As you look over your course requirements, you will notice that some courses have prerequisites. Prerequisites (often called "pre-reqs") are courses that must be taken before taking another course. Colleges use prerequisites to ensure that students have the foundational knowledge and skills to be successful in the course.
Here's an example from the Criminal Justice major:
In this example, students would need to have the foundation of psychology (PSY100 Psychology) in order to understand the terms, concepts, and theories being discussed in this class.
Because different courses require different sets of knowledge and skills sets, you will also notice that they have different numbers or levels associated with them. Courses are divided into different levels by a numbering system (000-499), which indicates the course type, the prerequisite knowledge, and the course focus.
In general, course levels are divided thusly:
Pre-100-level courses are developmental courses that build specific skills and knowledge areas needed for college success. These courses do not count toward the minimum credits for graduation since they are not college-level courses.
100-level courses are introductory courses, which take the format of a survey course or a course that provides a basic overview of the key terms, theories, events, and ideas.
200-level courses build on the information of the introductory courses to provide more in-depth study of the basic information.
300-level courses are specialized courses that assume pre-existing knowledge about the foundations of the discipline.
400-level courses are highly specialized courses that focus on specific topics in the discipline.