Limiting Enrollment

A star prefixed to the title of a course in the YCPS indicates that permission to enroll in the course must be secured in advance from the instructor. Seminars, because they are characterized by limited enrollment, are all starred. An instructor may also limit enrollment in other courses after appropriate consultation with the department. Because students assume that a course listing in the YCPS without an indication of limited enrollment means that the course is available to all students, it may be necessary that course listings indicate whatever limitations in enrollment exist. In addition to the YCPS star, courses may indicate limited enrollment through a listing of prerequisites, a statement about the number of students who may be admitted to the course, a declaration that the course is open only to majors, or a statement specifying that the course is open, for example, only to juniors and seniors.

It is helpful for students to know what selection criteria are for limited enrollment courses, as well as the date by which they will be notified that they have or have not been admitted to the course. Please keep in mind that early dates are best. This information helps students decide whether or not to apply in the first place and may reduce the number of applications you have to read.

Many departments use the Preference Selection Tool to manage enrollment before the start of the term. The Preference Selection Tool is an online service for students to rank multiple sections of a course, or multiple courses of a particular family (e.g., first-year seminars). Seats are distributed to students through lottery and are often placed directly on the student’s schedule. To learn more about the Preference Selection Tool or to implement this service in your department, please contact the University Registrar’s Office at

The Registrar’s Office does not, student by student and schedule by schedule, verify that a student has received permission from an instructor to enroll in a limited-enrollment course. If the name of any student who does not have the instructor’s permission to take a course appears on the class list, the instructor should notify the Registrar’s Office to drop the student from the course. Similarly, the Registrar’s Office does not check whether or not a student has met the prerequisites for a course. It is up to the instructor to ascertain that a student has the appropriate preparation.