Course Registration and Waiting List Policy

The Environmental Studies Program recognizes the difficulties that students face in adding courses. To ensure efficiency and fairness in the add process we have formulated the following guidelines. Please read them carefully.

Majors Only” Restriction on ES Courses During the First Registration Pass

Wait List and Crashing Procedure for ES Courses

Commonly asked questions regarding wait lists add crashing ES courses

Important things to know about UCSB’s Course Wait Lists

1)  “Majors Only” Policy for First Registration Pass

All upper-division Environmental Studies (ES) courses enforce a “majors only” restriction during the FIRST Registration Pass.  This means only officially declared ES and Hydrology majors are allowed to register for upper-division ES courses during pass one.  If space is still available at the start of the SECOND Registration pass, courses are open to any major as long as they meet the designated course prerequisites.

Click here to officially declare the Environmental Studies or Hydrology Major.

2)  Wait List & Crashing Policy for Full or Closed Courses on GOLD:

Starting Fall quarter, 2014 UCSB has a new waitlisting feature that has been added into GOLD.  It allows automated waitlists for courses, if instructors choose to activate this feature. If you see that a course is full and an active waitlist link next to the course, add your name to it. In some cases (depending on how an instructor sets the permissions), you may be added automatically when a space opens up (true for most ES courses).  Some instructors may elect to activate the online wait list but deactivate the auto-add feature. IN such cases they use the wait list to asses student interest in their course and will address how they plan to handle crashers at the first day of lecture.  Note: signing up on the waiting list does not guarantee a spot in the course!

If the auto-add feature is not active, and/or spots do not open up on GOLD before the start of the quarter, students should plan to attend the first day of lecture where the instructor will address how they plan to evaluate, prioritize and admit crashers.  Students are discouraged from contacting an instructor and ask to be put on a wait list or issued an approval code Instead, attend the first lecture in person. You should also check the relevant course web page for any pre-quarter announcements.

More info about UCSB’s new waitlisting feature:

The current functionality is relatively basic, but the intent is to expand functionality over the next couple of years.

The Waitlist button will become available on the Course Search Screen once the following criteria are met:

  • It's after the start of Pass 2.
  • The department or instructor has enabled the waitlist for the course.
  • All lectures and sections of the course are full or closed.

For example, if there are 3 lectures and associated discussion sections of a course being offered.  The waitlist will only become active once all 3 lectures have no spaces which may be added.

When signing up for a waitlist, students will be prompted to select which of the sections would be acceptable as well as the grading option, repeat values, and units if appropriate for the course.

The signup screen will also display the number of students currently on the waitlist as well as any notes from the department so that the student may make an educated decision as to whether they would like to join the waitlist.

The units of waitlisted coursework WILL count toward the student's unit maximum for the current registration pass.

Spaces that open after the waitlist has enrolled students will not be able to directly add the course.  They must register for the waitlist first.

The watilist has an Auto Add feature that may be enabled by the department or instructor.  If enabled, spaces which become available will be assigned to the student at the top of the waitlist.  The student will be added and notified via email.

Currently (Fall 14) the waitlist only supports a first come, first served sort order.

Starting Winter 15, the waitlist may be using other criteria (e.g. major, class level, etc.) to determine priority.

This feature will only add students that are eligible to add the course.  If a student is missing pre-requisites or does not meet major, level or other limitations, they must consult with the instructor or department offering the course.

To review UCSB’s general Wait list policy visit the Registrar’s website at:

3) Commonly asked questions regarding wait lists add crashing ES courses

1)  Who should students contact if a course is full and one wants to add/crash the course?

  1. Students should not contact the instructor or TA for an approval (add) code. 
  2. If a class is full, students should sign up via the UCSB online wait list system.

2)  What action(s) should students take until they know if they can add the course?

  1. Students are expected to attend the first and all subsequent lectures, and if the class has a required section/lab, attend ONE section and let the TA know they are interested in adding the class. 
  2. Continue to attend lectures until receiving an approval code from the instructor or TA or the instructor announces the class is closed for the rest of the quarter and no more approval codes will be distributed.

3)  What should students avoid doing if they want to secure an add code?

  1. Students should not skip lecture.
  2. Students should not contact instructors if classes are full but instead add themselves on the wait list and attend the first day of instruction.
  3. Students should not contact or pressure TAs, they do not have the ability to add students to classes (unless the instructor decides to give TA’s authority to issue approval Codes).

4)  When will the decision about add codes be made?

  • Wait listed students should not expect an e-mail response once they have signed-up with the online waitlist system.  Some instructors will specifically state a timeline for issuing approval codes via email, but otherwise, just plan to attend the first day of class where additional information will be given by the instructor.

5)  How long do students have to enroll after being given the add codes?

  1. Students are generally given 48 hours after being given the add codes to enroll in the class.  If the student does not enroll within that time frame, his/her spot may be given to the next student on the priority list.
  2. Add codes may be issued by instructors and used up to the posted add deadline for that quarter (normally the end of the third week of the quarter).

4) Important things to know about UCSB’s Course Wait Lists:

  1. Each department/instructor is responsible for their own add/crash procedures, so be sure to check each department's website for instructions or attend the first day of class.
  2. If a course wait list exists, being on it does not guarantee one a spot in the class. Wait lists are a tool to help instructors assess and prioritize student demand.
  3. The existence of a wait list does not guarantee there will be additional spots available for the course.
  4. Add codes are issued by the course instructor, not the wait list website.
  5. An Approval (add) Code is the means for a course instructor to allow a student to register in their course, bypassing registration restrictions, including:
    1. Instructor or department approval required prior to registration
    2. Major limitations
    3. Level limitations
    4. Missing Prerequisite
    5. Closed or full classes