Registration Rules

Student Responsibility for Registration

Students are responsible for completing their own registration, after meeting with their academic advisor, according to the schedule published in the academic calendar. Detailed information about how and when to register is provided in the course schedule and drop/add instructions each term. Registration is considered valid only when it is recorded in the Banner Student data system. Students are responsible for confirming that their registration is complete and accurate.

Normal Load, Overload, and Underload

Normal load 12 to 18 semester hours
Overload more than 18 semester hours
Underload fewer than 12 semester hours

Normal Load

The usual course load is 15 semester hours, but students may take as few as 12 or as many as 18 semester hours for credit without special permission. In addition, students often take a PE or other non-credit activity course. A student must average 15 semester hours per term in order to be on track to graduate in four years. A student may not enroll past the eighth term without an approved Extended Study Plan.

Overloads and Planned Underloads

A resident student who wants to carry more or less than the normal load must submit a petition to the Scholastic Committee. Students who plan to do so should consult the financial aid office regarding the financial implications including impact on financial aid awards.

Day students may register for an underload without special permission and pay for courses on a semester hour basis. Day students who want to carry more than the normal load must submit a petition to the Scholastic Committee.

Underloads may impact a student-athlete's NCAA eligibility or an international student's visa.

Changes in Registration (Drop/Adds)

Registration changes may be processed through the second week of the semester without withdrawal grades, although a fee will be charged for changes after 5:00 p.m. of week one of each term. Specific dates for the drop/add period are published in the academic calendar.

A student may drop a course during the drop/add period without instructor permission. After the first five days of the semester, courses may be added only with instructor permission.

Late Registration Changes

A late registration fee is charged for all changes made after 5:00 p.m. on Friday of the first week of the term. See Late registration fee information in the Costs and Fees section of the catalog. After the deadline, students may, with the instructor’s permission:

  • add credit courses
  • add or drop non-credit courses

In order to drop a credit course after the drop/add period, a student must petition the Scholastic Committee for approval.


The withdrawal period begins at the end of the drop/add period and ends four weeks before the last day of classes each semester. Specific dates for the withdrawal period are published in the academic calendar. Withdrawal grades are not allowed in courses from which a student has already been excluded with a failing grade.

Students may withdraw from courses under the following conditions:

  • During the withdrawal period, a student desiring to withdraw from any credit course while retaining a normal load may do so with the approval of his or her advisor(s) and the instructor of the course.
  • After the withdrawal period, a student desiring to withdraw from a credit course must petition the Scholastic Committee. Withdrawals during the last four weeks of classes will be allowed only under exceptional circumstances outside the student's control, such as health conditions or family situations. Poor performance or lack of time management is not considered a legitimate reason for withdrawal during this period.
  • A student desiring to withdraw to an underload at any point in the semester must petition the Scholastic Committee.
  • A student desiring to withdraw from a non-credit course may do so at any point in the semester after notifying the instructor.
  • A student who voluntarily withdraws from school during the withdrawal period will receive withdrawal grades in his or her classes.
  • A student who voluntarily withdraws from school during the last four weeks before the last day of classes may petition for withdrawal grades which may be allowed in exceptional circumstances as indicated above.
  • A student who is suspended during the term and asked to leave before the end of the term will receive withdrawal grades in his or her classes.

Students who are allowed to withdraw from courses after the drop/add period will receive withdrawal grades rather than having the courses dropped from their records. If a student is allowed to withdraw, it is the instructor's prerogative to assign a WP (withdrew passing), WF (withdrew failing), or WX (withdrew with no basis for a grade). Students withdrawing after midterm should receive either a WP or WF.

Students not allowed to withdraw are held responsible for completing all course work. A student who stops attending class risks receiving an F.

Withdrawing During the Semester to an Underload

A student wishing to withdraw to an underload (less than 12 semester hours) during a term must petition the Scholastic Committee. Factors the committee will consider are:

  • Need for the course credit to make adequate progress toward graduation
  • Possible loss of a visa (for international students)
  • Ineligibility for varsity athletes
  • Input from the Office of Student Life about the student living on campus with an underload.

Administrative Changes

At any time, the registrar may process “adds” and “drops” which simply correct clerical errors and do not reflect changes in the student load or schedule.


To audit a course, an individual must either be enrolled in the college or be a faculty or Christian Science staff member (or a Christian Science spouse thereof). An audit must be approved by the student’s advisor and the instructor of the course involved.

Students attending a class must either audit it or register for credit; there is no informal “sitting in.” Any student desiring to audit a course must complete the proper form from the Registrar’s Office.

Visitors may attend a class on an occasional basis without registering to audit. Faculty and teaching staff may also occasionally attend colleagues’ classes without registering to audit.

Auditing students are not permitted to take part in class discussions, except by invitation of the instructor, nor to make demands upon the instructor either in or out of class. There are no requirements imposed upon auditing students for reading or written work. No attendance records for auditors are kept by instructors, nor are audits recorded on the permanent record in the Registrar’s Office. A student may drop an audited course at any time without formal office approval.

A fee is charged for auditing. See Academic Fees. The fee for one audit per semester is waived for benefits-eligible faculty or staff members, one-year enrichment students, and members of Phi Alpha Eta.

Canceling Undersubscribed Courses

Courses with an enrollment of five or fewer students may be cancelled.

Class Level

A student’s official classification as freshman, sophomore, junior, or senior is determined by the number of semester hours earned.

Freshman under 30 semester hours
Sophomore 30 semester hours
Junior 60 semester hours
Senior 90 semester hours

Course Numbering

Students should experience increasingly challenging courses during their college careers, developing academic skills and building upon knowledge gained. Principia College’s course numbering system seeks to:

  1. Identify courses by level of difficulty of content and skills;
  2. Help place students in courses appropriate to their ability, thus preventing too wide a range of student skills within courses;
  3. Identify, using lower numbers, courses which encourage mastery of basic academic skills early in college careers; and
  4. Identify, using higher numbers, advanced level courses which encourage students to challenge themselves at increasingly higher levels of difficulty.

Introductory Level

Courses numbered 100-199 are beginning level courses. Their content and academic skills level are most appropriate for freshmen; sophomores may also enroll. Upperclassmen need the consent of the instructor to enroll in these courses, with the exception of a few courses which welcome students from all class levels.

Intermediate Level

Courses numbered 200-299 are intermediate level courses which build on basic academic skills and present the variety of content available in each discipline. They are most appropriate for sophomores and juniors, but freshmen and seniors may enroll.

Advanced Level

Courses numbered 300-399 are advanced level courses which go into more depth in content and assume mastery of basic academic skills. They are most appropriate for upperclassmen. However, students of any class level who have appropriate skills or content prerequisites may enroll; underclassmen need the consent of the instructor.

Courses numbered 400-499 are advanced research, reading, or independent study courses, senior seminars, or capstone internships. Usually they are most appropriate for majors and need the consent of the instructor.

Non-Credit Courses

Courses numbered 099 and below receive no academic credit.