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Prerequisites, Corequisites and Recommended Preparation
Course Prerequisite Equivalency Form/Prerequisite Challenge Form

Where can I view and download the prerequisite equivalency form/challenge petition?
The Prerequisite Equivalency Form and Prerequisite Challenge Petition are available online on the CSM forms site. Read the directions carefully since they provide information for students seeking prerequisite equivalency and/or challenge approval. If the form is approved, the enrollment block is removed to allow the student to register.

Pay close attention to the instructions. Due to limited staff, incomplete prerequisite equivalency form packets will not be reviewed and returned to the student via mail. Incomplete prerequisite challenge petitions are automatically denied and returned by mail.

What is the process for submitting a course prerequisite equivalency form/prerequisite challenge form?

Course Prerequisite Equivalency Form and Process
Have you completed a course equivalent to the required prerequisite at another accredited college or university within the United States? If so
  1. Complete a separate Course Prerequisite Equivalency Form for each course for which course equivalency is requested.
  2. For semester length courses, Prerequisite Equivalency Forms must be submitted prior to the published last day of late registration. (No exceptions)
  3. Submit a Course Prerequisite Equivalency Form to request a review of an equivalent prerequisite course or exam (AP) completed outside of the San Mateo County Community College District. A copy of the college/university transcript and a catalog course description or a copy of AP Exam results must be submitted with the Course Prerequisite Equivalency Form. The college/university transcript must show the institution’s name and the student’s name in addition to listing the course, course title, course units, and grade. Submit the completed packet to the Assessment Center – College Center, Building 10-370, 3rd Floor, or FAX to(650) 574-6587.
  4. You will be notified by phone or email of the outcome of the request. Incomplete packets will not be reviewed but will be returned.  If you think you meet the prerequisite not through a course but through life or work experience, complete the Prerequisite Challenge Petition process.
Prerequisite Challenge Form and Process
A prerequisite or corequisite can be challenged only on one or more of the following grounds:
  • 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 unlawful or discriminatory manner.
  • The prerequisite or corequisite has not been made reasonably available and the student is subject to undue delay in goal attainment.
  1. To challenge a prerequisite, at least five (5) working days prior to the published last day to register, submit a completed Prerequisite Challenge Packet to the Assessment Center - College Center, Building 10-370, 3rd Floor, or FAX materials to (650) 574-6587. See 2 through 3 below for the required documentation that must be attached to the challenge form.
  2. A formal letter explaining the reason you are challenging the prerequisite or corequisite must accompany all petitions. Include in the letter a detailed description of how you meet the prerequisite requirement.
  3. Attach supporting documentation which can include the following: college transcripts as evidence of successful course completion, catalog course description, course outline and/or course syllabus, documentation of professional work experience, letters of recommendation from employers or instructors, samples of graded papers, high school transcripts, professional licenses or certificates.
  4. Some courses have additional requirements for challenges beyond what appears in 2 and 3 above. The Assessment Center can advise you of additional challenge process requirements that may include a portfolio (i.e. English and Literature courses) or a demonstration of prerequisite skills.
It is the responsibility of the student to provide compelling evidence to support the challenge. The Course Prerequisite Equivalency Form and Prerequisite Challenge Form are available on the CSM Forms website.

How can I submit a course prerequisite equivalency form/prerequisite challenge form?

Students can submit their Prerequisite Equivalency Form and supporting documents, and/or Prerequisite Challenge Petition documents in any of the following options:
  • In-person: CSM Assessment Center, College Center (Bldg. 10-370), 3rd Floor
  • Mail: Assessment Center (Bldg. 10-370), College of San Mateo, 1700 W. Hillsdale Blvd, San Mateo, CA 94402
  • Email: (attach supporting documentation)
  • Fax: (650) 574-6587
Please Note: It is the responsibility of the student to submit all required documentation. Incomplete Course Prerequisite Equivalency Forms will be returned via email, and Prerequisite Challenge Forms will be automatically denied and returned via email.
What happens if my request for prerequisite equivalency form/challenge petition is not approved?

If prerequisite equivalency request is denied because the course completed was determined not to be equivalent to the prerequisite course, or if the prerequisite challenge petition is denied, the student is notified. The student will not be able to enroll in the course. For English, ESL, Reading and Mathematics courses the student is directed to complete a CSM Placement Test to determine course placement level.

Is there a special prerequisite equivalency form for foreign language courses and for music courses?

Yes. There is a specific form, Prerequisite Equivalency Form for Foreign Languages, for foreign language courses with prerequisites. This list of courses includes Chinese and Spanish.

There is also a specific form, Prerequisite Equivalency Form for Music for some music courses.