Canvas @ YaleGeneral Information Accessing CanvasCourse Selection and Add/Drop Period

Course Selection and Add/Drop Period

NOTE:  The information provided below has been updated to reflect the new early registration, and course selection and add/drop process for Yale College Students as of Fall 2021.  Graduate and Professional School students will eventually follow this same process once their schools adopt the new registration process.  

FALL 2021:  The schedule for Course Selection has been modified to accommodate earlier registration for courses prior to arrival on Campus.  Below are a few of the key dates - for full details, please check out the Registration Website Calendar:

  • May 3 - June 4: Returning Yale College students can officially register for courses via the Registration Worksheet on Yale Course Search.  Students can add courses they are considering to their Canvas Worksheet on Yale Course Search.
  • July/August TBD: Course Selection will open for Graduate and Professional Schools and First Year Students;  Canvas course sites will be made available to Student and Visitor roles.
  • August TBD: Course selection adjustment period (“add/drop”) begins.
  • September 1: Classes begin.
  • September TBD: Add/Drop ends;  All Visitor enrollments are removed. 

FALL 2021 - Yale College Students will have a new process!

During Course Selection and Add/Drop, Yale students are given the opportunity to "visit" courses.  During this period, students can attend courses and view online course materials to help them decide for which courses to officially register.

During this time, you will see participants who are not officially registered with the role of "Visitor" in your Canvas course site's People Tool.

Note:  Please contact the Registrar's Office if you have questions about the status of students' enrollment in your class. Our system reflects the data from that office.

What happens during course selection period?

  • Students register for courses via Yale Course Search**
    • FALL 2020 - YALE COLLEGE STUDENTS ONLY will have 2 worksheets:
      • Registration Worksheet:  Students will add courses to this worksheet that they want to officially register for.  In Canvas, these students will be listed with the role of Student.
      • Canvas Worksheet:  Students will add courses to this worksheet that they are interested in, but are not registering for yet.  In Canvas, these students will be listed with the role of Visitor.
  • Students' worksheet lists are shared with Canvas by the Registrar's system every 2 hours.
  • Canvas provides access to course sites on a student's worksheets based on data received from the Registrar. Students will see a full list of courses they are enrolled in under the "Courses" area (via the "Courses" button found in the left side global navigation bar).
  • At then end of the Add/Drop period, all Visitor enrollments (enrollments on students' Canvas Worksheets) will be removed from Canvas course sites.

** The School of Management employs an alternate method for enrolling students in courses during the course selection and add/drop period. For more information, please contact the SOM Registrar. Yale Law School students who want to “browse” courses in Canvas, need to register via 

Note: Students can also go to the Yale Course Search to search for courses and access the official course syllabus for that course. Syllabi are available only for courses that have been published by the instructor and are available in Course Search within 6 hours of the course being published.

Enrollment Caps and Canvas Rosters

For the majority of Yale academic courses, students are able to register for almost any course they want.  

FALL 2021:  Yale College instructors can work with their departmental registrar to set up enrollment caps which will be enforced on Yale College students only.  These enrollment caps will not prevent Graduate or Professional school students from registering for the course even if the course is technically "full".  

For non-Yale College courses and Yale College courses that are not employing enrollment caps, when a student registers for a course that is already full, the instructor will need to contact the student and ask them to drop the course from their schedule. Once the student drops the course - within 2 hours the student's account will be removed automatically from the course.

TIP:  Check out the Registration Website's resource on Managing Your limited Enrollment Course.

Reminder:   When a student adds a course to one of their worksheets, they will be added to the Canvas site for that course.  These enrollments cannot be removed by an instructor or admin.  Even if the instructor tried to remove them, they would not see the "remove user" option for those users because their enrollments are strictly managed by integration between the registration system and Canvas.  

The only way that an officially registered student can be removed from a course is for that student to remove the course from their worksheet.

End of Add/Drop

Immediately after the last day of Add/Drop,

  • All Yale College student schedules will be automatically sealed.
  • All Visitor enrollments will be automatically removed.

Finalizing the class roster after add/drop period

  • Extraneous, manually-added Visitors are notified that they will be deleted from course sites on a specified date.
  • Visitors who have the instructor's permission to unofficially audit the course should contact their instructor to be added to the course site with the Guest Student role.
  • On the specified date, all remaining visitor enrollments are deleted. For those who didn't register for a course, the course disappears from their course list.**
  • The class roster is finalized.


Visitor enrollments (as enrolled from the Banner-to-Canvas feed) will be automatically purged from courses after Add/Drop has ended - but the timing of that purge varies from semester to semester because Add/Drop closes on different dates for different schools.  Visitor enrollments cannot be purged until all schools' add/drop periods have ended.

Regardless - Global Announcements (visible on the dashboard page in Canvas) are posted regularly to notify both visitors and instructors when the visitor enrollments will be purged from the system.

For more help, please contact