Departmental closed course policy

In fairness to all students, our faculty cannot entertain personal appeals to open a class when enrollment is at capacity. But we can ensure that all students will be able to enroll in the courses they need to finish their program in a timely fashion.

If the class you want is closed...

  1. First try to find another course section that works for you. If you are registering late, you need to be flexible. Click through the tabs at the link to see what courses are available within various key categories in the upcoming semester.
  2. If there are no suitable alternatives, sign up for the waiting list for the class you want. To do so, register for the course using its five-digit CRN in the usual way, and then select "waiting list" from the drop-down menu. (See video instructions here.) You should do this as soon as possible and no later than 48 hours before the semester begins.

Once I'm on the waiting list, then what?
There are two ways a student on the waiting list can gain entry to a class. Either way, you'll get an email.

  1. Someone drops the class: If a student drops out of the course, the first person on the waiting list will be notified by email and have 48 hours to register. If that student doesn't register for the course within 48 hours, then the next student on the waiting list is given an opportunity to enroll. And so on down the list.
  2. We issue you a permit because you need the course to avoid delaying your graduation: We don't do this lightly and we do not entertain personal appeals on these matters. Instead, on the day before the semester begins, the chairperson assesses which students on the waiting lists need a course in order to avoid delaying graduation. This assessment is made in a systematic fashion based on information from students' degree audits using a computer program written for this purpose. We do not need additional information from you. Permits are generally issued only to students who need a particular course during that particular semester in order to graduate in a timely fashion. (Note: we do not break course caps to allow students to take more than 15 credits in a semester.) Everyone who receives a permit will be notified by the first day of the semester. Note: students must sign up for a waiting list no later than 48 hours prior to the beginning of the semester in order to be considered.

What about exceptional cases?, i.e. "I was compelled to register late and I need a particular class."
If you find yourself in a situation where you must register late through no fault of your own, you are not alone. A significant number of students find themselves in this predicament. Remember: signing up for the waiting list of a course is the only way to be considered.

Why do we do it this way?
A chief concern is fairness. We base our decision to open a closed course on objective criteria, not on which students are willing to approach a faculty member to request entry to a course. In order to assess which students are most in need of a particular course, the chairperson must examine the records of all students seeking entry to a class in a systematic fashion.

Another reason is that we take course caps seriously. Course caps were adopted for sound pedagogical reasons, and we would like to honor them wherever possible. When course caps are exceeded, there is less faculty time available for each student in the class. The differences in any individual class may be slight, but these differences can be meaningful when aggregated across a student's career at WPU.