As a Peer Advisor, there's nothing I dislike more than having to tell students that they are far behind where they thought they were in terms of earning their degree. Here's some important things to keep in mind:
Your lower division courses (Prep for the major) are supposed to completed before you take upper division classes. In particular, Psychology 101 is a prerequisite course required for almost all upper division Psychology courses, however, either because some students believe that the Intro class is not required, or they are trying to sneak past the system set in place, or another of the many other possibilities of reasons, many students find themselves in the same predicament as our good friend Tori, who almost had a mini heart attack when she realized that she would have to go back and take Psy 101 before taking any other Psychology classes. Often students will put off taking Psy211 or 280, or another prep for the major class, and they believe that they are ready to graduate. They find that in reality they have two more semesters on campus instead of one. Our methods courses, Psy 301 and 410, require upper division major status- in other words you have to complete all of the lower division courses in psych! (including Psy 101, Tori!). In fact, Webportal will not allow you to register for the class unless you have taken all of the prep for the major AND taken the WPA (score of 8 or better). So students like Tori come into our office, unsure of why they cannot sign up for the methods class that they need to graduate, and get hit with the news that they must take some other classes and then the methods course in the following semester.
Now I'm guessing that you don't want to end up like Tori, so let's start with the basics about prerecs! Prerequisite classes, often abbreviated to "prerec classes" are courses which must be completed before subsequent classes teaching similar subject matter. In other words, prerec classes exist in order to give students some background knowledge on the subject, and a foundation in knowledge before taking a more advanced class. As you might imagine, there will be some overlap. ,Forgoing prerec classes may seem easier in the short term, however these prerec classes are required for graduation and will make your life a lot easier when completed prior to upper division courses. You may be asking yourself, so why are they required in the first place? In order to be an accredited university, schools must require classes which teach certain information and do so in a sequential and logical fashion that builds on itself. Long story short, prerec classes ensure that you have received an education on a broad scale of topics, they also teach you what you need to know before moving onto those upper division classes.
I like to think about prerequisite classes as an analogy. In this hypothetical situation, prerec classes serve as the foundation of a house. If that foundation is never laid down, an earthquake or storm could easily knock down your house, a.k.a. your academic career! If you don't want your chances of graduating college jeopardized, may I suggest taking courses in the order in which they are meant to be taken?
After reading this, I hope that you are wondering what prerec classes apply to which Psychology courses. Below is a list of some of the more popular Psychology classes and their prerequisite courses. So, take the prerec class first, and then proceed with confidence!
Psy 101: Required for almost all upper division Psy classes
Psy 201: Psy 101 and completion of at least 30 units
Psy 211: Psy 101
Psy 230: Psy 101
Psy 260: Psy 101 and Bio 100
Psy 280: Psy 101 and passing ELM, SAT, ACT or AP test score in math
Psy 281: Credit in a 3 unit Statistics course that did not have a computer lab requirement and a passing ELM, SAT, ACT, or AP test score in math
Psy 301: Completed all prep for the major classes in Psychology and be in the Psychology Major, G.P.A. of 2.4 or 2.5 or higher, depending on catalog year, and be eligible to take upper division writing classes ( taken WPA and received score of 8 or higher, or received a 7 or lower on the WPA and taken the lower division RWS course to fulfill WPA requirement)
Psy 319: Psy 101 and Psy 280 or equivalent Stats course
Psy 320: Psy 319
Psy 321: Psy 319
Psy 331, 332, & 333: Psy 101 and Psy 230
Psy 340: Psy 101 and Completion of GE Foundations of Learning II B
Psy 350: Psy 101 and Completion on GE Foundations of Learning II B
Psy 351: Psy 101 and Completion of GE Foundations of Learning II B
Psy 355: Psy 101
Psy 360, 361, & 362: Psy 101 and Psy 260
Psy 365: Completion of GE Foundations of learning II A
Psy 370: Grade of B or higher in Psy 280 or equivalent Stats course and Psy 301
Psy 380: Psy 101, Psy 211 recommended
Psy 388: Psy 101 and Psy 260
Psy 410: Upper division writing class eligible, Psy 211, a grade of a B or better in Psy 280 or equivalent Stats class, completion of all prep for the major classes and in the Psychology Major, G.P.A. of 2.4 or 2.5 depending on catalog year
Psy 495: Psy 350 and completion of either 230, 340, or 351