Step 5.3 - What are the prerequisites?

Write a list of other courses that should be considered prerequisites for this course.


From a course on clinical trials analysis. This suggests that students need basic R programming skills, basic statistical skills, and basic exploratory data analysis skills.

From a course on XGBoost. This makes it clear that the course follows on from the scikit-learn course.


How many prerequisites do I need?

You need enough prerequisites to deter unqualified students from starting your course, but not too many that you deter qualified students from starting. In practice, two or three prerequisites is usually appropriate.

I have some plotting exercises in my course. Do I need a plotting course as a prerequisite?

Usually no. In the first exercise where the student draws a plot, keep it simple, explain things gently, and link to an appropriate plotting course. If the course makes heavy use of plotting throughout, you may wish to consider having a plotting course as a prerequisite. Discuss this with your Curriculum Lead.

Good ideas

Browse the DataCamp course library

It can be useful to see which courses already exist on DataCamp. Browse the library and see if anything looks like a suitable prerequisite.

Think about different axes of skills

Are there any data manipulation prerequisites? Any statistical prerequisites? Any machine learning prerequisites? Any programming prerequisites? Any problem-domain prerequisites?

Common problems and their solutions

Not enough prerequisites

If you don't have enough prerequisites, then students without enough background experience will take your course, and are likely to give it low ratings. Be honest about what you are assuming of the students who your course.

Too many prerequisites

If you have too many prerequisites, then students will be put off taking your course, and you will get less money. It's OK to be thorough about listing prerequisites, but discuss them with your Curriculum Lead, and they will likely be cut down to the best three.

How will this be reviewed?

This step will be reviewed by at least two people other than your Curriculum Lead, possibly including an external reviewer. They will look for the following points.

  • Are there a sensible number of prerequisites?
  • Do the students really need to take those courses before this one?
  • Are there any other courses not listed that would make better prerequisites?

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