Course Enrollment

Information about Enrollment in Undergraduate Economics Courses

Head GSI

The Head GSI for the Department of of Economics is Preston Mui. You can email him at If you have a question about enrollment procedures, you should email the Head GSI, rather than the faculty or GSI for the course. They will likely just forward you onto the Head GSI anyways. While the Head GSI cannot directly alter enrollments, the head GSI can help answer questions and point students to the correct resource.

The Head GSI for the Department is not the same person as the Head GSI for Econ-1 or Econ-100A.

The Head GSI and the Econ 1 Head GSI will hold office hours to handle enrollment questions during the beginning of the semester. For Fall 2019, they will be held in Evans 548 each day August 27th, 2019 from 10am to 1pm, and from August 28th, 2019, to September 9th, 2019 (except September 2nd, which is a holiday), from 9am to 5pm. Afterwards, this is by appointment.

Phase I Enrollment Restrictions

All upper division economics courses are restricted to declared majors only during Phase I (except ECON 100A and ECON 100B). Undecleared students and students from other majors should put themselves on the waitlist during Phase I. Students will be enrolled on a space available basis during Phase II and the Adjustment Period. We strongly recommend all declared Economics majors officially enroll in their economics courses during Phase I to ensure a seat in their classes. If you do not select economics courses in Phase I, you may not be able to add those courses in Phase II or the Adjustment Period. Having intention, or plans, to declare the major do not grant Phase I access, you must be officially declared an Economics major.

Attendance Policies

The Department has a mandatory section attendance policy during the first week of class. The reason for this policy is to encourage students who do not intend to enroll in a course to drop the course as soon as possible.

For Fall 2019, from you must attend any and all Economics sections you are enrolled* in from Wednesday, August 28th to Tuesday, September 3rd. Failure to attend these sections puts you at risk of being automatically dropped from the course. If you cannot attend a section but intend to stay enrolled in the course, let the GSI teaching the section know ASAP. If you switch sections during this period, please email both the GSI for the sections you are switching from and to and notify them.

* If you are waitlisted for the course you are exempt from this requirement.

Impacted Courses

Please be aware that some of our courses are very popular and are difficult to get into. Courses that are commonly impacted are Econ-140, Econ-141, Econ-136, and Econ-138. The probability of getting off of the waitlist into these courses is low. We do not expand courses to accommodate more students -- if we could do that, we would have done it already.

Applying for a Permission Number

For students who require an exemption to the waitlist procedure, the Department reserves a small number Permission Numbers (PNs) for seats in most courses for these circumstances. If you would like to apply for one of these seats, visit the Head GSI Office at Evans 548, ideally in the first week of class and definitely before the end of the second week. You must apply in person.

The Department is very strict about who we give these reserved seats to. The following reasons will not work:

  • You would like to take the course
  • The course works better for your schedule
  • The course is related to your interests, or is required for your employment
  • The course is required for graduation or your major, but it would be possible for you to take it in the future
  • The course is required for graduation or your major, but it would be possible to fill this requirement with a different course
  • You would like to graduate early
  • You need credits to graduate, and would like to use this course to fill those credits
  • You are an Economics Major (the Major grants you Phase I access, but not waitlist priority; there are many other Economics majors on the waitlist)

All of these reasons are tantamount to simply wanting to take the course--there are other students on the waitlist with similar reasons to take the course.

Please note that our seats are reserved in certain sections, so you must make sure that the seat you are applying for works for your schedule. For Fall 2019, a list of the sections we have seats in will be posted here at the beginning of the semester. The due date for Permission Numbers will be announced here at the beginning of the semester. We will not accept late applications.

Concurrent Enrollment Questions

If you are a Concurrent Enrollment student with questions, please contact your program coordinator, rather than the Department, faculty, or the Head GSI, with questions. If you are awaiting approval or denial to get into a course, please note that the Department--and not faculty--approves / denies requests through the 4th week of courses, and concurrent enrollment requests are assesed after Berkeley students requests.

CalCentral Enrollment Questions

How does the waitlist work with sections?

There is a waitlist for the lecture (which is the one visible via CalCentral) and another, separate waitlist for the section (which is not visible, for some reason). We cannot see it either. When a space is open in a section, it offers it to the first person on the waitlist for the section, if there is space in the lecture. CalCentral will do this regardless of your position in the lecture waitlist, since section space is the limiting constraint. Note that this means that your lecture waitlist number is almost meaningless, except that it is somewhat correlated with your section waitlist number.

See more here.

What are my chances of getting off of the waitlist?

We don't know. We don't have the historical data handy. Sorry.

I'm currently on the waitlist for one section. However, there is another section that has a shorter waitlist. Should I try to enroll in that other section?

You can try, by dropping your spot on the waitlist and waitlisting for the other section. Note that this puts you at the back of the course waitlist. However, if the other section has a very short waitlist then this may actually get you into the section faster. We can't tell you if it will be faster in any particular situation.

I'm really interested in taking [Class], but the class is full and there is a waitlist. Is there any way I can take the course?

Generally speaking, you need to go through the waitlist procedure like everyone else. We won't let you jump the waitlist just for wanting to take the course -- that would be unfair to other students on the waitlist. If you think you have a situation that merits jumping the waitlist, apply for a Permission Number (see above).

Will the course enrollment or the waitlist be expanded?

No. If we could increase course enrollment, we would have already done it. The waitlist is limited to a realistic limit so that we do not have large amounts of people on an unrealistic waitlist scrambling to find replacement courses when they do not get off the waitlist last-minute.

I'm currently enrolled in one section, but would like to switch to another section.

Please note that switching to another section is different than switching to another course.

To swap one enrollment for another enrollment in a different course, use the swap function.

To switch to a different section in the same course, see here. Do not drop the course! Please note: if the section you would like to switch into is full, you will be placed at the back of the waitlist section for that course, regardless of where it puts you on the lecture waitlist.

Note: if you want to switch to another section that is taught by the same GSI you may do so without switching on CalCentral pending the GSI's permission.

Note: if you are waitlisted for one section, there is no way to switch your section and keep your current waitlist number. You must drop the class, then add it again with the desired section. Note this will put you at the back of the waitlist.

I am a senior / major / etc. and I am waitlisted for a course. Is there any priority for me?

Not once you're on the waitlist. Other students on the waitlist are in similar situations. If you feel strongly about taking a course, apply for it during Phase I.

There are seats physically available in the class. Why can't I enroll?

Even if there are seats physically in the class, enrollment in the class is also limited by the number of students our GSIs can handle. This number is contractually limited by the Academic Student Employees' collective bargaining agreement.

I have a time conflict with a course. Can you override this?

The Department of Economics does not override time conflicts.

My waitlist number actually increased!

Don't worry. Someone who was enrolled tried to switch sections into a full section. It put them in front on the course waitlist (which is why your number went up). However, it put them last on the section waitlist, so your place on the section waitlist was not affected. Since you need to get off the section waitlist in order to enroll, this should have no effect on your probability of getting into the course.

I'd like the see the course materials. Can you add me to the bCourses roster?

You will have to ask the faculty that is instructing the class. Please note that being added to bCourses does not constitute enrollment into the class.

For more questions about enrollment, please visit Berkeley Student Information Systems (SIS) Enrollment FAQ.