Preregistration for spring term instruction in Yale College (November 2, 2020)

Update, November 10, 2020: The deadline for students to submit their preliminary course schedule has been extended to Monday, December 21.

To: FAS faculty; other faculty teaching spring courses in Yale College
Cc: FAS Steering; FAS Dean’s Office Staff; FAS Department Chairs’ Assistants, Operations Managers, Lead Administrators, and Registrars

Summary: This memo provides guidance on preregistration for spring term instruction in Yale College.

Dear Colleagues,

We write today to provide guidance on preregistration for the spring term in Yale College.

In our message of October 23, we announced that we would provide additional details about the preregistration schedule; please find key dates below.

As a reminder, Yale College students will participate in an online preregistration period in December, followed by a two-week “add/drop” period that will run through the first week of spring classes (January 25, 2021, to February 5, 2021).

Preregistration facilitates course planning, especially the allocation of teaching fellows, and it also increases the amount of instructional time. To ensure sufficient time for preregistration, and to keep the extended winter break period free from work or deadlines, preregistration will be complete in December. Completing preregistration in December will enable faculty and staff to have a break from advising and planning duties during the holiday period and most of January. This schedule also enables students to consult with their advisers before the fall term ends.

  • Monday, Nov 30, 5:00 p.m.: Deadline for instructors to post expanded course descriptions on Canvas
  • Monday, Nov 30, to Friday, Dec 18. Students meet with college advisers or departmental advisers for consultations about course selection in the spring term.
  • Tuesday, Dec 1, 9:00 a.m.: Preference Selection opens; department-run applications for limited-enrollment courses open; instructors who independently admit students to their courses begin to collect applications according to the process explained on their Canvas sites. Instructors can also include information about this in the “class comments” section of each course listing in Yale Course Search by informing their department registrar.
  • Wednesday, Dec 2, 5:00 p.m.: Deadline for students to apply to a first-year seminar.
  • Friday, Dec 4, 5:00 p.m.: Results of first-year seminar applications posted.
  • Wednesday, Dec 9, 5:00 p.m.: Deadline for students to apply to limited-enrollment courses.
  • Thursday, Dec 10, to Monday, Dec 14, 12:00 p.m.: Applications for limited-enrollment courses reviewed by department administrators or individual instructors, and results announced.
  • Monday, Dec 14, 12:00 p.m.: Online Course Selection (OCS) system opens for students to begin building a preliminary schedule worksheet. Students may begin submitting their preliminary schedules and forwarding them to their advisers.  
  • Friday, Dec, 18, 5:00 p.m.: Deadline for students to submit an OCS preliminary course schedule; OCS closes.
  • Friday, Dec, 18, 5:00 p.m. to Monday, Jan 25, 12:00 p.m.: OCS is closed. Students cannot make changes to their OCS preliminary schedule worksheet at this time.
  • Monday, Jan 25, 12:00 p.m.: OCS reopens for the Add/Drop period. Advising resumes.
  • Friday, February 5, 5:00 p.m.: Add/Drop period ends. Deadline for students to submit their final OCS schedule worksheet. Even if no changes are made, ALL students must return to OCS to submit their final schedule.

Yale College students who have declared a major should consult their departmental adviser before December 18, according to whatever advising structure is in place for the major. In majors where the DUS is not the students’ adviser, students will be able to list their departmental adviser. Students who have not declared a major will be advised to consult with their college adviser by December 18.

If you are serving as an adviser to a student, you will receive a link by email to your advisee’s preliminary course schedule after your advisee submits it. Your advisee is expected to consult you about her or his plans for the spring term, and you will be asked only to indicate if your advisee did so.

As a reminder, to make preregistration possible, all instructors are expected to provide an Expanded Course Description and, if possible, a syllabus, by November 30. This timeline will enable students to select classes during the online preregistration period in December. The “Syllabus” page on your course site on Canvas is preloaded with a template for you to use to fill out an expanded course description. You may also upload a brief (two- to three-minute) video introduction to the course, if desired, and a full syllabus, if available. Additional information about completing these templates can be found here.

This schedule was developed by the University Registrar’s Office, Yale College Dean’s Office, Faculty of Arts and Sciences Dean’s Office, and Graduate School, in consultation with department chairs, directors of undergraduate studies, and the Yale College Teaching, Learning, and Advising Committee. We have also incorporated useful feedback from faculty and students about preregistration for this fall term. Technical and practical constraints of the current course registration system (OCS) – to be replaced for Fall 2021 – limit the kinds of changes that can be made for the spring term registration; therefore, procedures for the spring term will largely duplicate this term. Nevertheless, we expect that the process will run more smoothly for the spring, with input from you and clearer communications to students and faculty.


Tamar Szabó Gendler
Dean, Faculty of Arts and Sciences

Marvin Chun
Dean of Yale College

Lynn Cooley
Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences