Undergraduate Pre-Requisite Q & A

    General questions
    Questions about taking prerequisites at UI
    Questions about taking prerequisites at another institution

General Questions

Q. What is a prerequisite?

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. Some courses require more than one prerequisite. In other cases, a student has the choice of achieving a certain placement test result in lieu of a prerequisite course.

In the example below, the student must complete CHEM:1100 (Principles of Chem I) and PHYS:1611 (Intro to Physics I) before taking Engineering Fundamental III: Thermodynamics.

    ENGR:2130 Engineering Fundamentals III: Thermodynamics
    Prerequisites: CHEM:1100 and PHYS:1611

Q. Why are prerequisites important?

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?

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?

No. Undergraduate students must complete a course’s prerequisites. The registration system will read your student record, and if there is no evidence that the prerequisite has been completed or is in progress, the system will automatically block your enrollment in the course. 

If you have taken or are taking that prerequisite at an institution other than UI, please see the Q&A section below titled “Questions about Taking Prerequisites at Another Institution.”

Q. What grade do I need in a prerequisite?

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:1550 requires a minimum grade of C- before the student may take MATH:1560. 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:1560 Engineering Math II: Multivariable Calculus
    Prerequisites: MATH:1550 with a grade of C- or higher or MATH:1850 with a grade of C- or higher

Questions about Taking Prerequisites at UI

Q. I am currently enrolled in a prerequisite at UI. Will I be blocked from registering for a class that requires the prerequisite?

No. As long as the prerequisite course shows up as “in progress” on your degree audit, you will be allowed to register for the class at the time of registration.

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?

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.

Q. I will register for next semester’s courses before I know if I will earn the C- 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?

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.

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?

Yes, if at the time of registration, that course appears on your degree audit as equivalent to the UI prerequisite. 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.

It is important that you have your transcript from the other institution 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. The course *does not* currently show up on my UI student record. Can I register for the course that requires this prerequisite?

Yes, but only by following the steps below. You will need to submit proof of that registration to be granted special permission to register for the class, and then you must submit proof that you successfully completed the course.

Please follow these steps:

  •     Register for the prerequisite class at another institution.
  •     Login to MyUI, and go to Student Records.
  •     Within the Courses and Grades section, there is a link to “Request Prerequisite Special Permission.” Click on that link.
  •     Complete the Requst Prerequisite Special Permission, following the directions on that form. You will need to upload some form of evidence of registration at that time.
  •     Within three business days, you will then receive an email from College of Engineering Registrar, letting you know whether your evidence has been accepted or not.
    •         If your evidence has been accepted, you will be granted conditional permission to register for your desired course.
    •         If your evidence has not been accepted, you may either re-submit evidence, or choose not to register for your desired course.
  •     Complete the course at the other institution.
  •     Have the transcript for that course sent to UI Admission as soon as possible after the conclusion of the course.
  •     If your grade from that course does not show up on your UI degree audit within one week of the start of classes at UI, you must submit evidence of your grade to the Engineering Registar, whom emailed you granting you conditional permission. If you do not submit evidence of your final grade (such as a screen shot), you will be automatically dropped from that class on the Wednesday before classes begin.

Q. I am taking a prerequisite now at another institution. The course *does* currently show up on my UI student record as "in progress" (IP). Can I register for the course that requires this prerequisite?

Yes. You will be able to registerfor 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 Engineering Students Services, College of Engineering Registrar at the College of Engineering receives information about your final grade. You may send the College of Engineering Registrar this information by email as an attachment to megan-e-allen@uiowa.edu. Be sure to include your name and UI ID number and other important information, including 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.

Also, be sure to request that a final transcript is sent to UI Office of Admissions as soon as possible.

Q. I plan to take a course this summer that is a prerequisite for a course that I plan to take in the fall at UI. I have not yet registered for the summer course. Can I register for the UI course that requires the summer course as a prerequisite?

No, although there is one exception. In general, you must register for the prerequisite summer course before you register for the fall course, so that you can submit evidence of your summer registration on the screen in MyUI prior to registration.

There is one exception. If you are planning to attend an institution in the summer that does not allow you to register for classes until after UI’s registration, then you may explain this situation on the Report Transfer Credit screen in MyUI. You reach that screen through the following steps:

  •     Login to MyUI
  •     Go to Student Records
  •     Within that page, go to the Course and Grades section, and click on “Requst Prerequisite Special Permission.”

On that screen, you will be asked to upload evidence of your registration. Instead of this, please upload a short letter, explaining why you have not been able to register yet for the course. The letter should be addressed to:

  •        College of Engineering Registrar

The Engineering Student Services, Engineering Registrar in the College of Engineering will review that exception and determine whether or not to grant you special permission to enroll in the UI course.

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?

It is your responsibility to make sure that the Engineering Students Services, Engineering Registrar  at the College of Engineering receives information about your final grade. If your official transcript will not be ready in time to prevent your removal from the UI course, you may send other evidence, such as a screen shot, of your final grade.

You may send the College of Engineering Registrar this information by email as an attachment to megan-e-allen@uiowa.edu. Be sure to include your name and UI ID number and other important information, including 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.

If you do not send proof of your final grade, your registration in the course will be canceled around three days before the next semester starts.

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?

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 Engineering Student Services, Engineering Registrar in the College of Engineering. This does not need to be an official final grade but may be unofficial or not yet on your transcript. The Engineering Registrar 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.

Q. How do I know where to send my registration information and final grade?

For all courses in the College of Engineering, the Engineering Student Services, Engineering Registrar will be reviewing evidence and granting permission to enroll in the courses. These courses include all those with the following subject names:

    BME (Biomedical Engineering)
    CBE (Chemical Engineering)
    CEE (Civil Engineering)
    ECE (Electrical Engineering)
    ENGR (Engineering Core)
    IE (Industrial Engineering)
    ME (Mechanical Engineering)

To submit evidence to the College of Engineering Registrar of your final grade in a prerequisite course that is being taken elsewhere, please email megan-e-allen@uiowa.edu. You may also write to this email address with questions about these processes.