Enrollment Policies

The College residential and curricular experience is predicated on the community that students build by attending classes together and by learning from faculty and each other in academic and social settings. We believe that successful education at the college level depends to a large extent on regular attendance at classes and laboratories and therefore it is the expectation of the College that students will attend all classes for which they have registered. Nevertheless, it is up to the individual department, faculty member or instructor, to set the attendance policy for their individual courses.

All students enroll in the general education curriculum, designed with the expectation that in the first two years of study a student will complete general education requirements and introductory courses in a major. The final two years of enrollment are devoted to advanced work in the major and elective courses that build on the foundation laid in the first two years.

In order to engage in this structured plan, students must register full time (with three or four courses) in each quarter of the standard academic year (autumn, winter, spring). Full-time registration allows for completion of the core and introductory courses to the major, and enables students to participate fully in the intellectual life of the College. As young scholars, students test their understanding and perspective across all disciplines in conversation with peers. The community that develops in Housing and in co-curricular student life builds on students’ common experiences in learning and in exploring beyond the classroom. Further, the elements of the Core curriculum provide cross-disciplinary perspectives on enduring questions and create the habits of mind that prepare students for advanced studies.

Understanding College Enrollment

    It is the expectation of the College that students will attend all classes for which they have registered. Nevertheless, it is up to the individual department, faculty member or instructor, to set the attendance policy for their individual courses. Students should keep in mind that attendance at the first class is required in many courses to confirm enrollment. The academic calendar can be found at Many courses will automatically drop students who do not attend the first class meeting or even the entire first week of class meetings.

    A full-time course load is three or four courses per quarter; the tuition is the same in either case. Over the typical four-year program (twelve quarters), a student normally registers for at least six 400-unit quarters and as many as six 300-unit quarters. Students are expected to register for a full-time course load Autumn, Winter, and Spring quarters, i.e., 300 or 400 units per quarter, throughout their undergraduate career.

    Students are not allowed to take 500 units except in very limited situations in their final year of registration. To do so, students should discuss this with their adviser and petition the Dean of Students in the College if applicable.

    Although students may progress at varying rates toward the degree, no student may register for more than twelve quarters without the permission of the Dean of Students in the College. Transfer students may be expected to finish their requirements in fewer quarters, as outlined in the College Catalog. Note that no student may enroll in more than thirteen quarters.

    Ordinarily, students may not enroll in courses whose class time overlaps given the expectation that all students attended courses for which they receive credit. However, in some cases, simultaneous enrollment may be permitted with the permission of both instructors and the approval of the Dean of Students in the College. Please note that students may never enroll themselves in courses with time overlaps through the registration system, even with an instructor’s online consent. A paper consent form will always be required.

    In order to make satisfactory progress toward the degree, in 12 quarters a student must complete the required 4200 units by taking six quarters at a three-course load and six quarters at a four-course load. Accreditation, AP, and IB exams, as well as transfer credits or credits earned during the summer session, may affect these numbers.

    In certain limited circumstances, students who need an additional quarter of enrollment to complete their primary major may submit a petition to the Dean of Students. Petitions will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Ordinarily, petitions for an additional quarter of enrollment will not be considered to complete a secondary major or minor. Note: summer quarters do not count toward the twelve quarters of enrollment policy. Students ordinarily do not need to request permission for an additional summer quarter of enrollment.

    Students who have been provided with a written accommodation by the University's Student Disability Services Office, allowing for enrollment in three courses per quarter for more than six quarters, may also be eligible for additional quarters in which to complete their 4200 units. In such cases students must petition the Dean of Students Office and receive approval in advance (ordinarily during spring quarter of the student's second year).

    When a student repeats a course, both courses appear on the student’s transcript and both grades are averaged into the student’s GPA. However, only one registration for the course counts toward the total number of credits required for graduation.

    In the quarter that a course is repeated, students on financial aid must register for 300 units in addition to the repeated course unless (1) a failing grade was received in a course that a student needs to meet general education requirements or requirements in their major (2) the student’s major mandates a higher grade than was previously received.

    Advanced undergraduates may register for courses in the following professional schools at the University of Chicago: Booth School of Business, the Law School, the Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice, the Irving B. Harris Graduate School of Public Policy Studies, and the Toyota Technological Institute. For details visit Registering for Courses.

    Current students in the College may take certain courses at other institutions and transfer these credits back to the University of Chicago, provided the coursework follows the College's transfer guidelines. Beginning in Autumn Quarter 2020, courses taken at U.S. institutions, if they are similar to courses offered at the University of Chicago, are ordinarily not eligible for transfer credit. To be eligible, the course should offer a special opportunity that cannot be pursued at the University of Chicago. Such courses must follow the eligibility guidelines listed below, as applicable. A “special opportunity” is an exceptional circumstance; accordingly, only a small number of such petitions will be approved.

    For incoming transfer students, information can be found in the College Catalog under the Transfer Student page.

    Grades for courses taken elsewhere do not contribute to the official College grade point average and therefore do not affect eligibility for Dean’s List, general, or departmental honors. Only institution name, year(s) of attendance, and the number of transfer credits approved appear on the University of Chicago transcript. It is likely that an applicant to graduate school or a scholarship will be asked to produce transcripts from all institutions attended.

    Procedures for Transfer Credit Approval

    • Discuss plans to transfer courses with your College adviser before registering for the course(s) in question.
    • Petition the College for approval before classes begin. If you are petitioning to count a course as a general education requirement, or for your major or minor, there are additional considerations. Please submit your petition for transfer credit online at Petitions must include course information as well as copies of course descriptions or (preferably) syllabi. Petitions that are incomplete or do not include appropriate documentation will be returned.
    • When a decision has been reached, the online petition will be updated and you will receive an email with the outcome of the review and next steps, if applicable. Expect to wait up to two to three weeks for a decision, depending on the time of year.
    • Once the pre-approved course work is complete, request an official transcript be sent to your College adviser at the University of Chicago, 1116 E. 59th St., Chicago, IL 60637-1513. You may also send a secure electronic copy of your transcript directly to your adviser instead. The telephone number is 773-702-8615. Credit cannot be posted until your transcript has been received. Should course plans change after pre-approval, contact your College adviser immediately.

    See the College Catalog for the full set of rules and guidelines for transfer credit. Students are encouraged to discuss both the petition process and course selection with their College adviser.