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Registration Tips

On this page:

General registration information

Tips on handling registration problems

Verifying your student record

Registration errors (following the Add/Drop Period)

Cancelling your registration

Proof of enrolment


General registration information

All McGill students register through our online system, called Minerva.

Consult the Enrolment Services' website for a comprehensive guide on how to register using Minerva, how to build a class schedule, and how Waitlisting works.

  • Registration opens in June - consult When to register for dates.
  • You must register for at least one course by August 14 to avoid paying a late registration fee.
  • You should register for the full academic year (this includes the Fall and Winter terms) and you should register for courses for both terms in June.
  • SOUSA advisors cannot help you register for courses that are full or restricted, or have other issues (see Tips on handling registration problems below).
  • You can continue to make changes to your course registration (without penalty) until the Add/Drop deadline.
  • Once you have registered, don't forget to activate your McGill email account. All email from your Faculty (SOUSA) advisor will be sent only to your McGill email account.

Minerva does not necessarily prevent students from registering for courses that they should not take. It is your responsibility to be aware of prerequisites, corequisites, restrictions, and faculty regulations that apply to the courses in which you register.

U1 students - select your program before registering

Use Minerva to declare the program(s) that you have chosen. Login to your Minerva account and select Student Menu > Student records menu > Change your primary curriculum"*

Your program choice(s) can be changed later if you change your mind. Once you have declared your program(s), you may then register for your courses.

*Note: Science students who have departmental approval to register for an Honours program should select Honours Degree Program first, and then select the appropriate honours discipline(s) from the drop down menu. All other students will select Degree Program before selecting the appropriate discipline(s) from the drop down menu.

Add/Drop period (Deadline for Fall 2021: September 15)

There is a course change period (knows as the Add/Drop period) during both the fall and the winter terms. You can continue to make changes to your course registration (without penalty) until the Add/Drop deadlines for each term.  This allows you make adjustments to your course selection and to to "shop around" for courses that you may be interested in taking (even if you have not registered for these courses). From the beginning of the term until the end of Add/Drop, you may attend as many courses as your schedule will permit. Review your course syllabi before the end of the add/drop period to help plan your semester and determine what is expected of you in each course.

Use Minerva to add or drop a course (follow the step-by-step instructions). All courses are limited by enrollment; therefore, do not wait until the last minute to register.

Courses dropped during the Add/Drop Period are deleted from your record. Your record will show only the courses in which you are registered after the Add/Drop period. If you drop a course within the deadlines, you will get a refund for the course; if you add a course during this period, you will be charged for the course.

As a freshman program student, you must have your changes approved by the SOUSA Advising Office.

Courses which are cancelled by the University are not automatically deleted from your record; you must access Minerva and delete the course(s).

If you find after the Add/Drop Period that you neglected to add a course, you will be required to make a written appeal to Service Point, requesting that the course(s) be added to your record. You must be able to explain adequately why you were unable to add the course(s) during the Add/Drop Period.

Limited enrolment programs

The following programs are not available for selection on Minerva. Students who wish to register for one of these programs must contact Service Point with the advisor's or faculty's written authorization to have the program added to their record (check the eCalendar for a complete listing):

  • Minor in Management for non-Management students
  • Minor in Marketing for non-Management students
  • Minor in Operations Management for non-Management students
  • Minor in Finance for non-Management students
  • Minor Entrepreneurship for Science Students
  • Minor in Electrical Engineering for Physics students
  • Minor in Minor in Musical Applications of Technology
  • Minor in Musical Science and Technology
  • Minor in Kinesiology

Courses offered outside the faculties of Arts and Science

Please refer to the "Course requirements" information in the eCalendar (B.Sc. section and B.A. & Sc. section) and on this Faculty of Science website (B.Sc. section and B.A. & Sc. section) regarding the number of courses offered by other faculties that you are allowed to take towards your degree requirements. Please note, not all courses offered by other faculties are approved for credit towards your degree requirements, even if you successfully register for them on Minerva. Once course change period is over, such courses will be flagged on your record so that they will not contribute to your credit count or your CGPA.

Desautels Faculty of Management courses

Students registered in programs requiring Management courses (Minor in Management, Minor in Finance, Minor in Marketing, Minor in Operations Management, etc.) may register early in specific courses according to the eCalendar and Important Dates. As all Management courses are limited by enrolment, students in the above programs are strongly encouraged to take advantage of these early registration dates. Please note that, although registration in Management courses opens to all students at a later date (check date here), other course controls may continue to block registration (e.g. prerequisite controls, enrolment caps, faculty restrictions, etc.). You may have to consult with SOUSA and with the Faculty of Management to obtain permission to register.

School of Continuing Studies courses

Please note that courses with section numbers of 751, 761, etc. (as opposed to 001, 002, etc.) are courses offered by the School of Continuing Studies. Early registration in Continuing Studies courses is restricted to students in Continuing Studies programs. Science students can register for Continuing Studies courses at a later date (check dates here).

Summer term registration

Please refer to the Summer Studies Calendar and Important Dates for details.

Exam conflicts

If you notice that two of your midterms are scheduled at the same time, speak to your professors right away to make necessary arrangements – do not wait until the last minute to resolve exam conflicts!

 


Tips on handling registration problems

If you have problems registering for specific courses, be sure to write out the error message before contacting the appropriate office for help. In most instances (e.g. program controls, prerequisites controls, enrolment limits met, etc.) you will need to deal directly with the department offering the course to determine if registration is possible.  Reminder: SOUSA advisors cannot help you register for courses that are full or restricted, or have other 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 .

The Faculty of Science has created a contact list of Program advisors for Science course enrolment issues, but you must read the information below before contacting them.

Note: Always pay attention to "NOTES" that may appear directly below courses in Class Schedule as they may help explain error messages that occur.

Closed Course

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. (If ALL the courses appear closed, verify that you are in the correct term, and not a previous year!) 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" feature 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 email 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.

Reserved 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.

Class Restriction

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.

Program Restriction

This refers to a course that is controlled by program codes; if you are not in an 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 BIOL course which is open only to Biology students. If you have been accepted into a B.Sc. degree (or the BA&SC), and you want to fulfill a Major in Biology, then you must have the program properly entered onto your record to 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 Management course which is only open to students in programs in that faculty. If you plan to apply for the Minor in Management for non-Management students, you will not be able to register for any course with "NOTES" of "Limited by Program" or "For Management students only". You must select courses from those sections and terms that do not have these notes, or from those courses offered by the School of Continuing Studies (sections of 751, 761, etc. instead of sections 001, 002, etc.).

Note: If you opt for a section offered through Continuing Studies you will have to wait until August 15 to access fall courses and December 15 to access winter courses; the periods prior to these dates are for priority access for Continuing Studies students.

Faculty Restriction

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 an Education course you may experience this error message. Please contact the Science Office for Undergraduate Student Advising (SOUSA) Office to explain why you want to register in this course and to obtain further advice on how to proceed.

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 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.

Link Error

This refers to courses (lecture activities) which have other activities "linked" to them 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.

Prerequisite Required

This refers to courses which have prerequisites and/or corequisites that must be satisfied before you can register. There will not always be "NOTES" in 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 calendar what courses are needed prior to registration. The solution to this problem varies depending on (a) whether the prerequisites are clearly on your record with valid grades, or (b) if the prerequisites 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 prerequisite of an introductory statistics course, and you have this course or its equivalent on your record with a grade of "C" or better. Please contact the department administering the course.

(b) An example of a complicated case would be a MATH course that has a prerequisite 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. You must get the course approved using the Course equivalency system.  Consult the Science Undergraduate Handbook chapter on Transfer Credits for detailed information on what kinds of courses are accepted and how to request a course equivalency.

Note: Prerequisite controls normally exist on courses in other faculties (Engineering, Management, Music) so it may be necessary to have that faculty verify that you have suitable prerequisite(s). However, that faculty will not grant you a permit; you must bring written permission (e.g. a Minerva worksheet) from that faculty to the SOUSA Office for processing.

Maximum Hours Exceeded

This refers to the total number of credits in a term that the student record system will allow students to register in. New students are expected to register for a normal load of 15 credits but may register for up to 17 at any given time to allow for later adding and dropping as the student makes decisions on which courses to keep and which to give up. If you receive this error message it is because you are trying to add a course with a credit weight which will place you over 17 credits in the fall or winter term. Note: It is strongly recommended that new students not exceed 15 credits per term.

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.

 


Verifying your student record

The purpose of verification is to ensure formally the accuracy of all student information. This includes program and course information, as well as personal information such as mailing and home addresses.

Students are responsible for ensuring that all information on their record is accurate. Inaccurate program or course registration may jeopardize graduation.

To verify your record check the following:

Once you have checked all of these points, if you have any problems or questions come to the Information Counter, SOUSA.

 


Registration errors

Before the end of the Add/Drop Period for each term all students must use Minerva to check their course registration. Students should ensure that they are correctly registered in all courses they wish to complete. Students who notice errors in registration after deadlines have passed may request that the error be corrected. However, as students are responsible for checking their registration before published deadlines, normally only one correction is permitted per student during his/her academic career. Correcting a record when a registration error has been made is costly both in time and money, and in some instances may not be possible at all.

To request the correction of a registration error, students must submit an appeal to Service Point. the course registration form must be completed by the student and the course instructor(s), and there is a charge for each change that is made to a student record. In addition, the request to make the correction may be refused (if registration errors have been approved in previous terms) or may be submitted too late to be considered at all. Requests to correct registration errors must be made within one month of term end; requests made after this period may not be possible to approve even with a valid explanation and proper approval(s) from professor(s).

Procedure:

  • Obtain the Form to Correct Errors in Course Registration from Service Point , 3415 McTavish St.
  • Write a letter in which you explain clearly and concisely why you are making this request. Include the following information:
    • when you started and/or stopped attending the class
    • whether you tried making these changes yourself, and if so, when.
  • Take your letter and the form to your course instructor(s) and have the instructor(s) complete the appropriate areas of the form. Instructors are asked to indicate whether the student has been attending the course and, in the case of the addition of the course to a student record, whether the student will be permitted to register late.
  • Take the letter and the form to Service Point.

Note: Courses are not removed from the student's record when a registration error is corrected. A withdrawal from the course is granted.

 


Cancelling your registration

If you decide not to return to McGill in September or January after you have registered, drop all your courses on Minerva or submit a written request to cancel your registration.

In your letter include your McGill student number and your signature. Enclose your McGill student ID card and forward it to the following address:

Service Point, Enrolment Services
McGill University
3415 McTavish St.
Montreal, Quebec, Canada, H3A 1Y1

Fax: 514-398-5544
Phone: 514-398-7878

Please check with Service Point for the deadline to cancel your registration. If you drop all courses or your request is received by this date, your registration will be deleted from our records and no administrative charge will be assessed. After this date you may still drop all your courses on Minerva but a minimum administrative charge is assessed.

 


Proof of enrolment

If you need a document confirming that you are registered as a student at McGill, you can download a proof of enrolment letter from Minerva. In some cases, you may need to visit Service Point to obtain additional documentation. For more information, head to mcgill.ca/student-records.

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