How Enrollment Works


Why do I need to sign up in advance for an IntroSem?

The IntroSem sign-up process communicates your interest in the seminar topic and allows the faculty member to begin to get to know you. One of the purposes of an IntroSem is to promote formulation of relationships between faculty and students around common intellectual interests.

To sign up for priority enrollment in Autumn IntroSems, frosh and sophomores need to submit a statement of interest in the sign-up database, the VCAIS, by 8:00AM (Pacific Time) on August 28, 2020. Autumn instructors only will assemble their classes from student sign-ups and selected students will be priority enrolled by September 10. Autumn seminars with space available will be opened to general enrollment in Axess starting Friday, September 11, 2020.

How to Sign Up

1. Browse the IntroSem catalog at ExploreIntroSems, select your seminars, and sign up for three IntroSems each quarter. Check out Dates and Deadlines.

2. Go to VCAIS to sign up. In a brief paragraph or two, respond to the following prompt. Written comments are required only for your first choice each quarter. Statements of interest for your second and third choices are optional. The prompt--

Pick something in the seminar description and explain why it grabs your attention. Perhaps it reminds you of a prior experience, inspires you to tell a story about yourself, or unearths a curiosity you didn’t know you have. Don’t worry if the story doesn’t seem relevant to the IntroSem. The purpose is for the professor to learn more about you as they assemble the class.

Note: Some IntroSems require responses to seminar-specific questions. Answer those regardless of how you rank the IntroSem. These faculty want to know more about you than the standard question reveals.

How Enrollment Works

Students who sign up for and are placed into an IntroSem will be automatically enrolled. Units are pre-loaded on study lists before Axess opens for general course registration each quarter (with the exception of Autumn Quarter; units will be loaded by September 10). You may be placed into more than one IntroSem each quarter depending on your choices.

When Axess opens, you may drop a pre-enrolled seminar yourself should your schedule change or you change your mind. In other words, you are not obligated to stay in your pre-enrolled seminar.

IntroSems that have spaces after the online placement process will open for self-enrollment. Visit the Space Available page for the latest updates.

Insider Tips

Are IntroSems required?

Although enrollment in an IntroSem is not required, many IntroSems satisfy university breadth requirements (Ways of Thinking, Ways of Doing) and in some departments, an IntroSem can fulfill a major requirement. All IntroSems count toward the 180 units required for an undergraduate degree.

Why do IntroSems have a special sign-up procedure different from other departmental classes in Axess?

The sign-up process communicates your interest in the seminar topic and allows the faculty member to begin to get to know you. One of the purposes of an IntroSem is to promote formation of relationships between faculty and students around common intellectual interests.

Do all seminars fill to capacity during priority enrollment?

Most seminars do not fill completely, but one-third of IntroSems generate more demand than space. High-demand subjects in the past have included chemistry, computer science, law, economics, and psychology. When there are more students than space, classes are assembled based on your written statements of interest. Most faculty choose a mix of students who bring different perspectives and levels of expertise. There are wait-lists for oversubscribed classes. Maximize your options by signing up for a variety of topics.

Can Frosh sign up for Sophomore IntroSems? (or vice versa)

Faculty will typically prioritize sophomores over frosh for Sophomore Seminars, while frosh receive preference for Frosh Seminars. Nevertheless, if a topic really interests you, do sign up as faculty are often open to enrolling either frosh or sophs in their classes. (Tip: Frosh IntroSem course numbers end in ‘N’ (e.g., BIO 12N). Sophomore IntroSem course numbers end in ‘Q’ (e.g., COMPLIT 11Q).) Faculty give priority to frosh and sophs over juniors and seniors.

Please note that frosh are not eligible to sign up for priority enrollment in Sophomore WRITE 2 IntroSems, IntroSems that fulfill the university's second-level writing requirement. Frosh are encouraged to factor this when making their quarterly VCA selections. There is one Frosh WRITE 2 IntroSem offered in Spring 2021 for which frosh can sign up for priority enrollment, Other People's Words: Folklore and Literature.

Should I sign up now or later?

Spaces are NOT allocated first-come, first-served. However, signing up for future quarters before you arrive on campus will ensure that you do not inadvertently miss the Winter, Spring, and Summer Quarter deadlines which may come at very busy times. Faculty consider all sign-ups after each quarterly deadline, August 28 for Autumn seminars, November tbd for Winter seminars, February tbd for Spring seminars, and April tbd for Summer seminars.

You will have the opportunity to revisit your choices and to sign up for more Winter, Spring, and Summer seminars when the sign-up system reopens after Autumn enrollments are released on September 10. Use the Annual Seminar Plan to keep track of your favorites for the year, then sign up in VCAIS.