitted form within three business days. You will either be given conditional permission to register for the course or you will be denied this permission based on the evidence you submitted. In some rare conditions and because of other circumstances related to your request, you might receive "permanent permission." You may add the course with conditional or permanent permission if seats are available. Permission to register for the course does not guarantee you a seat or a spot on the waitlist.
NOTE: You also will be provided access to the "In Progress Transfer Work" form if you are blocked from adding the course during registration. At that point, you also may fill out the form and attach evidence. However, it will save you time to fill out the form before your registration date and time occurs.
Secondly, after adding a seat in a course because you have been given conditional permission to register for it, you still must submit evidence of your final grade in the course or you will be removed automatically from the course about three days before the next semester begins. See below for more information.
Q: The school where I am taking the prerequisite does not post grades until after I will be removed automatically from a course that needs a completed prerequisite. What should I do?
A: You must report evidence of your final grade even if it is not an official transcript. You might be able to send a screen shot of your grades from an online grade book or some similar evidence. This evidence cannot just be your statement that you have earned the required final grade; you must also send proof to the department via email as an attachment. Make sure you include your name, your UI ID number, the course you are taking at another institution, the number and name of the course, and the course at UI that you want to remain in. The department offering that course will decide whether or not to let you to remain registered in the course. If you do not send proof of your final grade, your registration in the course will be canceled around three business days before the next semester starts.
Q: Where should I email my proof that I have successfully completed a prerequisite at another institution with an acceptable grade?
A: A form will be available for you to fill out and to attach proof that you have completed the prerequisite with the needed graded. When you submit the form, it will automatically go to the home of the course related to your prerequisite request. This form is available on your MyUI dashboard after you login. Go to Student Records and then to the left hand column called Courses and Grades. Choose the form called "Prerequisite Proof of Completion Form." The form is also available when you try to register for a course but are blocked from doing so
Q: Why am I given only conditional permission to register if I am currently taking the course now at another institution? Does this mean I could still be removed from the class?
A: Yes. Once you have proof of your final grade in the course from the other institution, you must submit this evidence as soon as possible using the "Prerequisite Proof of Completion Form." You do not need to submit an official final grade; the proof you submit may be unofficial and thus not yet on your transcript. If this proof is not submitted, you will be removed automatically from the course three business days before the next semester or session begins. We are allowing the use of unofficial grades since we know it could be difficult for you to receive any official transcripts before this deadline. The department will decide if the unofficial evidence shows that you are earning the required grade in the prerequisite; if so, you will be allowed to stay registered for the course. Remember, you must still ask that your official transcript be sent to UI as soon as possible or you will not receive official UI credit for the prerequisite. Don't forget to request an official transcript!