During your first two years of college you will take many of the prerequisites necessary for your intended major. Some students spend their first two years at a community college, earning an associate degree, and some states will then allow students to transfer to a university as a junior. Whether you take them at a community college or four-year college, knowing the general coursework needed in the first two years will help you plan your education.


Some students know their major before they begin taking classes, while others may wait until after they complete their prerequisites before declaring a major. If you know your academic path, you may take courses in your major during the first two years of college. However, you may need certain prerequisite courses before you can register for some of these classes.

Math and Science

All students need to pass college-level math, such as pre-calculus or statistics, and your college can inform you of the course that meets this requirement. Many students enter college below this math level, so you may need to take lower-level math courses to help you learn the skills you need to take the advanced course.

As well, you will need to complete at least one science series consisting of a progression of two or three classes with a lab component. These classes may include subjects such as general biology, chemistry or physics. For some science series, you may need to complete a certain level math before taking the course.

Writing and Communication

You will need to take writing courses during your first two years. Students who do not have strong written communication skills may need to take skill-building courses to improve reading, grammar and sentence construction. Some school programs may also require students to take a course in public speaking to improve verbal presentation skills.


Most programs will require students to take a certain number of elective credits. This means you'll have the opportunity to choose subjects that interest you or that may prove useful in your future career. You may choose from courses in literature, psychology, sociology or history.

Some students also choose to take additional math or science classes, and other students choose to apply their elective credits to courses in ceramics, painting or sports.

If you did not complete your foreign language requirement during high school and cannot demonstrate a proficiency in a second language, you may need to use some of your elective credits to satisfy this requirement for your degree.

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