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Course Design Guidelines - Subject Rules

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(1) La Trobe University is committed to promoting steady student progression, encouraging study across schools, and facilitating movement between courses. Accordingly, the University discourages the imposition of subject rules including: 

  1. Pre-requisites
  2. Co-requisites
  3. Incompatible subjects
  4. Quotas

(2) Subject rules are set only where there is a compelling pedagogic reason or, in the case of quotas, logistic reasons. Incompatible subjects, for example, are appropriate only where necessary to prevent students from repeating content already passed; equivalent subjects are appropriate where a subject code is replaced by a new subject code.

(3) Prerequisites, co-requisites, incompatible subjects and quotas are published in the Course Handbook and relevant subject-specific materials.

(4) Co and pre-requisite rules may take any of the following forms:

  1. Requires coordinator’s approval;
  2. Must have passed a subject;
  3. Must have passed a specified number of credit points; or
  4. Must be enrolled in a subject or course.

Conditions that Justify Quotas

(5) A quota may be placed on a subject only where the subject:

  1. is taught by an intensive teaching method that necessarily limits the number of students who can be accommodated;
  2. is based on a clinical or practical placement; or
  3. requires the use of specialist teaching space that can accommodate only a certain number of students.

Waiving of Subject Rules

(6) Credit awarded in recognition of study outside the University can satisfy a prerequisite. 

(7) Subject rules may be waived only in exceptional circumstances, normally where it can be demonstrated that the requirements and/or conditions reflected in the rules have been met.

(8) Subject rules may be waived by the Associate Dean, Learning & Teaching or their delegate. Details of the waiver, including the reasons for it, must be documented and placed on the appropriate student file. Where rules are regularly waived, these will be removed.


  1. Co-requisite: A condition that must be met in order for a student to enrol concurrently in a designated subject. The condition may relate to enrolment in a course or in another subject.
  2. Equivalent Subjects: The subjects that arise through the creation of a new subject code for an existing subject. Under the Equivalent rule, students who completed a subject when it had the old code will be deemed to have completed the subject with the new code. Equivalent Subjects are also Incompatible with each other.
  3. Incompatible Subjects: Subjects that cover substantially the same content or that represent a single subject by different names or codes.
  4. Prerequisite: A condition that a student must meet before the student may enrol in a designated subject. The condition may relate to enrolment in a course or, more usually, in another subject.
  5. Quota: A limit on the number of students who may enrol in a subject, often accompanied by conditions (e.g.preference may go to students enrolled in a particular course).
  6. Subject Rules: rules that govern admission to subjects, either by requiring enrolment or by prohibiting enrolment.
  7. Teaching Period: the time between the beginning of the first teaching session and the end of the last teaching session in any given subject.
  8. Withdrawn: removed from a student’s active enrolment.