Appeals About Missing Prerequisites

Note: For full information about appeals, ensure you read the overview of  Steps to make a CSPC Appeal for Undergraduates.

Applied Science (Engineering) students

You MUST have the exact set of prerequisites listed in the course description in order to take a CPSC course.  You cannot replace a CPSC prerequisite with a non-CPSC course, even if you think that the replacement course is sufficiently similar.  However, note that any CPSC courses that can be taken by Applied Science students already have an alternate prerequisite chain specifically provided for Applied Science students.  This alternate path includes one or more specific APSC, CPEN, EECE, or ELEC courses.  The curriculum committees of the Computer Science department and the Electrical and Computer Engineering department carefully constructed these paths, and then signed off on them, with the understanding that if these prerequisites cannot be met, then an Applied Science student cannot take that CPSC course.

Other than our CPSC service courses (CPSC 259 and CPSC 261) that are specifically designed for Applied Science students, Applied Science students must register for the APSC, CPEN, EECE, or ELEC versions of courses instead of registering for the CPSC versions of those courses.  Scheduling problems, including co-op terms or course conflicts, or claims that you are planning to switch into Computer Science are not valid reasons for an appeal.

As an Applied Science student with credit for APSC 160, can I appeal to take CPSC 210?

No. You must have CPSC 110 as a prerequisite in order to take CPSC 210; but, note that you can take the CPSC 110 challenge exam to gain an exemption from CPSC 110.  An "exemption" means that you won't have to take the course, and you can use that exemption to get into a subsequent course (like CPSC 210) that needs that prerequisite.

As an Applied Science student with credit for both APSC 160 and CPSC 259 (two good, sequential programming courses), can I take CPSC 210?

Yes. You will receive an exemption from CPSC 110 because of the two sequential programming courses.

My co-op term is in the Fall, and my computer networking course is only offered in the Fall.  I really want to take a networking course when I get back in January.  Can I appeal to take CPSC 317 (Computer Science's networking course) instead?

No, not unless you have the exact prerequisites for CPSC 317.

I took CPSC 261, and I see that CPSC 261 is on the same Science credit exclusion list as CPSC 213. I assume this means that the courses are the same.  So, can I use CPSC 261 instead of CPSC 213 as one of my prerequisites to get into CPSC 317

No.  If CPSC 213 and CPSC 261 are on the same credit exclusion list, then that means that there is sufficient overlap in the two courses such that a student can't get credit for both of them.  It does not mean that they are essentially the same course.  Therefore, you need to have CPSC 213.

I'm an Applied Science student with a lot of MATH and PHYS courses, not to mention some computing courses.  I think I have the equivalent background needed to succeed in CPSC 213.  Can I take it without having CPSC 121 and CPSC 210?


As an Applied Science student, if I have a really good GPA, can I appeal to bypass a prerequisite?


Besides CPSC 110's challenge exam, does the Computer Science department have any other challenge exams?  I'm prepared to take a challenge exam to prove that I know the material for a CPSC prerequisite that I'm missing.

No.  The only course for which we have a challenge exam is CPSC 110.

I'm a transfer student from another post-secondary institution.  How will prerequisites be handled for me?

You need to satisfy the same prerequisites as do existing Applied Science students.  If a course that you took elsewhere transferred as a CPSC course instead of an APSC, CPEN, EECE, or ELEC course, then you can use that transfer credit or exemption as if you took that CPSC course.  Transfer credits are handled on a case-by-case basis because each institution’s courses can differ significantly.  Please consult a CPSC advisor if you have any questions about your transfer credits.


NON-APSC students 

If you do not have the listed prerequisites then you can appeal to get into the course, provided at least one of the following conditions is true:

  • You have equivalent prerequisites for the CPSC course from a post-secondary institution, and which can be verified by appropriate documentation (e.g., course outline, course learning goals).  You must supply such documentation.  Our advisors don't have time to hunt for this information.
  • You are missing one prerequisite but have at least a 90% average in CPSC courses or in CPSC + MATH courses (assuming some minimum number of credits).  You should also provide some justification for being allowed to bypass the prerequisite.
  • You are missing one prerequisite but have at least a 90% overall GPA based on the previous 30 credits.  You should also provide some justification for being allowed to bypass the prerequisite.

Please also note:

  • If you are transferring from another institution, you are responsible for providing the appeals committee with appropriate documentation, namely a course syllabus or a course outline for the course in question.  The documentation must:
    • Be in English
    • List the institution, and the dates during which the course was taken
    • List the prerequisites of the course
    • List the learning goals (learning outcomes) for that specific offering of the course
    • Have sufficient detail.  Sometimes course outlines are simply not available, are on password-protected Web sites, or are out-of-date.  The appeals committee doesn’t have time to go hunting for the details.  Without appropriate documentation, the appeal will be rejected.
  • Poor planning on your part is not a valid reason for granting an appeal.
  • Prior work experience, independent learning, or taking a free online course (e.g., Coursera, edX, YouTube) are not valid reasons to bypass a prerequisite.
  • “Needing one more CPSC course to graduate” is not a valid reason to be able to take a course for which you are missing a prerequisite.  This is simply poor planning.
  • If you don’t have a prerequisite (or corequisite) because you failed a course, then you cannot appeal to bypass that prerequisite to get into another course (e.g., to take CPSC 210 without having passed CPSC 110).  The following examples are not valid reasons:
    • “I already know about half of the material, and will work hard in areas that I’m weak.”
    • “My grades were good during the term, but I had a bad day on the final exam.”
  • Individual instructors do not have the ability to waive prerequisites. Prerequisites for a course have been carefully thought out, and have been agreed to by many people within (and outside of) the department, not just the current instructor.
    • The following are not good reasons for an appeal: “The instructor said the prerequisite isn’t really needed” and “The instructor says I can easily pick up the prerequisite material on my own.”
      • If the instructor truly believes that a prerequisite “isn’t really needed” for the course, then he/she should apply to the CPSC Curriculum Committee to formally get the prerequisites changed.  Other faculty members in the CPSC department (and also outside the CPSC department) will need to agree to the change.  This is a long process.