FAQ – New 400 Level Math Classes

Starting in Fall 2016, the Mathematics Department has changed many of the undergraduate required upper level courses so that most are no longer at the 500 level. Under this new course paradigm, courses labeled in the 500s are entry level graduate courses, while courses labeled in the 400s are advanced undergraduate level courses.  Below are some frequently asked questions regarding these changes.


 Q: I have the prerequisites but the system won’t allow me to enroll.  Why?

A: Before checking with an advisor, see if you did not make a C or better in one (or more) of the prerequisites.  All new 400 level courses and the three new courses (Math 350, Math 353, Math 356) have requirements of a C or better in prerequisite courses.  Data shows that students who fulfill prerequisites for a course with a C or better have a significantly better chance of success.  We advise you to satisfy prerequisites with a C or better.  However, students from Bulletin years prior to Fall 2016 will be allowed to enroll in courses with a D in a prerequisite course.  To do so, fill out a  prerequisite override form.

If this is not the case, please see the department advisor to help troubleshoot the reason why the system isn’t allowing you to enroll.

Q: I have already taken several courses at 500-level courses that are no longer required.  Do these courses still count toward my degree?

Any 500 level course that you have already taken and that is required under your Bulletin year will count towards your degree requirements.  However, any remaining courses will be satisfied by their 400 level versions.  For example, if you are in the Applied Math concentration and have taken 533, then you need one of 432 or 434 to satisfy the “choose two out of 532, 533, 534” statement in your Bulletin.

In the case of the requirement of Math 525 in the Mathematics concentration, it can be satisfied by the new requirements of either Math 350 or Math 356.

Q: Will Degree Works substitutions be required for all of these changes?

A: No. Degree Works should recognize the required 400 level courses and you should see them slot appropriately.  If you feel that any course is not being recognized, please contact the department advisor.  In the case of Math 350 or 356 you will need a Degree Works substitution, please contact the for the substitution.

Q: Can I still take Math 350 or Math 356 if I already received credit for Math 525 or Math 556?

A: You may take any upper level course of your choosing for which you have satisfied the prerequisites.

Q: Can I use one of the new 400 level courses for a Historic Repeat of the similarly numbered 500-level course I took?

A: Yes. The current bulletin states: “In the case of courses that are no longer offered at VCU, students may take the established equivalent course at VCU and file the Historical Repeat Course Option form as described in the previous paragraph.”

Q: Can I enroll in a 500-level course?

A: Generally speaking, yes.  You may register to take any 500 level course for which you have satisfied the prerequisites.  However, you will need special permission from the primary instructor if an elective course you are interested in requires “graduate standing”.

If we have not answered your question here, please contact the department advisor.

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