Prerequisites, Corequisites, and Recommended Preparation

The Board of Trustees of the San Mateo County Community College District requires colleges to establish prerequisites, corequisites, and recommended preparation for courses and educational programs. Prerequisites and corequisites must be determined to be necessary and appropriate and must be established in accordance with Title 5 regulations in the California Administrative Code. They are designated in course descriptions in the college catalog and appear in the class schedules.

A Prerequisite is a condition of enrollment that a student is required to meet in order to demonstrate current readiness for enrollment in a course or program. As an example, students must successfully complete Trigonometry (MATH 130), prior to enrolling in Precalculus (MATH 222). So, MATH 130 is a prerequisite for MATH 222. 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 verify prerequisite skill levels.

A Corequisite is a course that a student is required to take simultaneously in order to enroll in another course. Corequisites are designated in course descriptions in the catalog.

Recommended Preparation for a course or program is a condition that a student is advised, but not required, to meet before enrollment. Recommended preparation is designated in course descriptions in the catalog. A number of courses list ENG 105 as recommended preparation which alerts students to the writing and reading skills that are important to student success in a class.

Computerized Prerequisite Checking
The San Mateo County Community College District enforces all prerequisite and corequisite requirements. Most classes have computerized prerequisite checking in place. When attempting to register for a course that has a prerequisite, the computer registration system searches the San Mateo County Community College District student data base for one of two things: 1) the successfully completed prerequisite course(s) or 2) placement test results from testing completed within the last two years that identify the appropriate skill level prerequisite requirements. If neither prerequisite identifier is in place, registration for the class is not completed. If a student is currently enrolled in the prerequisite course(s) within the San Mateo County Community College District, the system allows registration into the next level course. However, if the in progress prerequisite course is not successfully completed, the student will be administratively withdrawn from the course.

How Can Students Meet Prerequisite Requirements?
There are four ways students can meet prerequisite requirements:

  1. complete the prerequisite course(s) within the San Mateo County Community College system, with a grade of “CR/P or C” or higher; or
  2. complete placement tests or Alternate Assessment in the San Mateo County Community College District within the last two years with results that indicate the prerequisite skill level; or
  3. *complete the prerequisite course at another college/university in the United States;
  4. *meet prerequisites through an approved external exam (AP, CAASPP HLIB)

* For 3 and 4, students must use the Prerequisites Equivalency form to secure approval. Prerequisite Equivalency forms are available on the Prerequisites, Corequisites and Recommended Preparation website. If a student has not completed a course or test to meet prerequisite requirements but has other experience that meets the prerequisite skill level then the prerequisite challenge process is the means to determine course eligibility.

How Can Prerequisites and Corequisites Be Challenged?
A prerequisite or corequisite may be challenged on one or more of the following grounds. Documentation is required.

  • The student has the knowledge or ability to succeed in the course despite not meeting the prerequisite.
  • The prerequisite or corequisite was established in violation of district policies or Title 5 regulations.
  • The prerequisite or corequisite is unlawfully discriminatory or applied in an unlawfully discriminatory manner.
  • The prerequisite or corequisite has not been made reasonably available and the student is subject to undue delay in goal attainment.

Students who wish to challenge prerequisites or corequisites must, within the established time frame, complete the Prerequisite Challenge Petition and attach documentation. For semester length courses, petitions with documentation must be submitted at least five working days prior to the last day of the published late registration period. For courses that are not semester length, the petition with documentation must be submitted prior to the first day of the class. It is the responsibility of the student to provide compelling evidence to support the challenge. For comprehensive information about prerequisites visit the Prerequisites, Corequisites and Recommended Preparation website.