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Prerequisites Q & A for Undergraduate Students at UI

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.

College Specific Q & A Pages

General Questions

Q: What is a prerequisite?

A: A prerequisite is generally a course that you must complete before enrolling in the course with the prerequisite. 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 both on the first page of MyUI in the course list and 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: No. 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 record, the system will automatically block your enrollment in the course.

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

Questions About Taking Prerequisites at UI

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- 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 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. This will occur around three days after UI semester grades are posted. It is your responsibility to be aware that you could be automatically dropped 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. This generally will happen around three days after UI grades are posted. Be sure to keep an eye on your grades and on your registration. Contact your advisor as soon as possible if you need help.

Questions About Taking Prerequisites at Another Institution

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 your degree audit. If you have transferred the prerequisite officially to UI and you can see it on your grade report as equivalent to the prerequisite course needed, the registration system will know you have completed the prerequisite with the required minimum grade and you will be allowed to register for the course in question. 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.

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 submit proof that you have passed the course or earned the required minimum grade in it OR you will be removed after UI grades are posted. It is your responsibility to make sure that the department offering the course receives information about your final grade. You may send the department this information by email as an attachment; be sure to include your name and UI ID number and other important information, such as the course name, number, and institution where you are taking the course as well as what course you want to remain registered for at UI. Be sure to request that a final transcript is sent to UI Admissions as soon as possible or send other proof of your final grade as soon as it is available.

Q: I am taking a prerequisite at another institution but it does not show up on my student record yet as in progress. What should I do?

You may request an exception since you are currently enrolled in the prerequisite. In order to do this, please fill out the form available to you once you go to your MyUI homepage and login. Click on the Student Information tab at the top of the page and in the section called "Courses and Grades," you will find the link to the Request Prerequisite Special Permission form.

Complete the form online and attach documentation 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. 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 the submitted form with your documentation within three business days. You will be given conditional permission to register for the course or you will be denied this permission.

Conditional permission to register for the course does not guarantee you a seat or a spot on the waitlist. Once you receive permission to enroll, you should decide quickly whether or not to register for the course, especially if seats are limited. Remember, you have only been given conditional permission to register for this course. You may add the course if seats are available but you must still submit evidence of your final grade in the prerequisite course or you automatically will be removed at the end of the semester.

You may also find the transfer credit exception form for prerequisites when you go to register, are blocked, and report online that you are completing the prerequisite elsewhere. However, it is better to fill out the form before you register, saving you time.

Don't forget to submit evidence of your final grade in the course, even if unofficial. 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 be only a 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 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 days after final UI grades are posted and before the next semester starts.

Q: How do I know the home of a course and where should I to email my registration information and final grade? Where do I find this information?

A: If you have already been sent an email on this matter from the department, use that contact information. If you no longer have that information, bring up the course on MyUI using its subject acronym such as ENGL (which stands for English), look at the top of that MyUI page. It will tell you the home of the course and the department contact information. For example, all ENGL courses have their home in English, with the contact information below. Call or email the department, sending proof of your final grade as an email attachment. If you have already been sent an email on this matter from the department, use that contact information since it will reach a specific person faster.

Location 308 EPB (English Philosophy Building)
Phone 319-335-0454
General Catalog

Q: Why am I given only temporary 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 by email to the department offering the course. This does not need to be an official final grade but may be unofficial or not yet on your transcript. The department will decide if this 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 transcript be sent to UI as soon as possible or you will not receive official UI credit for the prerequisite.