Skip to Main Content

Registration & Course Enrollment

Registration and Course Enrollment Policies

Students are required to register for courses during periods which are officially designated for registration unless they have been authorized to make other arrangements by the dean of the college in which they are matriculated. Non-matriculated students are permitted to enroll for course loads only as specified by their conditions of admission and must comply with the policies (below) concerning semester course loads and reduced load status.

Semester-RegistrationSemester Registration

First time students are strongly encouraged to register in person. Returning students are required to register during the designated registration periods. They have satisfied the registration requirement when they have paid the required tuition and fees and have complied with the course drop and add process.

Students who pre-register for courses for which they subsequently fail to satisfy prerequisites must initiate changes of registration during the add-drop period. Students are not enrolled in classes for which they are not properly registered.

Student schedules are available through the university’s self-service website. Students who believe that errors have been made in their registrations should consult with the Office of the Registrar prior to the deadline for adding courses. Students who do not check their schedule and, accordingly, fail to correct scheduling errors by established deadlines may not expect to have University regulations waived for their benefit.

Course Additions

Students who wish to add a course during the first five days of classes may do so in person at the Office of the Registrar or through self-service.

Dropped Courses

A student who wishes to drop a course may do so in person at the Office of the Registrar or through student self-service during the first ten days of classes.*

There are only two cases for which a drop is not necessary:

1.  if the course is cancelled by the University; or
2.  if courses (or sections) carry no credit and will not appear on their transcript

*Courses dropped during the first ten days of classes will not show on the permanent record. Courses dropped from the eleventh to the fiftieth day of class will be assigned a grade of W and will appear on the permanent record.

Courses Cancelled by the University

Students are not required to drop courses or sections that are cancelled by the University. If students wish to replace a cancelled course with another, they must follow the procedures above for course additions. 

Semester-Course-LoadsSemester Course Loads

The typical course load expectation for full-time students is 15 credits. Professional curricula may specify credits in excess of this number, in which case such specifications are regarded as regular course loads.

Maximum Credit Loads

Students may enroll for course loads in excess of 15 credits but are advised that course loads in excess of the number of credits specified by recommended courses of study may not be in their academic interests when their grade-point averages are less than 3.000.

Unless specified as part of an established course of study, course loads in excess of 15 credits are recommended for enrichment purposes only and should be taken as no-credit courses. In any event, a student is prohibited from registering for course loads in excess of 20 credits unless such loads are required by established University curricula or unless special permission has been granted by the dean of the college in which the student has established matriculation.

Students who are enrolled in curricula which do not require a semester course load in excess of 20 credits and who wish to obtain permission to carry such an overload must file an academic petition with the dean of the college in which they have established matriculation. Students who register for course loads in excess of 20 credits (including continuing studies courses) without the prior authorization of the dean of the college in which they have established matriculation will not receive credit for more than 20 credits per semester, and the college dean will determine which course(s) shall receive the administrative symbol of Y. Permission to carry course loads in excess of stated maxima will be denied when resources of a college or program render it necessary to establish limitations on course enrollments.

Minimum Credit Loads

Matriculating students are classified as full-time when they carry the course credit load in University day programs that is specified by their curricula. Full-time students are required to register for a minimum of 12 credits of day courses each semester. Please note that students who are approved through Disability Services for a reduced course load in accordance with the American Disabilities Act (ADA) will be exempt from the 12 credit minimum to be considered full time.

UMass Lowell instruction is scheduled during standard 15-week fall and spring semester terms. During the summer/winter terms varying shorter length special programs are available and may be considered as the equivalent to full-time status for the specific time period within a session. This is for enrollment purposes only.

The credit-hour policy, a statement of what students will learn is necessary if credit is based on a demonstration by the student of learning equivalent to that established as the expected product of a period of study corresponding to a time-based credit-hour assignment. The credit-hour standard for the course, and the way that the credit-hour standard is achieved, are communicated to students as part of the course syllabus or equivalent documentation.

Please note: Financial aid, veterans’ benefits or other types of aid define 12 credits for full-time study during the fall/spring terms. The grid below displays how the credit hour is met with shorter time sessions over the summer/winter.

# of Week(s)# Credit Hour(s)# Calculated Credit Hour Needed
11 credit45
22 credits90
33 credits135
44 credits180
55 credits225
66 credits270

Summer Pathway Programs

International students in a Pathway program will be considered to be in full-time status for the summer at nine credits, for a 10-12 week summer session. This refers to pathway programs without any English Language instruction.

International students in a Pathway program which consists of mixed content of English Language Instruction and Coursework - Number of credit hours per term will depend on how many English as a Second Language (ESL) clock hours are assigned due to student’s level of English proficiency. The program will always be full-time between credit and clock hours until student graduates out of the ESL Pathways program.  Typically, students undertake six credit hours in combination with a minimum of a nine clock-hour program. Approximately 15 instructional hours per week are required in total.

International students in a English as a Second Language (ESL) Instruction program -  These students are required to be enrolled in a minimum of 18 clock hours of language instruction. They may take additional Non-Credit related courses, above the 18 clock hours of language instruction. They cannot take Language and credit bearing courses, whether it be a pre-requisite or otherwise. Instructor is required to maintain regular attendance records and be able to provide them upon request.

Part-time Enrollment

A student enrolled on a part-time basis is charged by the credit hour for tuition and all applicable fees.

Students enrolled on a part-time basis should understand that part-time enrollment may have an impact on financial aid and on eligibility for insurance through non-University agencies. Students who enroll for fewer than six credits may be required to begin repayment of student loans. Varsity athletes and international students on I-20 permits must enroll for a minimum of 12 credits per semester and may not be part-time students. See summer session exception for students who are registered in a minimum of 6 credits during an accelerated term (summer I or summer II).

DeadlineDeadline for Changes of Course Enrollment Status

The last day for students to add a course is the fifth day of class of the semester. To change sections within a course, and to change enrollment status from audit to credit or from credit to audit and from pass-no credit to letter grade or from letter grade to pass-no credit is the tenth class day of the semester. The last day for dropping a course with a course notation of W is the fiftieth class day of the semester. Students dropping a course during this time are charged full tuition and fees.