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Admission to Courses

Instructors are not required to hold spaces for students who do not attend the first class meeting and may refuse admission to students seeking to add courses who have not attended the first class meeting.

Course Program/Minimum Semester Course Load

The normal course program (course load) for traditional-aged undergraduates consists of 16 credits taken in each of eight semesters at Smith. Only with the approval of the academic board may a student complete her degree requirements in fewer or more than eight semesters. The minimum course load for a traditional-aged undergraduate in any semester is 12 credits. Students may not use their free drop if it results in dropping below the minimum 12-credit program. A traditional-aged student who is enrolled in fewer than 12 credits in any semester will be administratively withdrawn by the Academic Board at the end of that semester. In such cases, the student must remain away from the college for at least one semester and may then apply to return to Smith. Seniors are expected to enroll in the minimum 12-credit program whether or not the credits are needed for graduation.

Approved summer session or interterm credit may be used to supplement a minimum 12-credit load or to make up a shortage of credits. Please see "Transfer Credit Limits" and related sections below for detailed information regarding transfer credit policies and maximums.

Ada Comstock Scholars can enroll in a minimum of 8 credits each semester but must be enrolled in 12 credits if they are in campus housing.

Enrollment in Five College courses: Traditional students are required to take at least half their credits (8 credits) on campus; Adas are required to take half of their total credits on Smith campus. Traditional students enrolled in a reduced course program are still required to take at least 8 credits on campus.

A student may carry no more than 24 credits per semester, unless approved by the Academic Board. A student studying on a Smith Program Abroad (Florence, Geneva, Hamburg, or Paris) may earn no more than 40 credits for the academic year.


Registration changes cannot be made by the student or registrar if there are outstanding financial or health holds. Students should contact the office that has placed the hold to resolve it before attempting to regsiter or make registration changes.

Maximum Credits During Registration

During early registration (April and November), students may register for up to 19 credits. Additional credits, up to a maximum of 24, may be added during the add/drop period at the beginning of the semester. Students are encouraged to register for only those classes that they fully intend to complete.

Students may not register for classes that conflict with other classes on their schedule. Sixteen (16) credits is considered the maximum load for students on academic probation, unless approved by the class dean and academic adviser.

Online Add/Drop Period

Students may add courses online for the first five days of classes only. In the second week of classes, a student must obtain the instructor's permission via a course eligibility waiver to add, even if there are open seats in the class. Students may continue to drop courses online through the full two-week add/drop period. Students may add or drop a course through the third week of classes, with approval of the instructor, as well as their faculty adviser and class dean with an add form.

Permission Required/Registration by Waitlist

Courses that require the instructor's permission are indicated as being "Permission Required/Registration by Waitlist." Students wishing to add a permission required course during registration (April and November) should add themselves to the waitlist for the course if they meet the eligibility criteria. If approved for registration, the instructor will notify the registrar's office to have approved students registered. Instructors are not required to hold spaces for students who do not attend the first class meeting.

During Add/Drop all courses that require the instructor's permission are indicated as being "Permission/Waiver Required." Students wishing to add a permission required course during Add/Drop (September and January) can add themselves to the waitlist but they must initiate a Course Eligibility Waiver to obtain instructor approval.


A student who has not completed the prerequisite for a course may register with the permission of the instructor and department chair. If admitted, students must submit a Course Eligibility Waiver form to the registrar's office by the end of add/drop.

The registrar's office does not enforce online checking of all course prerequisites. Students are informed that they may enroll in courses without the stated prerequisites only by permission of the instructor and department chair. Instructors should verify at the first class meeting that students have met the stated prerequisites.

Registration While on Leave

Students who are away from campus for off-campus study or personal leave are permitted to register during the November and April registration periods for the semester in which they plan to return. Students will have advising holds and will need to have them lifted by their adviser before being able to register.

Consultation with the adviser upon return to campus to review course selections is suggested. It is the responsibility of both the student and adviser to plan a course program that will lead to successful completion of all degree requirements.

Information on registration for students on leave will be sent prior to the November and April registration periods.


Open by permission to juniors, seniors and graduate students only. First years and sophomores may not enroll except by permission of the academic board. Registration for seminars requires the permission of the instructor. See permission courses section above.

Special Studies/Advanced Studies

A special studies is a course you design with a member of the Smith or Five College faculty* and is open by instructor permission.

*Five College special studies also require submission of a Five College request in Workday.

Registration requires the approval of the instructor. Submit an approved Special/Advanced Studies form to the registrar's office by the end of the fifth day of classes.


A special studies form must be typed and printed for signature approval before submitting to the registrar's office. Hand written forms are not accepted. Emailed forms are accepted with either the signature on the form or an email approval from the instructor.

Credit Rules

Each department has different options for the number of credits available for a special studies. Credits should be determined in consultation with the instructor based on work to be completed. The number of credits in a special studies cannot be changed once it has begun. You may earn up to 16 special studies credits during your time at Smith.

Grading Option

You may use the Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (S/U) option for a special studies if the instructor approves. The S/U option must be declared with the change of grading option form before the S/U deadline.


If a course is closed or all available unreserved seats (for which the student qualifies) are filled, a student may add their name to the waitlist. Waitlists are used by instructors to fill open spaces at the start of the semester; students are not automatically registered as spaces become available.

During the add/drop period at the start of the semester, instructors will admit students according to their selected criteria. Students approved by the instructor to register for the course or to be admitted from the waitlist must initiate a Course Eligibility Waiver by the end of the add/drop period. After the Course Eligibility Waiver is approved by the instructor the registrar's office is notified and will complete the registration.

Students planning to enroll in a course in which they are not currently registered, including waitlisted students, must attend the first class meeting; otherwise they will not be guaranteed a place in the course.

Instructors can view their waitlists on the Workday Course Section Roster. Waitlists are not final until entering students have completed registration just before the semester begins. Waitlists are for the information of the instructor. The instructor will determine what criteria are appropriate for selecting students for the course. Instructors who wish to deny enrollment should not approve the Course Eligibility Waiver. Instructors wishing to drop students for failure to attend should contact the registrar's office.

Course Eligibility Waiver Form

The Course Eligibility Waiver form is used during November and April registration and during Add/Drop for the following reasons:

  1. To be enrolled in a course from the waitlist (Add/Drop)
  2. To be enrolled in a course that requires permission (Add/Drop)
  3. To be enrolled in a course for which the student does not meet the Course Eligibility (enforced prerequisites and/or major restrictions).
    • Waiving of enforced pre-requisites require permission of both the instructor and department chair
    • Class year restrictions for special studies and seminars must be reviewed by petition to the administrative board

The Course Eligibility form is available on the forms page.