Gateway Course

Last Updated 12/30/2023

A gateway course is the first credit-bearing college-level course in a program of study. These courses commonly refer to the requirements of a degree program and may be called introductory courses or prerequisites. Each student majoring in a given discipline generally passes through gateway courses. Examples include introductory courses or prerequisite courses required to complete before moving forward in majors like Business, Chemistry, and Psychology. Where colleges have particular mathematics and/or foreign language requirements for graduation, gateway courses may also include Algebra, English Composition, or Spanish I or other foreign languages.

Research has found that underrepresented college students are disproportionately held back by gateway courses, and this leads to lower graduation rates.

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