McGill class schedules are designed to strike a balance between maximizing student choice and using limited classroom space. Class sizes are limited based on academic needs and space limitations. Inevitably, some class sections that interest you may be full. You can check the number of available spots in any class in the class schedule.
Tips on handling common registration issues
There are a variety of controls that can be placed on courses that may cause "registration errors" (i.e. registration failures) when you are registering on Minerva. Below are some of the registration errors that you may encounter with an explanation and suggestions for problem-solving. Please read this over carefully; if you are still unable to resolve your registration problems, you should contact Service Point .
Note: Always pay attention to "NOTES" that may appear directly below courses in the Class Schedule as they may help explain error messages that occur.
This will be apparent by the "C" that appears at the far left of the course number in Class Schedule where normally a tick box appears. This means that all of the places in the course are taken at that moment in time. There are two solutions to this registration error, depending on whether (a) you need the course to fulfill program requirements or (b) you want the course as an elective.
(a) If you need the course to fulfill program requirements you must contact the department administering the course directly (e.g., Biology for a BIOL course, English for an ENGL course, etc.). Explain your situation to the staff person and they will determine if you are eligible for a place in the course. If the department allows you into the course they will grant you a "permit to register," an electronic indicator that is put directly onto your record that lets the student record system recognize you as eligible to register. You must still use Minerva to register after the permit is granted.
Note: If you are granted a CAPACITY permit because a course is closed, you MUST use the "Quick Add/Drop" option on Minerva.
(b) If you want the course as an elective, you should not contact the department, as they must give priority to students who need the course to meet program requirements. However, it is possible during Add/Drop that there will be movement within the course, and if you try regularly to "quick add" the course you may be able to register because another student drops the course. If the course uses the Waitlist feature, at the time you try to "quick add" and the course is still full, you will be invited to join the waitlist. If you add yourself to the Waitlist you will be notified by your McGill e-mail if a place becomes available and you are next on the list to register.
Note: Have another course in reserve in the event you are not successful adding your first choice. You may have to plan to take this elective in another term.
Reserve Closed Course
This happens when a specific portion (a reserved section) of the course is full. For example, a department may give 50 places for students in specific programs, and 30 places for everyone else. If you are not in one of the specific programs and the 30 places are taken, you will receive this error message. The reverse is also true: if you are in a specific program and the 50 program places are taken, you will receive this error message. The solution to this registration problem is the same as for Closed courses: see (a) above if you need the course for a program requirement, and see (b) above if you want the course as an elective.
This refers to courses that are limited to students in a specific academic year (U0, U1, U2 or U3). Courses with class restrictions usually have "NOTES" in Class Schedule of "Limited to U0 (or U1, U2 or U3) students".
If you are not in the correct year to permit registration, you must see the department administering the course to determine if you are eligible for a place in the class (e.g. Chemistry for a CHEM course, International Development Studies for an INTD course, etc.). If the department allows you into the course they will grant you a "permit to register", an electronic indicator that is put directly onto your record that lets the student record system recognize you as eligible to register. You must still use Minerva to register after the permit is granted.
This refers to a course that is controlled by program codes; if you are not in the appropriate program you will not be able to register.
Courses with program controls usually have "NOTES" in Class Schedule of "Limited by Program". There are two possible solutions to this restriction: (a) if the course is program controlled within the faculty you are accepted into, or (b) if the course is program controlled in a faculty you are not accepted into.
(a) An example of a program control within your faculty would be an ENGL course which is open only to Cultural Studies students. If you have been accepted into a B.A. degree (or the BA&SC), and you want to fulfill a Major Concentration in English Cultural Studies, then you must have the program properly entered onto your record in Minerva before you can register.
Note: You may not add programs to your record that you do not intend to follow solely for the purpose of registering in a restricted course; if you are found to have obtained a place in a limited course in this manner you will be deregistered.
(b) An example of a program control in a faculty you are not accepted into would be a MGCR course which is only open to students in programs in the BCom degree and you are not in that Faculty.
This refers to a course that is controlled by faculty codes, i.e. only students in specific faculties may register. If you are a B.Sc. student seeking to register in an Engineering course or a B.A. student seeking to register in an Education course you may experience this error message. Please contact your Faculty's Student Affairs Office for more information in this situation.
Departmental Approval Required
This refers to courses which require a placement test or the approval of the professor or other relevant administrator prior to registration. Courses with this type of control usually have "NOTES" in Class Schedule of "Departmental approval required" or "Adviser approval required" or "Placement test required". For example, language courses may require you to be "placed" at the appropriate level before you can register, or other courses may require you to see the professor or an administrator in the relevant department prior to registration. Once the department establishes your language level or your suitability to join the class, they will grant you a "permit to register," an electronic indicator that is put directly onto your record that lets the student record system recognize you as eligible to register. You must still use Minerva to register after the permit is granted.
This refers to courses (lecture activities) which have other activities "linked" to them (i.e. a tutorial or lab) that require you to add more than one CRN at a time. Courses with this type of control usually have "NOTES" in Class Schedule of "Must be taken with a tutorial" or "Must be taken with a lab". For example, if you are registering in a CHEM or BIOL course which have lab activities "linked" to them, a MATH course which has a tutorial "linked" to it, or to a SOCI or ANTH course with conferences "linked" to them, you must choose both the lecture activity and the linked activity and add them at the same time.
This refers to courses which have pre-requisites and/or co-requisites that must be satisfied before you can register. There will not always be "NOTES" in the Class Schedule to warn you of existing pre- and co-requisites, so if this error message occurs it will be necessary to verify in the undergraduate eCalendar what courses are needed prior to registration. The solution to this problem varies depending on (a) whether the pre-requisites are clearly on your record with valid grades, or (b) if the pre-requisites are part of transfer credit or other types of advanced standing (i.e. not McGill courses but equivalent work done elsewhere for which you've been granted credit).
(a) An example of a clear-cut case would be a MATH course that has a pre-requisite of an introductory statistics course, and you have this course or its equivalent on your record with a grade of "C" or better. Contact your Faculty's Student Affairs Office for assistance with this issue.
(b) An example of a complicated case would be a MATH course that has a pre-requisite of an introductory statistics course and you have covered the material of this course at another university and have been granted transfer credit from that university that appears on your record in Minerva. You must take a description of that course and the grade you earned directly to the Math department to have the content evaluated for its suitability to act as a pre-requisite. If the department establishes that you have satisfied the pre-requisite, they will grant you a "permit to register," an electronic indicator that is put directly onto your record that lets the student record system recognize you as eligible to register. You must still use Minerva to register after the permit is granted.
Maximum Hours Exceeded
If you receive this error message, it means that you are trying to register for more than the total number of credits in a term that the student record system will allow for students in your degree. You can verify the course load regulations for your Faculty in the eCalendar.
Note: If you receive this error message when adding a multi-term course (a "D1/D2" full year course) to your record and you have room in the Fall, it is possible that the "maximum hours exceeded" message refers to your credit load in the Winter term. You must have enough room in both Fall and Winter terms before registering in full-year courses.
Automated registration software
McGill policy forbids the use of software that repeatedly attempts to register for courses. If Minerva detects a cumulative excessive number of registration attempts, or determines that you are excessively attempting to add a course (either with a computer program or manually), you will be blocked from all registration features on Minerva. You will need to contact Service Point at 514-398-7878 to have your registration rights returned, which may take several business days.