Registering for Courses

The Registration Resources webpage is the university’s central clearinghouse for information regarding course registration.

It includes a calendar, an FAQ page, and guides to searching for courses, registering for courses, dropping courses, understanding icons, and more.

The University Registrar’s Office also created two “how-to” registration videos, available on YouTube:

Registration Resources is maintained by the University Registrar’s Office.

Important Dates for Fall Course Schedules

All students who are new to Yale will register for fall courses in late August. That includes incoming first-years, new transfer students, new Eli Whitney students, reinstated students, YVISP students, and some others.

The University Registrar’s Office publishes the fall registration dates on its Registration Resources calendar each summer. That same website has many clickable links with information about what to do before registration, during registration, and after registration.

There are four basic steps to registration:

  1. Placement exams: in July, with results posted in August
  2. Preference Selection: in August, with results announced mid- to late-August
  3. Course registration for new students: late August
  4. Add/drop period: beginning on the first day of classes and ending 5-10 days later, depending on the semester.

The idea behind this timeline is that students (1) will need to take a placement exam in those subjects that they’ve studied previously and intend to study in their first year at Yale.

►N.B.Yale offers placement exams in biology, chemistry, languages, and mathematics.

The placement students receive then indicate the level of the section they should select during (2) Preference Selection (for example, introductory French vs. intermediate French).

►N.B. Preference Selection is the process Yale uses for undergraduates to indicate their preferred section meeting times within multi-section courses such as introductory English courses, language courses, or math courses. It should be on your radar screen if you intend to take a multi-section course. But it’s also possible that some incoming students will not need to participate in Preference Selection if they intend to take single-section courses such as many upper-level courses or introductory courses in less demand-heavy subjects of study. In fact, the vast majority of Yale courses are single-section courses that do not use Preference Selection. For more information, see the Preference Selection and Preregistration Applications webpage

Preference Selection results inform students of the meeting times of the sections they have been admitted to, and thus allow them to schedule their other, non-multi-section courses around them during (3) registration period.

Confused? Don’t stress about it now: you’ll get good information and coaching from the University Registrar’s Office, your residential college dean, your first-year counselor (for frosh), your college adviser, and others as August approaches.

What if you make a course-selection “mistake”? Many such “mistakes” end up being serendipitous — with so many Yale courses it’s hard to go wrong — but mistakes could happen in sequential majors such as STEM majors, for example. There is still little cause for concern: students will still be able to adjust their course schedules during (4) add/drop period at the beginning of September.