How to Wait List a Course

Film Production (FIPR), Film Studies (FIST), and Theatre (THTR) Wait Lists

Sections with “WL” in the section code denote wait lists. Usually the number in the wait list section code corresponds to the main section of the course. For example, FIST 100 Section WL1 would be the wait list for FIST 100 Section 001 and THTR 120 Section WL3 would be the wait list for THTR 120 Section 003.

Please note that UBC’s Student Information System treats wait list sections just like a regular course with regards to your schedule, credit load, and tuition. If you no longer wish to take a course you should drop the wait list section as soon as possible.

Wait List FAQ

Q: The FIPR, FIST, or THTR course that I want to register in is full. What should I do?

A: If there is a wait list for the course, you should register for it. The wait lists appear on the Course Schedule website (they are the sections labeled “WL#”). You can register onto a wait list in the same way that you register for any other course using the online registration system. As space frees up in the course (because of students dropping, additional seats becoming available, etc.), we will manually move students from the wait list to the lecture section.

It is your responsibility to check the SSC to confirm if you have been added to the lecture section, and if so, to register yourself in a discussion and/or lab section where applicable (note that you cannot register for discussion or lab sections until you are off the wait list and in a lecture section).

The department will contact students by email to inform you when you have been moved into a class, but please note that it may take up to 24 hours to see the registration changes reflected on your SSC schedule.

If there is no wait list for a course you may contact the Department to see if one is planned. If the wait list is full you will have to wait until other students are moved off the wait list into the main section.

(Note to 4th year students who are graduating, require FIPR, FIST, or THTR courses for graduation, and are wait listed: See the final question for special instructions.)

Q: In what order are students moved from the wait lists?

A: Until classes start, students are moved from the wait list on a priority basis.  If seats become available, they are given to:

  • Students in Department of Theatre and Film specializations;
  • Students in other specializations which require specific FIPR, FIST, or THTR courses;
  • All other students on a first-come, first-served basis.

In some cases, higher priority may be accorded to students in a certain year or specialization.  Within a category, students are moved in order of the date that they joined the wait list.

From the start of term until the add/drop deadline, most courses will continue to use this policy. However, some courses may use a different policy.  You should check the websites of individual courses to see whether they have a different policy. For example, students on the wait list for THTR 130 should be aware of its distinct policy that gives priority to first- and second-year students who plan to major in Theatre.

After the add/drop deadline, no further students will be admitted to courses.  Before then, our staff will move as many people from the wait lists into courses as possible, often on a daily basis.  Keep in mind that administrative staff work during business hours so your registration will not usually be switched after 5 pm. Also, the department may be lightly staffed during summer or winter breaks when administrative personnel take vacation. On the day of the add/drop deadline, the wait lists will be processed and cleared during business hours, not at the actual add/drop deadline of 12 am.

Q: There is room in the course, so why is the wait list not moving?  Can somebody bypass the wait list and register through SSC?

A: Once a wait list is created, the main section is blocked and nobody can register for the course through SSC.  We move students from the wait list into the course in batches, so a course may have seats available for several days before we fill it from the wait list.

Q: Can I contact the course instructor to improve my priority?  Can I contact a department advisor to improve my priority?

A: Until classes start, all wait lists will be managed according to the priorities described above.  Do not contact instructors or advisors to ask about wait list position or priority access to classes.

Q:  A FIPR, FIST, or THTR course is already full, but I really need to take it in order to register for courses in subsequent terms. What should I do?

A:  You can only register on the wait list and hope for the best. We accommodate as many students as possible in our courses and will move students off the wait list as soon as space frees up in the course. You might want to consider making an appointment to see your departmental advisor to discuss course planning for future terms, in case you cannot get into the courses you want in the current term.  We strongly urge all students to plan their courses well in advance, taking into account prerequisites and recognizing that many upper-level FIPR, FIST, and THTR courses are only offered once per year or even alternate years.  Be sure to register as soon as your registration date and time permits.

Q: How do I know what position I am in on a wait list?

A: There is no way for you to determine this. However, you can estimate your position by noting how many people are on the wait list when you first registered on it.  Please note that the course instructor, program advisors, staff, departmental administrators and assistants are not able to provide you with your position on the wait list.

Q: What are my chances of getting into a full course, assuming I’ve registered on the wait list?

A: Each course and each term is different, and your chances of getting in can be hard to predict.  Generally speaking, a small number of seats in almost every course become free for various reasons.

Q: The wait list in a FIPR, FIST, or THTR course is very large.  Why don’t you add more seats and/or another section?

A: We may attempt to do so. However, additional seats require additional teaching assistants, bigger lecture halls and, in many cases, more studio space.  Additional sections require additional instructors and teaching assistants and another room or studio space.  It may not be possible to meet the demand for additional sections.

Q:  I am a final year student wait listed for courses. I need them to graduate. Will I automatically be registered?

A:  You need to apply in order to be admitted to these courses ahead of the stated wait list procedures above. Please contact your program advisor to see what is possible under the circumstances. You may not be registered in the original course you were wait listed for but we will do everything possible to help you to graduate as planned.