Course Conflicts

Learn what to do when a course is full or if you experience a course conflict. Understand how to drop or withdraw from a course, and if you should repeat a course.

Full courses

There are a few ways to deal with full courses, and which one is applicable depends on the particular course and department. Follow the options below to pursue a full course.


  • Register for a waitlist section on the Student Service Centre (SSC), if available
  • Waitlisted courses will take up credits
  • The department may move you to the course if space becomes available
  • Check the SSC regularly to see if you have been added to the course, as the department may not notify you of your successful registration

  • Availability may change up until the add/drop deadline
  • If a student drops a course, you can register in it
  • A course may be blocked even though there is space; contact the instructor or department

  • If there is no waitlist, some instructors may be willing to sign Change of Registration forms for students
  • Economics, Math, WRDS 150, French, Italian, and Spanish do not accept Change of Registration forms
  • After receiving the instructor’s approval, hand the form to the department before the add/drop deadline

  • Check if there are cross-listed courses in a course’s description on the UBC Course Schedule
  • Check Degree Navigator to see which of your requirements you have left to complete, then look for options on the UBC Course Schedule
  • Try using the course search function on the UBC Course Schedule

No room in a tutorial, discussion, or lab?

Sometimes there’s room in a class, but the tutorials, discussions, or labs are full. Keep your seat in the class and talk to the instructor on the first day of classes if no seats open up for the tutorial, discussion, or lab.

Graduating this year?

If you are in your graduating year, you will not be excluded from taking a required course due to space. This rule does not apply to electives or preferred sections. If a course you need is full, consult your department advisor.

Online course conflicts

2020 Winter Term 1

Some online courses will be delivered in an asynchronous manner, where you can login and do work at any time; whereas others will have a synchronous approach, meaning you have to be online and participate at specific times. Thirdly, some online courses may be a blend of both, so be sure to check the course’s schedule, the department’s website, or with the instructor to see if there are specific times that you are expected to attend.

Synchronous and blended course conflicts

Avoid taking two synchronous online courses scheduled at the same time, as attendance is required. However, if you believe the courses may not be completely synchronous (blended) or the scheduling conflict between synchronous courses is small, you can approach both instructors to see if they are able to accommodate the scheduling overlap. Follow the instructions below to investigate the course conflict.

Asynchronous course conflicts

Although asynchronous courses are delivered fully online these courses still have a “time” associated with them in the UBC SSC registration system. Occasionally these “times” will cause a timetable conflict with other asynchronous or synchronous courses, and the system will not allow you to register in both courses.

Instructions to resolve course conflicts

If you want to register in two courses that have scheduling conflicts on the SSC, follow these steps:

  1. Register for the course which is more important to your academic plan, so that this course does not fill up before you can register for it (Arts Advising cannot register you in a full course).
  2. Contact the instructors of both courses to get their confirmation that the courses will be entirely asynchronous; or if the courses are blended, request their permission to miss some portion of class time (you should avoid missing any component of a class lecture or meeting).
  3. Forward your correspondence with your instructors, along with an explanation of your registration issue to Arts Advising to review. If approved, Arts Advising can override the course conflict.

Academic concession and online course conflicts

You will not be eligible for academic concession if you experience a course conflict or difficulty with how the course is delivered, so carefully regard your ability to complete and succeed in courses prior to the course drop deadlines.

Dropping a course

If you are required to maintain a minimum course load due to funding, housing, varsity sports, or other circumstances, make sure you are aware of how many credits you must be registered in before you withdraw from a course.

Speak with your Enrolment Services Advisor about any potential financial implications of dropping or withdrawing from a course.

A withdrawal does not detract from your academic record, but does result in a “W” standing. A ‘W’ on your transcript indicates that you have attempted a course and have chosen to withdraw from it within university guidelines. A ‘W’ is not calculated into your overall GPA or continuation evaluation.

If you are concerned about the impact of a “W” on your academic transcript and are applying to other schools or graduate programs, you should contact the respective organization for information on how they might regard a ‘W’ on a transcript.

UBC faculties, graduate, and professional programs state that a “W” on a student’s record conveys no useful admissions-related information. These programs are interested in the courses you’ve actually completed and the grades earned.

You are not permitted to withdraw from a course after the withdrawal deadline unless you qualify for academic concession. If you’ve experienced unanticipated events or circumstances that interfere with your ability to accomplish your academic coursework, contact Arts Academic Advising as soon as possible, and prior to the deadline to submit academic concession requests.

If you remain registered in the course past the withdrawal deadline, and do not qualify for academic concession, you have committed to completing the course.

You should drop or withdraw from a course as soon as you identify you don’t want to take it, or can’t continue with it. Dropping early will help you meet deadlines and make space available so another student can register for the course.

Drop deadlines allow you to drop a course without financial penalty or any notation on your transcript.

After the drop deadline, you may withdraw up to the withdrawal deadline. You’ll have to pay for at least part of the course, and will see a ‘W’ on your transcript.

As drop/withdrawal deadlines approach, assess your ability to meet your obligations. If you feel overwhelmed, it may be wise to adjust your course load or access your academic support options.

Repeat a course

It is rarely advised to repeat a course, unless you need the course to meet a requirement or you’d like to deepen your knowledge on the subject. Keep in mind that you will not receive credit for the course again and the original grade cannot be replaced.


  • You may repeat a course offered in the Faculty of Arts only once
  • Other faculties may not permit students to repeat courses, or allow it only if you did not pass the course
  • You cannot receive credit for a course twice
  • The grade you received in the course will always count toward your overall average; you cannot replace the grade by repeating the course
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