Prerequisites are designed to assure that students are properly prepared for courses and to assure that courses can be taught in the way they have been approved by the University. At other institutions the registration system automatically prevents students from taking a course if they have not met the prerequisites.
At Albany, University policy gives departments and instructors a way to enforce prerequisites. Paraphrasing slightly:
Students who lack the prerequisite(s) of a course may be deregistered at any time within the term or quarter the course is being taught. The Registrar will assign a grade of W to students who have been deregistered after the program adjustment period.
The following guidelines and procedures are followed in the Economics Department:
Meaning of Prerequisites:
Prerequisites are courses that must be completed with passing grades before a particular course can be taken. A student may advance register for a course without having met the prerequisites, but the prerequisites must be completed before the course begins.
Material covered in the prerequisites of a course provides background or develops tools for the course. This necessary material is not taught or developed again in the course, although the instructor may choose to review some material. Students may need to study their previous course notes and textbooks to refresh their understanding.
Specification of Prerequisites:
The prerequisites for all undergraduate courses are published in the Undergraduate Bulletin. A summary for Economics courses is provided on the Department's listing of Courses and Prerequisites.
In Economics, lower-level prerequisites sometimes are implied by the specification of a high-level prerequisite. For example, if Eco 301 is a prerequisite for a course, that implies that Eco 110M and 111M are also – because they are the prerequisites for Eco 301.
Changes in Prerequisites:
An instructor may reduce (waive) some or all of the prerequisites for a course in a particular semester. This reduction can maintain the implied prerequisites. For example, if a course has only Eco 301 as a prerequisite, the instructor can waive Eco 301 but maintain the implied prerequisites of Eco 110M and 111M.
An instructor may not increase the prerequisites specified in the prevailing Bulletin.
Evidence of Prerequisites:
For applying the deregistration procedure, the only evidence bearing on whether a student has met the prerequisites is whether the specified courses are present on the student's Albany course record with passing grades. Transfer courses that have been equivalenced to specific Albany courses are accepted as those courses. If a transfer course is not on the Albany course record by the beginning of a semester, the student should seek a formal exception (see below).
Exceptions for Individual Students:
To take a course without having met the prerequisites, a student needs permission of the instructor and approval by the Director of Undergraduate Studies. All this must be obtained before the end of the normal drop/add period at the beginning of the semester. Approval will granted only in special circumstances. To request approval, the student must bring a completed permission form (signed by the instructor) to the department office.
Announcement of the Deregistration Procedure:
Students who have not met the prerequisites of a course will be deregistered only if clear notice is given on the syllabus or on a revision of the syllabus that is distributed during the drop/add period. A syllabus or notice that is available only on the course website satisfies this procedural requirement.
Implementation of Deregistration:
Students who have not met the announced prerequisites (in the Bulletin or as reduced), and who have not been granted an individual exception, may be deregistered by the department. This procedure is not under the control of the instructor, and it is not related to the student's performance in the course.
Until further notice, the deregistration procedure will be applied only in 300- and 400-level courses. Because the procedure may involve extensive record checking and verification, not all prerequisites will necessarily be checked. Also, deregistration may occur as late as the last day of classes in the semester. The Registrar will assign a W grade to the student for the course.
The impact of deregistration on a student's academic and financial responsibilities, including tuition charges and financial aid considerations, is determined by the University.