Department of Chemistry

Laboratory Enrollment FAQ

Spring 2015 Lab Update:
  •     Deadline for enrolling and resolving issues: Wednesday, December 17, 2014.

Important Highlights

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

General Information & Dates How Lab Enrollment Is Managed Details About SIS Permissions What if...? Other Questions

Spring 2015 Lab Update:
  •     Deadline for enrolling and resolving issues: Wednesday, December 17, 2014.

General Information & Dates

  • Q. When does undergraduate registration begin?
    A. Please see the Registration Information page from the Registrar's Office, particularly the Appointment Dates. We encourage you to register as soon as possible.

  • Q. When can I begin planning my schedule?
    A. The Schedule of Classes becomes available to preview a number of weeks before registration opens (February 1 for the following summer/fall, October 1 for spring). We strongly encourage students to use that time to plan their personal schedules, address any academic or financial holds, anticipate potential conflicts (including other labs, sports, employment, etc), and notify the department of any possible issues. It is much more difficult to resolve problems after registration begins.

  • Q. What is the procedure for enrolling when a course has SIS flags (e.g. Requisites Not Met or Time Conflict)?
    A. Please see the SIS Student FAQ and User Guides for step-by-step instructions on how to make a request. Permission must be granted by the instructor or a department representative to override or allow any of the following SIS flags: Instructor Consent, Closed Class, Requisites Not Met, Time Conflict, or Career Restriction.

  • Q. Which courses use a waiting list?
    A. Waiting lists will NOT be implemented for the indefinite future. All labs use standard enrollment. Please register ASAP on your appointment date, and contact us if there are any problems. [Previously we used waiting lists for CHEM 233/234, CHEM 304, and CHEM 305/332]

  • Q. When does registration end?
    A. We ask that you resolve all outstanding issues and enroll by the date listed on this page in red. This extra time will help us plan and prepare the laboratory. The absolute last day to register for any course (without special approval from a Dean) is 2 weeks after the start of classes (the "Drop-Add Period"), as listed on the Academic Calendar. However, our lab courses will certainly be full before then, so don't delay. The sooner you enroll, the better.

How Lab Enrollment Is Managed

  • Q. How does the department determine seniority?
    A. We refer to the "admit term" and "expected graduation term" fields listed in SIS. Please make sure these are correct and up-to-date through Undergraduate Studies, especially if you are a graduating senior.

  • Q. Why are there only a limited number of enrollment seats?
    A. Our teaching laboratories are among the most expensive and resource-intensive courses at the university. We are constrained by limits including budget, physical space, instrumentation, lab drawers, glassware, TAs, technical staff, safety equipment and safety protocol, and the availability of instructors. Whereas a lecture course can move to a larger room, the labs have dedicated rooms of a fixed size. Therefore, there must be enrollment caps. However, we understand that labs are a core part of many majors, so we strive to accommodate as many students as possible.

  • Q. There seem to be a different number of seats that I expected. Why is that?
    A. Sometimes we deliberately reserve a few seats, because seniors notified us that they will enroll late due to financial holds, transfer credits, and other factors outside the department's control. Sometimes the budget allows us to buy new instruments, which means more students can complete their experiments simultaneously. Sometimes we are able to repurpose drawers or bench space so there is more room. We reserve the right to change the number of seats at any time, if needed, though we try to keep those changes minimal. Seniors, please enroll right away; we cannot guarantee that any reserved seats will not be occupied quickly.

Details About SIS Permissions

  • Q. Can I enroll in one section, but request another?
    A. Please try to avoid this, as it clutters SIS and makes our work more difficult. You should be scheduling your labs first, and then choosing other courses to fit the remaininder of your week. See also the answer for switching sections.

  • Q. Which checkboxes (flags) should I mark on a request?
    A. The Registrar's Permissions page explains what each box means. Please choose them carefully so that you do not omit necessary permissions or accidentally mark extra ones. Incorrect or inappropriate requests can delay your enrollment!

    Consent Required - Only mark this specifically if the lack of consent prevents you from enrolling. SIS should prompt you.
    Closed Class - Only mark this if instructed to do so. It will usually be denied otherwise.
    Requisites Not Met - Please see the more detailed answer below.
    Time Conflict - This will almost always be denied, since it's physically impossible to be in two places at once.
    Career Restriction - Only mark this if you have been instructed to do so by a department or dean.

  • Q. What exactly are pre-requsites and co-requisites?
    A. Pre-requisites are courses that must be completed before enrolling in a chosen course. Co-requisites must be completed in the same semester as the chosen course or sooner. However, if a lecture course is marked as a co-requisite to a lab course, we will often allow the lecture to be completed in advance (but not the other way around). That's because there's no harm in having extra knowledge before a lab, but the potential for harm if students are inadequately prepared.

  • Q. I would like to request a "requisites not met" permission. What should I know about it?
    A. This may be our most common request. Please check your course history first! From there you have three possibilities:

    • If you have completed the listed requisites and SIS acknowledges them, then you do not need permission. Making a request would be inaccurate and could only delay enrollment.
    • If you have in fact completed the requisites for the course but SIS does not recognize them, please contact the offices of Undergraduate Studies, Graduate Studies, or the Registrar about the error as appropriate. They are responsible for correcting it.
    • If you have NOT completed the requsites for a course but wish to enroll anyway, please first provide the instructor with other supporting materials (syllabus for equivalent course, letter of recommendation from a lab supervisor, etc). The chemistry office will NOT grant this permission until the instructor approves of your preparation and notifies us, so please seek instructor approval right away!

  • Q. When will my permission be granted?
    A. That depends upon the request. These are exemptions, and require time for instructor or department review. Since there are so many possibilities, we have to review permissions individually, and therefore we cannot provide a time estimate in advance.

  • Q. How will I know when someone responds to my request?
    A. SIS sends you an automatic email when your request is granted, denied, or revoked.

  • Q. Does a granted permission mean I am enrolled?
    A. No. Once permission is granted, you still must log into SIS to enroll. The automatic email from SIS should remind you of this.

What if...?

  • Q. What if SIS says the course is open? May I just take one of the seats right away?
    A. If there are no holds on your account (financial, advising, etc.) and no SIS flags preventing you from enrolling, go right ahead!

  • Q. What if I cannot enroll due to a financial hold?
    A. The Registrar's Office will not allow you to enroll if you have outstanding financial obligations to the university. Please take care of this before registration if at all possible. If you expect it to affect you after registration opens, please contact the department right away.

  • Q. What if I am enrolling for the fall semester but completing the requisites during the summer?
    A. Fall registration begins in April, but some students wish to complete requisites over the summer. Unfortunately we cannot grant the "requistes not met" permission for fall labs in advance, on the assumption that you will truly attend and pass those summer courses. To do so would not be fair to other students. Instead, please wait until the requisites are finished, usually by early August. Once your credit is recorded in SIS, you should be able to enroll without any permission requests.

  • Q. What if my preferred section is closed?
    A. Sometimes one particular lab section is in greater demand by seniors (or even juniors), and there is no space left for underclassmen. Unfortunately, there is not much we can do. We suggest you enroll in any open section, even if it means changing your schedule. Please see also switching sections and last chance enrollment. Note: Early morning (8:30 AM) sections usually have the least demand, so you will have the most luck if your schedule can accommodate that.

  • Q. What if all sections fill up before I can enroll?
    A. In that case, we strongly enourage you to take the course in a later semester, when you have greater seniority (and therefore an earlier enrollment appointment). Please also note that CHEM 233 and 234 are usually offered in the summer. The summer sessions are more intensive (an entire semester is packed into 4 or 5 weeks), but past students have generally indicated a positive experience.

  • Q. What if I am enrolled, but I want to switch sections?
    A. Please try your best to avoid switching sections, since it is not well-supported. SIS will not allow you to enroll in two sections of the same course at once. But if you drop a section from your schedule, your seat could be taken by another student almost immediately; there's no guarantee of reclaiming the seat. Therefore we strongly recommend that you select carefully when you enroll, and then remain in your chosen section, even if that means altering or delaying other courses in your schedule. See also: last chance enrollment.

  • Q. What if I am a graduate, transfer, or non-degree student?
    A. You must speak with Undergraduate Admissions and Undergraduate Studies offices to confirm your eligibility to enroll. You will likely get an appointment to register with the undergraduate seniors, if not sooner. Please also contact us ASAP to clarify your status; otherwise, we may assume your lack of graduation date makes you a 1st year undergrad!

  • Q. What if I am permanently leaving the university before my senior year?
    A. Please notify us of the semester you are planning to leave. We can work with you individually to find a seat in the lab.

  • Q. What if I wait until after the deadline to notify the department of an issue?
    A. After the posted deadline (in red), further issues will be postponed so our staff can focus on other tasks. Remaining issues will likely be addressed in late August, near the start of classes.

Other Questions

  • Q. What is Last Chance Enrollment?
    A. Oddly enough, a small percentage of students enroll but do not show up for the lab on the first week of classes. If you attend check-ins, you may be able to take one of the empty seats left by the missing students. We're calling this "last chance". Ask the instructor to mark down your name on the attendance sheet, and we can issue you a permission override so you can enroll thereafter. However, this only works if there are empty seats, so we can offer no guarantees of placement. Please do not rely on this method! If in doubt, attend class.

  • Q. Can I just email or call someone? Why do I have to use SIS?
    A. Please help us avoid unecessary calls and emails, by checking for answers through the Registrar's Office first. As policy, all permission requests must be made through SIS, since it can be difficult to gather the relevant information via email. For other issues, please see below.

  • Q. Who can I contact?
    A. If your lab enrollment concerns were not addressed elsewhere on the page, please call or email Brian Brauchler (chemistry undergrad affairs). Please only contact the instructor if it is appropriate; they generally do not oversee enrollment for the large labs (CHEM 113, 233, 234, 304, 305, or 332).

Spring 2015 Lab Update:
  •     Deadline for enrolling and resolving issues: Wednesday, December 17, 2014.