Course availability: your questions, answered

Course availability

We’ve noticed quite a few of you have raised questions recently on social media about course availability and our registration process. Below is a compendium of the most frequently asked questions we’ve seen, with answers. 

Q: It seems like there are less and less courses being offered every year. What’s going on?

A: Given the specialized nature of OCAD U, restrictions on space, and availability of faculty, there are a limited number of sections that can be offered at any one time.

We plan the number of courses and sections to align with anticipated enrolment. Over the past few years, enrolment has been declining in some programs, hence you might see fewer courses or sections offered. Because of the small size of studio classes, OCAD U has to be very careful in the number of classes we offer to stay within budget.

Additionally, some courses are quite specialized and not taught every academic term, or even every year, depending on the availability of faculty members. Our faculty are artists and designers with professional practices. Sometimes they take leaves or go on research sabbaticals.

Q: How does OCAD U make sure there’s enough spaces in all required courses for the students who need them, especially to graduate?

A: All students can be assured they will have access to the courses that are mandatory for the program. We carefully monitor enrolments in courses and adjust throughout the summer to ensure required courses have enough space.

Q: Why does almost every class I have planned have a waitlist?

A: Some sections do fill up quickly. This can reflect a popular elective, time of day, etc. Often there are other sections of the same course (in Winter, rather than Fall, for example) that have open seats so we encourage students to look at those alternatives. The waiting lists do move daily throughout the summer as students change their course selections, opening up spots for others.

Q: What is the process for opening up new sections of courses if there’s a lot of demand?

A: Your Faculty office is monitoring and will add sections when there is enough demand, especially if it is a required course (e.g. thesis).

Q: How do I find out that new sections have been created?

A: We try to notify students on waitlists by email first that a new section has been opened so that they can register in the new section. So check your student email frequently! However, once the section has been added, it is first-come, first-served for eligible students, so you are advised to check frequently.

Q: Who should I talk to about getting access to a required, mandatory course?

A: If you are on a waitlist and you have not been offered a seat by the week before classes start, contact your Faculty office. They will help make arrangements, often by adding you to an existing section.

Q: What should I do if all the courses required for my minor (e.g. Social Sciences) are waitlisted?

A: We do not offer priority registration for courses that are part of a minor. However, many of these courses are offered frequently and if you can’t get into it this semester, you can try to get it the following semester.

Q: What is the typical response time I can expect from the Registrar’s office to my email?

A: The Office of the Registrar will respond within 48 hours – often earlier.

Q: I need to get into two, consecutive required courses, one in the Fall term and the next in Winter. The Fall course is waitlisted, which prevents me from registering in the Winter course. How do I make sure I get into both courses?

A: You can’t, until you’ve registered into in the Fall course. Contact your Faculty office about the spot you need in any required courses.

Q: Why is my course registration date based on my number of completed credits?

A: Registration is staggered to moderate load on the system so that it can operate efficiently (and not crash!). Senior students are given first access because they are closer to graduation and have greater needs related to required courses.

Q: Why are so many courses in the catalogue not offered?

A: We keep all active courses (those that have been offered in the last few years) visible to you so that you can plan ahead if there is something you are particularly interested in. Some courses are intentionally offered every two years. To view courses currently offered, use the Term filter (i.e. either choose 2019 Fall or 2020 Winter). Then, to see sections with available space, check Availability: Open Sections.

Q: Is there a chance my class will be cancelled?

A: Occasionally, classes with low enrolment (usually less than 15) are cancelled as a budgetary measure. If this happens, you will be notified and you need to find an alternative course that has availability.

Got a question you don’t see answered here? Let us know with a comment.