What Are the Different Types of University Course Prerequisites?
University course prerequisites help ensure that students taking a class have the necessary grounding and experience to succeed. There are several different types of university course prerequisites, including prior course requirements, successful completion of tests, and a student's chosen major. Not all course prerequisites are written in stone; students may be able to meet with a teacher and discuss alternate training or preparation that might render them eligible for the class.
Advanced classes often are intended for students who have already completed basic courses in a particular subject. For this reason, many university course prerequisites include a list of introductory courses that must be taken and passed before admission into the advanced section can be granted. While most of course requirements list classes available at the university, some teachers may be willing to admit students who have gained commensurate training at another school or through practical experience.
Some classes may have prerequisites that require students to pass a test before they are admitted. Foreign language classes often use this requirement to ensure that students are properly sorted into the skill level that fits their existing abilities. Students with advanced training in a foreign language can often “test out” of basic classes and begin working at a higher level that matches their training. Some mathematics classes also use testing to determine the proper class level for a new student. Teachers and university departments may hold testing sessions a few weeks before classes begin; since these sessions are often limited, it is important to reserve a space early.
In some cases, university course prerequisites can include a stipulation that a class is meant for students majoring in a particular subject. This is often the case with classes that can only accommodate a limited number of students, but are required for the completion of certain degree programs. If a class is reserved for relevant-major students only, spots may be opened to the general student body if there are still spaces available at the start of term. Non-major students may need to audit the class for a few weeks to see if any spaces open up within the first few weeks.
Since university course prerequisites are often set by the teachers, students may be able to gain an exemption from the requirements by meeting with the professor in charge. At the meeting, a student can present his or her case for admittance, based on prior courses taken elsewhere, self-directed study, or a passionate interest in the subject of the class. In some cases, a teacher may be willing to waive the prerequisites if he or she feels that a student can keep up with the course, or is keenly interested in the subject.
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