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Registration Process

All students will register themselves using Path@Penn.  Advance Registration for spring terms will open in the preceding fall and for fall terms in preceding spring. The exact dates of the Advance Registration period as well as dates for live Course Selection are included on the Penn Academic Calendar.

The Course Timetable lists courses that will be offered during the upcoming semester. The same listing of courses can be found through the Course Search function on Path@Penn .

The Course Catalog is a listing of all courses offered by the University. Please note that these are not specific to any given semester.

Advance Registration

Students request courses for the upcoming semester during the Advance Registration period. For incoming first-year BSN students, Advance Registration takes place over a four-week period in the summer before they arrive.

During Advance Registration, students submit their preferred courses, as well as alternative courses, using Path@Penn. Students can submit their course requests at any time during this period. All course requests are processed at the conclusion of the Advance Registration period, regardless of when the request was submitted. There is no advantage to registering early and no guarantee that students will be enrolled in all their requested courses.

You can view the timeline for Advance Registration in the Penn Academic Calendar.

Other resources for Advance Registration can be found under Course Selection Tools.

It is very important to take part in Advance Registration. Students who do not advance register may find themselves closed out of the courses they wish to take. See also the Registration Tips, below, for additional information.

Course Selection Period

The Course Selection Period opens once schedules from Advance Registration are released and runs until approximately two and half weeks into the semester. Students should refer to the Penn Academic Calendar for specific course selection dates.

Unlike Advance Registration, during the Course Selection Period registration is live and courses are filled as students register for them. So timing is important and students will know immediately if they are enrolled.

The Course Selection Period allows students to visit classes before finalizing their schedules, but students are expected to attend all courses they may wish to add in order to keep up with assignments and material. During this period, some instructors have their departments impose restrictions on their courses and authorize entry only to students who have been attending regularly.

Note: Academic departments provide permits for courses. If you have questions about course permits, closed courses, or waitlists, please contact the academic department directly. For information about NURS courses that require a permit, contact

Summer Registration

Summer semester courses do not participate in the Advance Registration process. Summer semester courses are first come first serve and work the same as the process during the Course Selection Period. The course selection period for summer terms opens in the preceding spring, at the same time as fall Advance Registration. Students should refer to the Penn Academic Calendar for specific course selection dates.  Students register for summer courses using Path@Penn.
Dropping a Course

Undergraduate Students may drop a class before the end of the first five weeks of the semester by using Path@Penn. Failure to attend a course does not automatically result in being dropped from the course. Courses that are dropped will no longer appear on a student’s transcript.

Graduate student course drop requests after the end of the Course Selection Period (check the academic calendar for dates each semester) must be processed by the SON Registrar. A 50% refund of tuition and fees will be processed for courses dropped within the first four weeks of the semester (check the SON academic calendar for exact dates); drops after the fourth week of classes are not eligible for refund.

Withdrawal from a Course

Students may withdraw from a course with the instructor’s permission between the 5th and the 10th week of the semester. Students will need to complete the withdrawal form in order to be removed form a course.

Students considering either a drop or a withdrawal should speak with an advisor before taking any action and should be aware of the risks of being enrolled in fewer than 4 c.u.

Course Withdrawal Request Form

Advance Registration Tips

Understand the System

During Advance Registration students submit their preferred courses, as well as alternate courses, using Path@Penn, the online registration system. Course requests can be submitted at any time during this period. All course requests are processed at the conclusion of the Advance Registration period, regardless of when the request was submitted. There is no advantage to registering early and no guarantee that students will be enrolled in all their requested courses.

Two weeks after Advance Registration, the system will open again for the Course Selection period. During this period, students can add and drop courses in real time until the end of the second week of the semester, and they can drop courses until the end of the fifth week of the semester.

Use Outside Resources

Penn Course Review and Penn Course Alert are excellent tools to assist in course selection. Penn Course Review offers student reviews of particular courses, which can provide insight into a particular course or instructor, and can also indicate whether or not a particular course or section may be in high demand. Penn Course Alert is a service that emails students when a closed course opens up during the Course Selection period.

Remember to Register


Rank High Need or High Demand Courses FIRST

Smaller courses, courses in high demand or those students’ particularly need should be listed at or near the top of the list of requested courses. Certain clinical sections, in particular, can be difficult to get into.

Always Select an Alternate.

The system moves through a student’s selection list by sifting through primary and alternate requests. Students can be strategic with their choices to better their chances of getting the courses they prefer. Selecting an alternate for every course provides the system with more opportunities to accommodate requests.

 For Clinical Courses, List the Clinical and Lab Before the Lecture

Clinical and lab sections, particularly those in more popular time sites, can be harder to get into than the large, associated lecture. A good approach is to rank the clinical or lab higher on the priority list in order to increase the chances of getting the preferred section. Students should not forget to register for the lecture!

Max Credit Limit

Students may request more courses than their max credit limit allows, to include additional courses as backup in case a higher priority class is not available, but be sure the lecture (graded portion) of a clinical course is requested at a priority level within your max credit amount. The system will not process clinic/lab sections if you do not get enrolled in the lecture (which may happen if you get enrolled in other courses up to your max credits that were listed at a higher priority). Students may not request an increase to their max credit limit until after Advance Registration and must have faculty advisor approval.


There Are No Guarantees

Strategically selecting and prioritizing courses increases the likelihood of receiving a favorable schedule, but there is no guarantee that students will be enrolled in all of their requested courses.

Advance Registration Is Not Final Registration

Course selection starts about two weeks after Advance Registration ends and lasts approximately two and a half weeks. During the Course Selection Period, students move in and out of courses by adding and dropping in Path@Penn. Students who still want a course they did not receive during Advance Registration should check back during the Course Selection period to see if room in the class has opened. Until they are sure they can’t get into the class, it is wise for students to attend the course so they do not miss any important material.


While Advance Registration is primarily a tool for undergraduates to strategize their course requests, graduate students are strongly advised to submit course requests during this period, especially for core courses that have multiple sections (NURS 5400, NURS 6370, NURS 6570 lab sections, etc). as certain sections may close due to high demand. You may select one section as your primary request and enter another section as an alternate request to indicate your preference.

Be sure to enter all portions of the course if there are multiple activities (ie lecture, and clinical, or clinical and recitation). Enter each section in your Primary Cart.  Submission of an Alternate Cart is only necessary for courses that are not part of your required curriculum, such as electives, or for alternate sections of courses with more than one section. The Alternate Cart is used to request a second choice for one of your other courses.

Ask for Help!

Advisors are available to help students navigate their life at Penn, including course selection. All students are encouraged to reach out for advice on how to register for classes. For quick questions, email the advisors in the Office of Student Services at