Early registration and limited enrollment courses: important dates and procedures (April 1, 2021)

[Summary: This message outlines important information on the early registration process and enhancements to the Yale Course System (YCS), including the following important dates:

  • April 5: Expanded course descriptions for Fall 2021 should be submitted by Monday, April 5.
  • April 30: If you are teaching a limited-enrollment course, and you expect the number of interested students to exceed the number of slots available, you should request “instructor permission” status for your course from your DUS or departmental registrar by April 30.
  • May 3-June 4: Students will be able to participate in the early registration process between May 3 and June 4.
  • Two rounds for admitting students to limited-enrollment courses: There will be two rounds for admitting students to limited-enrollment courses: an April round for departments that run centralized application processes and for individual faculty who wish to manage enrollments independently; and a May round for those who choose to participate in the new centrally-organized Yale Course Search (YCS) process.
  • April 21-April 30: The April (departmental) round for limited enrollment courses in departments that run centralized application processes or for individual faculty who wish to manage enrollments by email, survey, or other means will take place between April 21-April 30. Students apply between April 6 and April 21 and are notified by April 30.
  • May 24-28, 2021: The May (YCS) round for all other limited enrollment courses will take place from May 24-28, 2021. The YCS round introduces new features that will make course registration easier for faculty, students, and staff. 

While this message is detailed and complex, we encourage faculty to read it in full as it outlines important enrollment processes.]

To: FAS Faculty and all other faculty teaching in Yale College

Cc: FAS Steering; Yale College Dean’s Office Staff; FAS Dean’s Office Staff; University Registrar’s Office; Poorvu Center for Teaching and Learning; FAS Department Lead Administrators, Operations Managers, Chairs Assistants, and Registrars

Dear colleagues,

As previewed in prior communications to you in June, October, and March, we will soon begin the early registration process for Fall 2021 undergraduate courses.  The registration process will be different than in previous years, in ways described below, because the University Registrar’s Office is introducing enhancements to the Yale Course Search system (YCS) that make it more powerful, flexible, and easier for faculty, students, and staff members.

Deadlines for all faculty teaching undergraduate courses in Fall 2021: 

Deadline for expanded course descriptions: April 5, 2021  

Canvas sites for fall term courses are now live. The deadline for completing expanded course descriptions in Canvas is April 5, 2021. This early deadline allows the bulk of early registration to take place prior to the summer, enabling you to have a true break from registration- and advising-related work during June and July. If your course has limited enrollment, be sure to explain the student selection process in your expanded course description. See below for additional information on limited-enrollment courses.

Yale Course Search (YCS) early registration period: May 3 to June 4, 2021

YCS for course registration opens on May 3 for rising sophomores, juniors, and seniors and closes on June 4, 2021. Students will be informed that faculty are only available for advising through May 28, but students will have until June 4 to adjust their early registration schedule worksheets. Registration will reopen in August, at which time first-year and transfer students will select their courses, and continuing students will be able to adjust their schedules throughout the add/drop period. This timetable leaves faculty free from registration-related activities during the whole of June and July.  

Deadlines and processes for faculty teaching courses with limited enrollment:

Requiring instructor permission for courses with limited enrollment: Requests due to department registrars or DUSes by April 30, 2021

All courses that anticipate exceeding their enrollment capacity should be flagged as requiring instructor permission. Options for selecting students are described below. Faculty who plan to run their own selection process during the “April round” should inform students of their process in their expanded course description and follow the prescribed dates. Whether you choose the “April round” or “May round,” be sure to inform your department registrars/administrators or DUSes by no later than April 30 if you wish for your course to require instructor permission so that it can be properly tagged when the registration system opens on May 3. In requiring instructor permission, you should specify how many students you wish to confirm for your class in the early registration round. This cap can be higher than, equal to, or lower than what you can accommodate in the fall term. Please consider the likelihood of attrition when you establish this cap. During early registration, students will register for more courses (up to 5.5 credits for most students) than they will ultimately enroll in (a little higher than 4.5 credits per semester), and they are likely to drop courses prior to the start of the fall term.  In addition, if you plan to accommodate first-year students or new upper-level students, who will register in August, you may either leave spots for open for them, or you may rely on room made available by attrition. 

April departmental round for limited enrollment courses: April 21 and April 30, 2021 (students apply between April 6 and April 21 and are notified by April 30)

Some departments have a centralized process for managing limited enrollment courses.   If you are unsure if your department or program runs a centralized process, please contact your DUS.

If your limited-enrollment course is not included in a centralized process run by your department, you have two options. 

  1. You can ask students to state their interest in your course by April 21.  You will need to collect student input individually by e-mail, or some other means (e.g., your own Qualtrics survey), and confirm student spots by April 30. If you plan to manage your enrollment individually at this stage, we ask you to register your courses here  as soon as possible, so that we can provide a central list of limited-enrollment courses that are not managed by a department. 
  2. You can skip the departmental round and manage your enrollment during the May YC round described below.

 May YCS round for limited enrollment courses: May 24-28, 2021

Faculty in departments that do not manage limited enrollments through a centralized process may now elect to use the new capabilities of YCS to manage limited enrollment courses. This process is simpler, allows extra time and more certainty, and relieves instructors and students from the demands of early registration during classes, reading period, or finals.

The new capabilities of YCS allow you to monitor student interest and manage enrollment in your courses within YCS, removing the need to collect student applications separately.  Throughout the YCS early registration period (May 3 to June 4), when students list your course on their YCS worksheets, the information is updated on your YCS Manage Course page, Canvas roster, and Course Demand Statistics so that you can track which and how many students have expressed interest in taking your course.      

Course enrollment information is dynamically updated in real time. To ensure that you have accurate and valid information about student demand for your course, we are setting 9 a.m., May 24, 2021, as a primary round deadline by which students should sign up for courses with limited enrollment. (While YCS cannot prevent students from expressing interest in your course beyond this time, you should only feel obliged to consider students who sign up by this deadline).  On YCS, you can view a current list of students requesting permission to take your course. If the number of such students is within the capacity of your course, you may grant permission to all the students within the YCS system by May 28. We expect that this simple process will apply to most courses.  Note that in this scenario, you do not need to collect and review applications from students. 

If, on May 24, your student demand exceeds your course cap, you will need to review and select which students to admit into your course. As a default, YCS will provide information on each student’s major and class year. As a supplement, you can use your expanded course description to ask students to list relevant coursework and other curricular or extracurricular information on YCS (up to 1,000 characters). For most courses, this should be enough information to make a decision. To make your class more inclusive and to foster a positive learning environment please do not request GPA information. Additionally, to lessen the burden for students and for you, please do not request essays, unless pedagogically necessary. In any event, please confirm student spots in your classes by May 28.

Closing thoughts

With gratitude to the University Registrar’s Office and ITS, we are excited to announce these new YCS features as the culmination of years of planning in response to long-standing requests for improvements by faculty, students, and staff members.  Although change can be challenging, we believe that the new user-friendly YCS will help save time and effort, and we are grateful for your flexibility as we adapt to this new system.

Tamar, Marvin, and Lynn

Tamar Szabó Gendler
Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences
Marvin M. Chun
Dean of Yale College
Lynn Cooley
Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences