Course Prerequisite Frequently Asked Questions

What are prerequisites, corequisites, and recommended preparation?

A prerequisite is a condition of enrollment that a student is required to meet in order to demonstrate readiness for enrollment in a course or program. As an example, students must successfully complete elementary algebra (Math 110) prior to enrolling in intermediate algebra (Math 120). So, Math 110 is a prerequisite for Math 120.

A prerequisite course must be completed successfully to enroll in the course which follows. Successful completion is defined as earning a grade of “C” or better. Placement test results can also be used to meet prerequisite skill levels.

A corequisite is a course that a student is required to take simultaneously in order to enroll in another course.

Recommended preparation for a course or program is a condition that a student is advised, but not required, to meet before enrollment. There are no registration blocks on courses with recommended preparation only. However, students are strongly advised to meet the recommended preparation before enrolling into a course so as to be better prepared to successfully complete the course.

What is computerized prerequisite checking?

When attempting to register for a course that has computerized prerequisite in place, the Websmart registration system searches the San Mateo County Community College District (SMCCCD) student database for one of two things:  

  1. The successfully completed prerequisite course(s) completed within the SMCCCD, or
  2. SMCCCD placement test results that indicate the skill level prerequisite requirements.

If neither prerequisite identifier is in place, registration for the course is blocked and a message appears, “you have not met the course prerequisite.”

How can I meet prerequisite requirements and be cleared to register for classes?

There are five ways students can meet prerequisite requirements:

  1. Complete the prerequisite course(s) within the SMCCD system, with a grade of “C” or better, or CR (Credit) /P (Pass).
  2. Complete placement tests within the SMCCCD:
    1. The math placement test must have been completed within the last two years with results that indicate the prerequisite skill level
    2. The English placement test has no time limit and results must indicate the prerequisite skill level
  3. Complete the prerequisite course at another accredited college/university in the United States
  4. Complete a placement test a California Community College (CCC) outside of the SMCCCD (Note: Placement tests results vary by college. If you have taken a placement test at another CCC, you may submit your results for review using the Prerequisite Equivalency/Reciprocity of Placement form).
  5. Meet prerequisites through the College Board Advanced Placement Exam (AP) results

If you have met a prerequisite requirement by completing any C–E above, you may file a Prerequisite Equivalency/Reciprocity of Course Placement Petition to have any coursework or testing completing outside of the SMCCCD evaluated.

What if I am currently enrolled in the prerequisite course(s)?

If you are currently enrolled in the prerequisite course(s), the computer will not block your enrollment in the next course. However, if you receive a final grade other than A, B, C, or CR in the prerequisite course(s) when the final grades are posted, you will be dropped from the course. You are advised to see a counselor for further assistance with enrollment.

What if I have an “I”, an Incomplete grade, in the prerequisite course?

If you have an “I”, an incomplete grade, in the prerequisite course, you have not completed the course and the prerequisite has not been met. You are required to meet with the instructor to complete the incomplete grade. Only after the final grade has been posted on the electronic transcript is the prerequisite course requirement met.

Will the college accept high school coursework as meeting a prerequisite requirement?

No. However, students who have completed high school coursework in certain subject areas (such as foreign languages) may be able to challenge a course prerequisite based on competency achieved through high school work. Students who wish to challenge prerequisites using high school coursework may proceed with the Prerequisite Challenge process.

Can an instructor waive a prerequisite?

No. The purpose of prerequisite enforcement is to make sure you have the necessary background to be successful in the course. An instructor’s signature will not override the prerequisite requirement for the course. Even if an instructor issues you an authorization code, you may not enroll in the course if you do not meet the course prerequisite requirement.



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