Student Services

Student Handbook: Courses and Registration

Insurance and Immunization Compliance

Health Insurance Requirement
All full-time and dissertation-status students, exchange students here for a semester or more and all students on a J-1 visa, must carry comprehensive health insurance as a condition of student enrollment at the University of Pennsylvania. The University makes available a group policy, the Penn Student Insurance Plan, for eligible students without medical insurance. Students who have their own health insurance may waive enrollment in the PSIP by submitting a waiver request. Failure to comply with the health insurance requirements will prevent registration for the upcoming semester.

Immunization Requirement
The University of Pennsylvania requires that all full-time students and all students living in campus housing meet the immunization requirements. Any student not complying with these requirements will have a hold placed on their registration. Detailed information about the immunization requirement is available through Student Health Services.

Academic Advising

Each student is assigned an academic advisor by their department. Dual-degree students have two academic advisors, one for each of their programs. Advisor assignments are accessible to students via their academic worksheet through PennInTouch. Advisors are the principal source of assistance to students in planning their academic program, seeking advice, and dealing with challenges as they arise. Students should plan to meet with their advisor at least once per term and are strongly encouraged to maintain consistent communication with their advisor throughout their degree program.

Continuous Registration

All Weitzman students must register during the fall and spring terms until all degree requirements have been met unless a leave of absence has been granted. To satisfy the continuous registration requirement, students must be registered for coursework, master’s thesis, or dissertation supervision for the fall and spring terms. Students are not required to register for summer term(s) unless their program of study requires summer coursework. A degree student who has not maintained active status by registering each fall and spring term and who has not been granted an official leave of absence will be withdrawn. Students who are withdrawn from the Weitzman School for inactivity are not eligible for readmission.

Using PennInTouch

All students register for courses through Penn's online registration system, PennInTouch, which is accessed via the Penn Portal. Under "Registration and Academic Info," students can click the "Register for Courses" link. Students can also use the Course Search Tool by clicking on the "Course Search and Schedule Planning" link. Detailed information on utilizing PennInTouch can be found here.

A PennKey and password is required to access PennInTouch.

Before selecting classes, students should review the “Student Overview” section and their program worksheet in PennInTouch, and check to confirm the following information is correct on the student record:

  • Degree program
  • Expected graduation date
  • Accurate reflection of course waivers received (if applicable)

Students who find errors in their information should contact the Office of Student Services at des-studentservices@design.upenn.edu.

The following resources provide additional user support for PennInTouch:

Course Registration Procedures

Students are responsible for their own course registration. Continuing students receive registration materials via email one week prior to the start of Advance Registration. New students receive registration instructions via email in June.

Students whose programs require enrollment in the summer, and those who choose to enroll in summer courses, can do so during the advance registration period (the same time at which students register for fall courses). Unlike fall and spring registration, summer registration is on a first-come, first-served basis.

Students are strongly encouraged to meet with their academic advisor prior to registering for the next term. This is an opportunity for students and their advisor to ensure that their plan of study and planned course registration meets their degree requirements. Students with questions regarding the registration process may contact the Weitzman School Office of Student Services: des-studentservices@design.upenn.edu or 110 Meyerson Hall.

Advance Registration

Advance registration is a two-week period in which students enter requests for the courses in which they would like to enroll. Student enter their course preferences in priority order anytime during the advance registration period. This is not a first-come, first-served process, so there is no advantage to registering early and no guarantee that students will be enrolled in all of their requested courses. At the end of the advance registration period, the system will then schedule all students’ requests based on availability. Course demand impacts whether students are enrolled in all of the courses they requested. Approximately two weeks after the advance registration period closes, student schedules are posted in PennInTouch. If a student does not receive a full schedule, or if they wish to change their course selections, they may begin revising their schedule when the Registration system opens and the Add/Drop period begins. The Add/Drop period begins about three weeks after the close of the advanced registration period and runs through the second week of the term for which a student is registering.

All continuing Weitzman students are required to request courses during the advance registration period.

Advance Registration Tips:

  • Since Fall and Spring terms utilize the advance registration system, which is a priority registration system (not first-come, first-served), students should give highest priority to the courses in which they are competing for a seat (popular and/or elective courses).
  • Multi-activity courses require registration for all co-requisites (i.e., lecture and recitation). Register for the credit-bearing portion first, and the non-credit bearing portion next.
  • Give low priority to courses that require a permit. Students who have secured a permit are guaranteed a seat, so there is no need to waste a higher priority spot for a class for which a student is guaranteed a seat. Remember: students sill need to submit a registration request for courses for which they have secured a permit.

Holds

Students who have an active hold on their account will not be permitted to register for the upcoming term. Active holds are accessible under “Student Overview” in PennInTouch. The Weitzman Registrar and the Weitzman School Office of Student Services cannot clear student holds. It is critical that students follow up with the department placing the hold (usually SRFS or SHS) as soon as possible to rectify the situation.

Course Selection: Overview

Students may search for courses using the “Course Search and Planning Tool” via the Student Portal. This tool allows students to search for courses by criteria such as subject, time of day, and instructor; review course details and descriptions; and then develop/plan potential schedules. When selecting courses, students should refer to their degree requirements as noted in the Catalog, PennInTouch worksheet, and relevant department website and materials. Students with questions about degree requirements should consult their academic advisor.

Course Selection: Adding and Dropping Courses

Student utilize PennInTouch to add, drop, or change a course or section. Changes in a student’s course registration are permitted only during the established registration add/drop periods (reference the Weitzman School Academic Calendar for specific add/drop deadlines). Only in special circumstances will a student be allowed to make changes to their registration after the add/drop period has ended. To do so, the student must submit a completed and approved Late Add/Drop Request form. If approved, the request will be processed and the student’s bill will be adjusted, if applicable. The student will receive confirmation by email. Registration transactions during the add/drop period are real-time transactions. This means that all requests are filled on a first-come, first-served basis, unlike during the Advance Registration period.

Course Selection: Permits

If a course is listed as “Permission Needed from Department” a student cannot register for the course without intervention from the home department. If the department approves the student to take the course, the department will issue a permit for the student. Issuance of a permit does not guarantee a seat; it simply allows a student the opportunity to register for the course. As a result, it is critical that students who secure a permit for a course register for the course as soon as they have received confirmation that their permit has been issued.

Contact information to request a permit in each Weitzman department is:

Course Time Conflicts

Students who are considering enrolling in courses that overlap must secure permission from both instructors for a time conflict override, and forward the approval to the Weitzman Registrar for processing. Without a time conflict override, the registration system will drop both courses from the student’s schedule. The system does not recognize that a student can be in two places simultaneously.

Course Withdrawals

Students wishing to drop a course after the end of the course selection and add/drop deadlines must request to withdraw from the course. Students may petition to withdraw from the course up until the final day of the class by completing a course withdrawal form. The course withdrawal form must be completed by the student and approved by the course instructor and the student’s department chair. If approved, the registration for the course remains on the student’s record and the notation of “W” is placed as a permanent entry in the grade section of the student’s transcript. The “W” does not affect the student’s grade point average. There is no refund for course withdrawals.

After the last day of classes, withdrawals are not permitted. Students who have a serious and compelling extenuating circumstance may submit a written petition to the Weitzman School Office of Student Services to grant a late withdrawal for a course. Students petitioning for an exception must obtain support from the course instructor and their department chair.

Changes in a student’s registration may affect financial aid, billing, and academic standing. Students are strongly encouraged to review the tuition refund policies, meet with Student Financial Services, and consult the Office of Student Services before withdrawing from a course.

Withdrawal (W) grades do not count towards international student’s full-time status requirements. International students are strongly encouraged to consult International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) before completing paperwork to withdraw from a course.

Waiving and Substituting Courses

In some instances, students with a specialized background in a subject will be given permission by their academic department to waive a required course. A course waiver only waives the course requirement; it does NOT reduce the total course units needed to complete the degree. The course unit(s) must be completed by registering for a substitute course. Course waivers are handled at the department level. Students seeking course waivers should seek assistance from their academic department regarding the process to waive a course. The department will submit the appropriate paperwork to the Office of Student Services for processing. When the waiver has been formally applied to the student’s record, the student will receive confirmation by email that the waiver has been processed. Students with pending waiver requests should enroll in their required courses and then update their course schedule after their waiver request(s) has been approved, processed, and confirmed.

Elective Courses

Weitzman students may complete their elective coursework in their academic department, another discipline at the Weitzman School, or in another school at the University. Students are strongly encouraged to review their elective course selections with their academic advisor to ensure that those courses will count toward the degree requirements. Elective coursework taken outside of the Weitzman School must be numbered 500 and above (which indicates it is a graduate level course). For Weitzman students enrolled in a graduate degree and a certificate program, the student’s certificate coursework fulfills elective course requirements. As a result, certificate courses are double counted towards both degrees. Courses cannot fulfill three degree requirements.

Review the complete list of Weitzman electives by term.

Independent Study Courses

Students interested in pursuing an individual study project should obtain a Request for Independent Study form. The student should then approach a faculty member and obtain agreement from them to direct their project. It is the responsibility of the student to define the individualized project. The student must obtain the appropriate signatures from their advisor and department chair. Independent Study courses may not duplicate other courses offered during the semester. Students should bear in mind that faculty members are not required to supervise an Independent Study course. If approved, the student submits the completed and approved form to the Weitzman School Office of Student Services for processing. The student will receive confirmation by email.

Registering for Courses in Other Penn Schools

If a student’s program allows for elective courses, the student may fulfill those courses by takinga course at another graduate or professional school at the University. Graduate level courses have a course number of 500 or higher. Courses with numbers below 500 are undergraduate courses and DO NOT count towards a student’s Weitzman degree requirements without written approval from the department chair. Students should always check with their department before enrolling in a course in another school to ensure the course will count towards their degree program. Students are required to follow the registration policies and procedures of the home school to enroll in a course outside Weitzman.

Enrolling in Wharton courses

Weitzman students interested in enrolling in courses in Wharton cannot register for those courses through PennInTouch. To enroll in a Wharton course, students must attend the first course, obtain the instructor’s signature on the Non-MBA Registration Request Form, and then bring the form to the Wharton MBA office and wait to hear from Wharton about whether the student has secured a seat in the course. Please note: this process can’t be completed before the start of the term and students must attend the first class!

The Weitzman School has a limited number of dedicated seats in the following Wharton courses:

  • REAL 721: Real Estate Investment: Analysis and Financing
  • REAL 804: Real Estate Law
  • REAL 821/ARCH 768: Real Estate Development

The seats in thee courses listed above are distributed first to students who have been admitted to the Real Estate Design and Development certificate, then to students in the PPD concentration in City Planning, and then, if seats are still available, to all Weitzman School graduate students. Please note that these courses have pre-requisites. No seat will be distributed to a student without the required pre-requisite courses.

Questions regarding enrolling in Wharton courses should contact the Weitzman School Registrar, Dana McElroy, at mcelroyd@design.upenn.edu.

A note about Law courses

The Law School uses a semester hour (SH) system, rather than a credit unit (CU) system. Law courses that are 2 SH are the equivalent of .67 CUs and 3 SH courses are the equivalent of 1 CU. Students should take note of the semester hours when registering for a Law course to ensure that it translates to enough CUs to meet the Weitzman degree requirements. In situations where students want to take a 2 SH course but need the equivalent of 1 CU, they can work with the instructor of the Law course to undertake additional assignments during the semester to increase the "weight' of the course. Notification of additional work and a change in SH value needs to be sent to the Registrar's Office at the Law School. For assistance in coordinating this process, students may contact Weitzman Student Services.

Registering and Receiving Credit for Undergraduate Courses

Courses with a course number lower than 500 are considered undergraduate courses. Weitzman School students can register for undergraduate level courses, but credit will not be granted towards their graduate degree program. If an undergraduate level course is deemed essential to attaining specific skills or knowledge in order for a student to meet their academic goals, then credit may be granted. In order to receive credit for an undergraduate course, the student must submit a written request to their department chair outlining why the course is necessary for their studies. After reviewing the petition, the department chair will notify both the student and the Weitzman School Office of Student Services of the decision. Credit for an undergraduate course will only be granted upon written approval from the student’s department chair. If a student is enrolled in a dual-degree program, the student must receive permission from both department chairs to receive credit for an undergraduate course. Upon receipt of approval, the Weitzman School of Student Services will make the appropriate adjustment to the student’s academic record and worksheet, and send the student confirmation by email.

Auditing Courses

Students who wish to attend the class sessions for a course without completing the assignments or taking examinations may audit the course. Auditing a course requires permission of the instructor. To audit a course, the student should contact the Weitzman School Office of Student Services for assistance. If approved, the student will not receive credit for the course, but it will appear on the official transcript with “AUD” in the grade column.

  • All Weitzman School courses require permission to enroll for an audit grade.
  • Students interested in enrolling in a course for an audit grade must have the instructor’s permission. The student is responsible for requesting permission and forwarding the approval to the Registrar for processing.
  • Instructors are not required to grant requests to take a course for an audit grade.
  • Instructors may or may not require participation and course work for audit grades.
  • Audit grades do NOT count towards degree requirements.
  • Audit grades do NOT count towards full-time status for International Students
  • Tuition/Fees for Audited Courses:
    • Full-Time (3-5 CUs): full-tuition and fees for audit coursework
    • Part-Time (2 CUs or less): full-tuition and fees by course unit for audit coursework
    • Overload (more than 5 CUs): no additional charge for audit coursework 

Dual Degree Programs

The Weitzman School places great emphasis on interdisciplinary study and offers a series of dual-degree options to enable students to take their creative and intellectual study and research across conventional departmental or progarm boundaries.

Students may pursue two Master's Degrees concurrently by participating in a dual-degree progarm. Dual degree options exist between programs within Weitzman and other schools in the University. Dual degree applicants must apply and be accepted to each program/school. Students who have been admitted to one program may apply for admission to a second program within the first year of beginning their studies. (These policies also apply for admission into certificate programs.) If admitted, students must work with the Chairs of the respective programs to agree upon the sequence and timing of courses to be taken.

Each department/program designates an advisor for its dual-degree programs. The dual-degree may involve joint courses, studios or independent studies in which the student can be expected to address issues that emerge from and engage both areas of study. Some of these cross-disciplinary opportunities are built into the dual-degree programs. However, others will be determined on an individual basis or according to the changing schedules of course and studio offerings.

All dual-degree students in programs offered with Weitzman are required to complete an electronic advising worksheet accessible via PennInTouch and have it approved by each department's chairperson. Dual-degree students in programs in other schools must file an approved study plan with the Office of Student Services, 110 Meyerson Hall, within the first term of matriculation into the dual-degree program.

Interdisciplinary requirement: In cases where dual-degree students are not required to complete a joint interdisciplinary thesis or final project, each student will be required to submit one upper level course or studio project, taken in either department (or program), to advisors in both departments as evidence of an investigation simultaneously broaching topics in both disciplines.

Credit earned in a course taken jointly may apply towards both degrees. A course cannot be used to fulfill more than two requirements.

For dual-degree programs offered within Weitzman, the amount of aid, both need- and merit-based, offered by one Department will be maintained by the second Department participating in a given dual-degree program.

Students completing a dual-degree within Weitzman complete both degrees in the same term and must submit a graduation application for each degree. Weitzman dual-degree students may not receive their degrees in separate terms. Weitzman students enrolled in a dual-degree program at another school at the University must comply with both school's policies and procedures regarding applying for graduation, degree eligibility, and commencement participation.

Review the dual-degree programs offered at Weitzman.