A-B Term Registration
Welcome to your online course registration process for your A and B term courses, follow the six steps below to learn about WPI’s degree requirements and all the details that you need to finalize and register for your courses officially. Please also take some time to watch the videos and tutorials included as they will provide valuable guidance.
Please select the icon below to be directed to the related step. Click on the arrows to open and close additional information.
Fall course registration available June 14 to July 14. Registration will open at 8:00 AM EST.
1 Course Registration Timeline
May 9: Students receive WPI login information
May 15: Math Placement Exam Opens
May 30-June 7: Course Advising Sessions- Recording of session available to view here.
June 14: Course registration opens
July 14: Course registration closes; schedule review begins
Registration for courses is June 14-July 14. Once course registration closes on July 14, your course schedule will be reviewed by the Office of Academic Advising. You will not be able to make changes to your schedule during this time. If there are changes that need to be made, Office of Academic Advising will contact you via your WPI e-mail address in late July.
2 Academics at WPI
The WPI academic year consists of four seven-week terms—two terms in the fall semester (A-Term and B-Term) and two terms in the spring semester (C-Term and D-Term). There is also an optional summer term (E-term). For exact term dates, see the undergraduate calendar.
You will be registering before July 14 for classes in both A-Term and B-Term.
You will select three courses for each term that are worth 1/3 credit unit each, adding up to one full credit unit per term. There are a few exceptions:
- PE classes are 1/12 unit
- Several departments offer 1/6 unit courses (i.e. music lessons, biology laboratories, several introductory courses)
These can be taken in addition to the three 1/3 unit courses (but only one/term).
General WPI Degree Requirements
Over your four years at WPI, you must complete the following requirements to earn your bachelor’s degree:
Humanities and Arts Requirement
You must take 6 courses in the Humanities and Arts (HUA). This requirement enables you to explore the human experience through performance, analysis, the creative process, or cultural exploration. HUA courses consist of the following five disciplines:
- Art/art history, drama/theatre, and music (AR, EN/TH, MU)
- Foreign languages: Spanish, German, Arabic, Chinese (SP, GN, AB, CN)
- Literature and writing/rhetoric (EN, WR, RH, ISE)
- History and international studies (HI, HU, INTL)
- Philosophy and religion (PY, RE)
Of those 6 courses:
- You must take at least 3 courses from the same discipline (Depth component); at least one of these courses must be at the 2000-level or above.
- You must take at least 1 course in a different discipline (Breadth component); exclusive first year courses (e.g. Great Problems Seminars) with HU credit count here, as do AP credits in the HUA disciplines. See Step 3 of the course registration website to learn more about exclusive first year courses.
- You must take 1 inquiry seminar or practicum, as the last class to fulfill the HUA requirement. An inquiry seminar gives you an opportunity to explore a humanities-related problem and make personal connections in a small group setting; a practicum consists of a hands-on production or performance experience in music or drama.
- Only one AP course can be used toward the HUA requirement.
Exception: if you wish to study a foreign language, you must take all 6 courses in one language
Note for International Students: if your native language is not English, you can fulfill the HUA requirement by taking a special set of English language courses, similar to the foreign language path for native English speakers. Learn More.
You must take 2 courses in the Social Sciences, an area of study that deals with the behavior of individuals and groups as well as the functioning of the economic and political systems and institutions that shape and control our lives. The social sciences encompass the following disciplines:
- Economics (ECON)
- Environmental and Sustainability Studies (ENV)
- Political Science, Government, and Law (GOV)
- Psychology (PSY)
- System Dynamics (SD)
- Sociology (SOC)
- General Social Science (SS)
ID 2050, the course required of all students participating in an off-campus Interactive Qualifying Project Center (more information on the Interactive Qualifying Project below) also counts as a social science course.
Interactive Qualifying Project (IQP)
In your junior year, you will complete an Interactive Qualifying Project (IQP), a team-based project that examines the impact of science and technology on society. The IQP is the equivalent to three 1/3 unit courses, or one full credit unit. This can be completed on or off campus.
Major Qualifying Project (MQP)
In your senior year, you will complete a Major Qualifying Project (MQP), a team-based capstone project that enables you to gain real-world design or research experience in your major field. Like the IQP, the MQP is worth three 1/3 unit courses, or one full unit of credit.
Up to 30 courses designated by your major
You will take up to 30 additional courses to complete your major. You will be asked to confirm your major by the end of B-term during your first year. You will have many resources to help make this important decision, including a team of advisors that you will meet during New Student Orientation.
You must take 4 courses in Physical Education (PE). Each course is worth 1/12 credit unit, so in total you will receive 1/3 credit unit for completing all four courses.
We recommend that you complete your PE requirement during your first two years at WPI. Most students register for PE courses as a fourth course on top of the three standard courses per term.
If you are a member of Reserve Officer Training (ROTC), your Physical Training will count towards your PE requirement. With advance approval, students can also earn PE credit through participation in varsity or club sports.
Example of a Course Description
BB 2040. PRINCIPLES OF ECOLOGY.
This course is intended to help students understand ecological concepts at different levels of integration, from individuals to ecosystems, and the linkages among them. Students will also practice the application of qualitative and quantitative models to ecological systems and processes, as well as hypothesis generation, experimental design, and analysis and interpretation of data. In a format that includes team-based case studies, discussion and presentations, and ecological simulations, students will explore topics in both basic and applied ecology, which may include population ecology, host-parasite ecology and epidemiology, climate change, and sustainable agriculture, among others.
Recommended background: a working knowledge of concepts in biodiversity (BB 1045 or equivalent) and integral and differential calculus.
Beneath the descriptions for some courses you will see a list of topics and other courses that you should consider taking first:
- Recommended background: Instructors will assume that you are knowledgeable of material from the recommended course or from other experiences.
- Suggested background: it would be helpful for you know content from topics or suggested courses, but not necessary. Instructors will not assume that you have taken these courses.
In the example above, “Recommended background” indicates that students should have a working knowledge of biodiversity, either from taking BB 1045 or an equivalent course, and that students should be able to use integral and differential calculus.
Course Registration Number
Each time a course is offered at WPI, it is assigned a unique 5-digit Course Registration Number (CRN). The number identifies a specific instance of the course related to a specific term, class meeting times, and instructor. The CRN is what you will use to register for each course. You will learn more about the WPI College Scheduler in Step 5.
For example, in B-Term 2017, “BB 2040. PRINCIPLES OF ECOLOGY” has a CRN of 10789. This specific course is taught in B-term 2017 on Tuesday, and Friday from 12:00-1:50 and Wednesdays at 12:00-12:50 by Professor Lauren Mathews.
3 Exclusive First Year Courses
WPI offers several courses just for first year students. These popular courses provide unique opportunities and extra support for transitioning to college.
Great Problems Seminars (GPS)
Do you want to go beyond learning the fundamentals? Do you want to make a difference in the world? While tackling some of the world’s most pressing problems, students who choose these classes will develop skills, knowledge and confidence valuable not only for the rest of your college career, but also for life. See what GPS alumni say about their GPS experience and watch the video!
GPS courses are a two-term linked project experience taught by two faculty members. In the first term you will explore many facets of a great problem and then, in the second, work in a team with support of faculty to produce a solution, and show it off to the whole campus! Note that each course carries different credit. Click here to learn where the credit will count in your degree program.
Great Problems Seminars are available in either A-Term and B-term or C-term and D-term. Current course offerings include:
A and B-Term:
Extinction: Who will survive?
Throughout most of Earth’s history, species disappeared at an average rate of 1 to 5 per year. Fossil evidence shows that five mass extinction catastrophes have occurred. Scientists estimate that we are witnessing the sixth mass extinction; species are currently disappearing at 1,000 to 10,000 times the normal background rate. This Great Problems Seminar will examine scientific debates about past and present causes of extinction, the factors that contribute to vulnerability or resiliency of endangered species, and the consequences (to the planet, to regional ecosystems, and to human societies and economies) of species loss. Where are extinctions currently having the greatest impact? How might conservation efforts prevent extinctions? What can we expect from efforts to revive extinct species? Student project groups will focus on specific extinction-related problems, and develop and present sustainable solution approaches based on their investigations.
This GPS carries 1/3 unit BB1000 credit and 1/3 unit HU1100 credit.
- Course numbers FY 1100 A02 (CRN 16857) and FY 1101 B02 (CRN 16858)
This Great Problems Seminar addresses the possibilities and liabilities of human life in the urban environment. As an increasing proportion of the world’s population becomes urban, the possibilities for human achievement and the particular difficulties encountered in city life become more pressing. Through lectures, readings, discussion, and group projects this course will examine the ways in which the interaction of urban ecology, globalization and labor markets, social and environmental justice, city design and planning, and gentrification come together to create contemporary urban life. Urban sprawl can pose many threats to the environment, and we will examine ecological conditions (e.g., land use, pollution, heat island), patterns (e.g., changes in diversity), and processes (e.g., invasion of non-native species) associated with urbanization and how these influence and are influenced by social conditions in cities. Additionally, students will develop an area of expertise in one problem of urban living and research, present, and propose sustainable solutions.
This GPS carries 1/3 unit BB1000 credit and 1/3 unit HU1100 credit.
- Course numbers FY 1100 A07 (CRN 10838)and FY 1101 B07 (CRN 10839)
Across the globe, one in nine people experience chronic hunger. Every year, malnutrition kills 3.1 million children under 5 years old. Rising populations, changing climates, and the pollution of scarce resources increases the pressures on our ability to feed the world’s 7.4 billion and growing. How can we, and how should we feed the world? Through genetic engineering? With urban farms on roof tops and in shipping containers? With solar run chicken coops? In this hands-on, project-based course, students will work in teams with the support of faculty (and potentially community sponsors) to research and develop technological, chemical, biological, policy driven, and other types of solutions to help solve these problems in cases of their choosing from across the globe.
This GPS carries 1/3 unit CH1000 credit and 1/3 unit SS1000 credit.
- Course numbers FY 1100 A09 (CRN 13597) and FY 1101 B09 (CRN 13385)
Heal the World
This course starts with the biology of an infectious disease and moves on to study both the biology and management of disease control. Students study the costs of research and regulation required to bring new drugs to market and learn to examine problems with local complexity and global scale. Students also study management issues as cost/benefit analysis, innovation, decision-making, and competitive analysis.
This GPS carries 1/3 unit BB1000 credit and 1/3 unit MG1000 credit.
- Course numbers FY 1100 A03 (CRN 10515) and FY 1101 B03 (CRN 10518) or
- Course numbers FY 1100 A04 (CRN 10516) and FY 1101 B04 (CRN 10519)
Ignorance is Not Bliss: Can Schools and Technology Help
Should where you grow up and go to school determine how well you do in life? Do you wonder why education seems so dysfunctional at times? International tests indicate that Americans aren’t well educated: is that true? Have you ever taught an adult to read? Can you design a truly informative, cool way to present a tough topic? Do nature and nurture, equity and excellence, opportunity and outcome, vision and verification, and the availability of educational technology matter? In the end, what should an educated person know and be able to do at age 18, at age 22? Do you meet the criteria?
This GPS carries 1/3 unit CS1000 credit and 1/3 unit SS1000 credit.
- Course numbers FY 1100 A05 (CRN 10630) and FY 1101 B05 (CRN 10631) or
- Course numbers FY 1100 A06 (CRN 10714) and FY 1101 B06 (CRN 10705)
The World's Water
We are in the midst of a global water crisis. With a changing climate and growing global population, the rising global demand for water and increased pollution have threatened the availability and sustainability of fresh clean water on this planet. The causes and effects of this crisis are complex and contentious involving interwoven social, economic, and ecological systems. This class examines the depth and breadth of water sustainability from technical, ethical, political, economic, social, and ecological perspectives. In this hands-on, project-based course, students will work in teams with the support of faculty (and potentially community sponsors) to identify a specific water problem and research and develop technological, policy driven, ecological, and other types of solutions.
This GPS carries 1/3 unit ES1000 credit and 1/3 unit SS credit.
- Course numbers FY 1100 A08 (CRN 11326) and FY 1101 B08 (CRN 11327)
Designing progress: living on the edge
When volunteers design and build a school in Nicaragua, do they help the community? When you plant a tree on Earth Day, does it make a difference? When you #SyrianRefugee, does it help? In this studio, we will exercise core design principles and techniques to challenge the notion of what is means to ‘be developed’ and design alternatives for progress. Taking into account social, economic, political and environmental factors, we will question the very foundations of development and investigate design concepts concerning form, materials, structure, and systems. What will development of the future look like? That is for us to figure out!
This GPS carries 1/3 unit ES1000 credit and 1/3 unit INTL1000 credit (INTL counts as HUA credit).
- Course numbers FY 1100 A10 (CRN 17547 ) and FY 1101 B10 (CRN 17548 ) and FY 1101 B11 (CRN 17549 )
C and D-Term:
While you cannot yet register for the course below (registration for spring courses happens in December), if you are interested, click here to sign up for this course. Students who sign up now will be pre-registered, ensuring a spot in the class.
Power the World
Every community faces energy problems. Solutions to these problems involve both positive and negative consequences. Fossil fuels currently dominate the energy landscape but have impacts that are becoming less and less acceptable. Renewable sources of energy, like wind and solar, are gaining traction but present a whole new set of challenges. This course investigates the depth and breadth of energy production, transmission, and use. It explores the technical, social, economic, and environmental effects and challenges of power generation.
This GPS carries 1/3 unit ES1000 credit and 1/3 unit HU1100 credit.
- Course numbers FY 1100 C01 (CRN 20740) and FY 1101 D01 (CRN 20741)
During A term, take an engineering adventure back to 19th-century Worcester and join an exciting role-playing game. With anxiety running high, residents at a mass meeting express their concerns over the heavily polluted Blackstone River and the spread of disease from its human and industrial waste. How should Worcester deal with this challenge from an engineering & social perspective? What human factors must be considered? How do you apply simple engineering principles from different disciplines? With whom should you form alliances to help promote your recommendation? How do you build an engineering model on a limited budget to showcase your solution? During B term, apply your newfound knowledge to propose a solution to an engineering challenge today in a developing country. This course carries 1/3 unit HU1100 credit and 1/3 unit ES2000 credit.Course numbers FY 160X A10 (CRN 15335) and ES 200X B10 (CRN 15336)
Humanitarian Engineering: Past and Present
Humanitarian Engineering: Past and Present
During A term, take an engineering adventure back to 19th-century Worcester and join an exciting role-playing game. With anxiety running high, residents at a mass meeting express their concerns over the heavily polluted Blackstone River and the spread of disease from its human and industrial waste. How should Worcester deal with this challenge from an engineering & social perspective? What human factors must be considered? How do you apply simple engineering principles from different disciplines? With whom should you form alliances to help promote your recommendation? How do you build an engineering model on a limited budget to showcase your solution? During B term, apply your newfound knowledge to propose a solution to an engineering challenge today in a developing country.
This course carries 1/3 unit HU1100 credit and 1/3 unit ES2000 credit.Course numbers FY 160X A10 (CRN 15335) and ES 200X B10 (CRN 15336)
Insight Wellness is a unique, and fun Physical Education (PE) course that enables participants to meet other first year students and learn how to manage stress, live a healthy lifestyle, and get connected to campus. The course meets twice a week for two hours and counts for one of four required PE courses and is worth 1/12 credit unit.
The course number is PE 1099. MISCELLANEOUS (Insight Wellness). It is offered in A-Term 2017 (CRN 13323).
Undecided about your Major?
Twice per year, the Career Development Center (CDC) offers Discovering Majors and Careers, a course that helps undecided first year students explore major and career options. Participants conduct self-assessments, research majors and career paths of interest, attend academic department presentations, and participate in job shadowing and company tours. The course meets twice per week for 50 minutes and is worth 1/12 credit unit. This is a free elective course.
The course number is FY 1800. DISCOVERING MAJORS AND CAREERS. It is offered in A-Term 2017 (CRN 17157) and B-Term 2017 (CRN 10641 or 13326).
4 Choosing the Right Courses
Now that you have some information about WPI’s general degree requirements, it’s time to look at requirements for your intended major and begin thinking about what courses you should take in A and B-Terms.
Using Your Course Planning Worksheet
- Select and print out the Course Planning Worksheet for your major of choice from the list below. If you are undecided, select the undecided option. If you are considering a double major, see the section below ‘About pursuing a double major’.
List of Majors:
BIOINFORMATICS AND COMPUTATIONAL BIOLOGY
BIOLOGY AND BIOTECHNOLOGY
ELECTRICAL AND COMPUTER ENGINEERING
- This sheet outlines specific degree requirements relevant to your intended major and provides guidance on courses you should take during your first year at WPI. Read through the recommendations and also keep in mind WPI’s general degree requirements from Step 2, and special first-year courses from Step 3.
- Print this course planning worksheet, and begin filling in your desired courses on page #2 once you have read the “advice for your major”.
- Go to the second page of the Course Planning Worksheet and fill out your Math Placement Exam Recommendation and AP Credit Information Information. If you have not received your AP scores yet, assume credit will be awarded.
What you need to know
About Choosing a Math Class
If you have AP Calculus credit:
Students who obtain a score of “4” or “5” on the AB-level Exam will receive credit for MA 1021 and MA 1022 and should begin with MA 1023 in A term followed by MA 1024 in B term.
Students who obtain a grade of “4” or “5” on the BC-level Exam will receive credit for MA 1021, MA 1022 and MA 1023 and should begin with MA 1024 in A term followed by MA 2051 in B term.
If you received a 6 or 7 on the IB, you will receive 2/3 credit of MA 1000, and you should use your math placement exam results to decide which math class to take.
Has it been a while since you had Calculus? The math placement test is a great way to check your current calculus competency.
If you did not receive AP Calculus credit:
If you did not receive AP Calculus credit, please use the math placement test as your guide. If the placement test recommends MA 1022 (Calc II) or MA 1023 (Calc III), you may be interested in attempting to receive retroactive credit for the course(s) earlier in the sequence. To receive this retroactive credit, you must take the next two courses in sequence during your first year (A-D terms), and pass both. Specifically, if you take Calc III and Calc IV and pass both, you will receive advanced placement credit for both Calc I and Calc II. Similarly, if you pass Calc II and pass Calc III, you will receive credit for Calc I. These are the only two scenarios that provide retroactive credit. To qualify for credit, the courses must be passed on first attempt during your first year.
If the placement test recommends MA 1020, students should sign up for this class as they will benefit from having a pre-calculus review. This semester-long course covers the material in Calc I after some selected background material and will be your math course for A and B terms. It is 1/3 unit credit. You will register for two additional courses in both A and B terms, making a total of 5 courses for the two terms.
About Choosing a Science Class
Students considering a major in Chemical Engineering, Chemistry, Biochemistry, Biology, Civil or Environmental Engineering should begin with chemistry. Students enrolled in MA 1020 should also begin with chemistry or biology. Other majors can choose between chemistry, biology and physics.
Students beginning with MA 1021 or higher may choose physics as their first science, depending on your major recommendation. There are two versions of mechanics (PH 1110/PH 1111) and electricity and magnetism (PH 1120/PH 1121). PH 1111 and PH 1121 are recommended for students beginning the calculus sequence in MA 1023 (Calc III) or higher and who have had a high school physics course (not physical science but physics). For students who do not have high school physics, it is recommended that you select PH 1110/PH 1120.
BB 1001 and BB 1002 are intended for non-life science majors and will not count toward a major distribution requirement for Biology majors. BB 1025, BB 1035 and BB 1045 are recommended first courses for BB and other life sciences majors.
There are three levels of introductory computer science. CS 1004 is intended for non-majors who will take few, if any additional CS courses. CS 1101 is the standard introductory course, and CS 1102 is an accelerated introductory course for students with substantial programming background. Students with AP Computer Science credit are encouraged to consider CS 1102 as an option. Due to its accelerated format, it moves at twice the pace of CS 1101. For help with selecting between CS 1101 and CS 1102, please read the FAQ information. Please use your course planning worksheet as a guide to determine which CS course you will need to select for your major, if applicable.
About choosing humanities and arts classes
There are German and Spanish placement exams during new student orientation to help place you in the right course in the sequence. For students with no background there are introductory courses to German, Arabic and Chinese in A term. Intermediate Spanish is offered in A- term, while Elementary and Advanced Spanish courses are offered in the spring.
If you are interested in English (EN), History (HI), International Studies (INTL) or Music (MU) for a humanities course, consider both 1000 and 2000 level HUA courses as a starting point. Check the recommended background.
About pursuing a double major
Students interested in pursuing a double major should look at both sets of course recommendations. If they are in conflict – a rare event – follow the advice of the major you are most interested in currently. When you arrive on campus you will connect with your Insight Advisor who can help you make any adjustments needed.
About selecting backup courses
Courses will fill up, especially if you register close to the deadline. We recommend that you prepare several scheduling options for either the same course, or alternative courses as back-up options. There are many scheduling options for our introductory chemistry, physics and calculus courses. If you discover when registering that your selection is full, you can add yourself to the course waitlist, and then register for a different section that is open to complete your schedule.
Note: Waitlists have a limit. Once a course has a significant waitlist (number depends on the course) you will not be able to add yourself to the waitlist as it is extremely unlikely that enough seats would become available to allow you to add the course. More information will be provided in Step 6 on when and how to sign up for course waitlists, and what happens next.
5 Creating your Course Schedule
Using the WPI Planner
- On the first tab, select the class subject area you are interested in (ex. Chemistry, Mathematical Sciences). Note: Great Problems Seminars are listed under First Year.
- Once you select the subject, the available courses will appear. As you select courses, they will appear in the box at the bottom right.
- On the second tab, Time, you can eliminate times of day you do not want classes. Note: This may limit your course options, so use this one sparingly.
- The third tab, Schedules, shows all the possible schedules that can result from your course selections. Make sure you are looking at the correct term, and look to see if there is any overlap between class times. You can change the term you would like to take the course by clicking on the term bubbles.
Find and Write Down Your CRN’s
Now it’s time to identify the CRN’s of the classes you plan to register for in Step 6 and add them to the Course Planning Worksheet.
- You should select three courses for A-Term and three courses for B-Term. It is also a good idea to identify some back-up schedules in case your first choices are full when you go to register.
- NOTE: If you are registering for courses in CH, MA or CS, you will need more than 1 CRN as there are lecture courses and labs, and sometimes conferences, and you must register for all parts of the course.
For CH1010 or CH1020, you need 3 CRNs, one for the lecture, one for the lab and one for the conference.
For any of the Calculus courses (MA1021-1024), you will need 2 CRNs, one for the lecture and conference, one for the lab.
For CS1101 or CS1102, you will need two CRNs, one for the lecture, one for the lab.
You can find the CRNs for the associated labs and conferences in Banner Web by clicking ‘Look up Classes to Add’ under the registration tab. From there follow the prompts.
- You can also select a Physical Education course, and selected music courses, as an additional fourth course in addition to your three courses. This is common for first year students.
- At the top of the Schedules tab, you will see two boxes, one labeled “Grid” and another labeled “Detail.” Click the “Detail” box to see a listing of selected courses with information including course name, CRN, professor, location, and meeting days and times.
- Write down the course names and CRN’s in the chart on the second page of your Course Planning Worksheet.
- ROTC Members: please select your Military Science course in addition to your three courses. Your Physical Training will count towards your physical education requirement, so you do not need to select PE courses.
- Move on to Step 6 to register for your classes.
6 Registering for your Courses
Now that you have completed all steps, you are ready to register for your courses via Banner Web. You should have the following information on hand:
- Your Course Planning Worksheet containing preferred courses and CRN’s or a completed Registration Cart.
- Your Bannerweb login information.
Watch the tutorial below for an overview of how to register for classes via Banner Web.
What you need to know about course waitlists
Starting in early August, the registrar’s office will begin offering seats to people on the waitlist as seats become available. If you are next on the list, you will receive an email from the registrar’s office informing you that a seat has become available. You will have 72 hours to claim the seat. If you do not respond within 72 hours, the seat will be offered to the next person on the waitlist and your name will be removed from the waitlist. Another great reason to check your WPI email regularly!
If you are offered a seat from the waitlist, and are already registered for three other courses, you will have to drop a course before you can register for the one you were waitlisted in. Do this thoughtfully, because if the course you drop also has a waitlist, you will not be able to change your mind and reclaim the seat you had. You will have to join the waitlist for that course.
Please note: The Office of Academic Advising will be reviewing your schedule after July 15 to ensure proper course selection. We will communicate with you via your WPI e-mail if your course schedule is incomplete or needs changes. Please check this email account regularly.
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