Course Registration


Course enrollment occurs late in the term prior to the term for which students are enrolling; in April for the fall term and in November for the spring term. First-year and returning students register for the fall term one or two days before classes begin, not in April. First-year students may also participate in preference selection in early August for first-year seminars, Directed Studies sections, and other multi-section courses. 

Faculty should review their course offerings in Yale Course Search before registration opens. Once students begin to register for courses, no further changes to the course can be made (ex. cross-listings, distributional designations). During the registration period, students enroll in courses via Yale Course Search by entering courses onto their registration worksheet. Students are encouraged to plan their schedules and finalize as many course selections as possible during registration by removing courses in which they are no longer interested and adding courses they are actively considering. For both fall and spring terms, all students must enroll in at least three course credits before registration closes, as indicated by the deadline listed on the registration resources website. Students may enroll in a maximum of 5.5 course credits.

Some courses require permission of the instructor to enroll and others enroll on a first-come basis. It is very important that faculty work with their departmental registrar to set up their course on Yale Course Search, prior to the opening of registration. Faculty should let the registrar know the following:

  • the maximum enrollment
  • whether they want to actively grant student enrollment permission through the registration system OR allow students to enroll on a first-come basis
  • if students enroll on a first-come basis, do the faculty members want to establish a waitlist? The waitlist automatically invites the first student on the waitlist to enroll in the course if a seat becomes available. The student has 24 hours to respond to the invitation. Instructors may not change the order of students on the waitlist.
  • faculty may also ask to set up enrollment restrictions based on students' major; class year; Yale College students only or grad/professional students only

Preference Selection for FIRST-year seminars, Multi-section courses and discussion/lab sections

Preference Selection is a system that allows students to register and submit preferences for first-year seminars, multi-section courses, and in some cases, discussion/lab sections. The system opens at different times for first-year seminars and other courses. Refer to the Preference Selection page on University Registrar's website for links to the Preference Selection system (once it opens) and to the registration website for dates and deadlines. 

Add/drop period

Shortly before the opening day of each term, there is an add/drop period during which students may make changes to their schedules. The registration system opens for all students to adjust their course enrollment. Final course selections and adjustments must be completed by the published deadline listed on the registration website. It is the student's responsibility to obtain all necessary permissions before the deadline.

Course Demand Statistics reflect how many students have placed a course on their schedule, and show daily enrollment trends. For more information and a guide to how the registration system works see the registration website.


Canvas sites are created for all offered courses (for which an instructor is listed) and provide faculty the opportunity to view their provisional student rosters. Names that appear on the rosters as "students" are enrolled in the course. Names that appear on the rosters as "visitors" are not enrolled students, but are students considering enrolling. Faculty need to take no action for the visiting students, they are not seeking permission to enroll. If they decide to enroll, they will either seek instructor permission if this is how the course is set up or they will enroll through the registration system if the course still has open seats and is set up to accept students on a first-come basis or if a waitlist has been established.

Lectures with discussion and/or lab sections

Lectures often have associated discussion or laboratory sections as part of the course structure. Students need to register for both the lecture and the section to be enrolled in the course. Faculty must ensure there are enough seats in the sections to match the number of students allowed to enroll in the accompanying lecture, and that they have been assigned a sufficient number of teaching fellows to cover those sections. Your departmental registrar will help create discussion sections and/or lab sections.