Course Enrollment

Before the Term Begins

The Gen Ed staff share anticipated enrollment numbers with course heads each spring for the upcoming year.  Initial section allocations are based upon these estimates. 

Lotteries & Limited Enrollment

It is sometimes necessary to limit course enrollment by conducting a lottery due to a shortage of qualified TFs or the inability to secure an appropriately sized room. If either of these cases appears likely, contact your Course Coordinator as soon as possible to discuss lottery policies and procedures. Any lottery must be conducted at or before the second course meeting, and the results must be announced before Study Card Day, after which you cannot limit enrollment.  Learn more about conducting a lottery.

Shopping Week—The First Week of Classes

Students are encouraged to “shop” courses during the first week of the term before they submit their course enrollment choices on Study Card Day, which ordinarily falls at the end of the first full week of classes.  The Gen Ed Office is ordinarily able to authorize additional sections only after Study Card Day, when final enrollment numbers are known.  However, if enrollment is significantly higher than expected, or there is concern about identifying qualified TFs, the course head may want to create a standby list and identify potential TFs who may be appointed after Study Card Day.  Learn more about Shopping Week & Study Card Day.

Study Card Day & Beyond

The Gen Ed Office will be in touch with course heads with the final enrollment tally within a few days after Study Card Day.  Section allocations may change during this time. If there are allocation changes and changes in your teaching staff, your Course Coordinator will be in touch with the course heads and relevant teaching staff.  This can be a stressful time of the year; please reach out to your Course Coordinator if you have any questions or concerns.

However, sometimes students accept a late-fee and submit their online study cards after this initial due date.  If a Harvard undergraduate has said that he/she has enrolled in the course but he/she is not appearing on the class roster in my.harvard, advise the student to contact the Registrar’s Office  immediately.  Your Course Coordinator can also locate other resources if there is a special registration circumstance (e.g., cross-registration for Harvard graduate students, MIT, etc.).