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Graduate Student Handbook: Registration

Registration Structure
New Student Information Sessions
  • Prior to the start of each term, ECE holds a general advisement session for students entering our graduate program. The specific dates and times of these sessions are announced to new students approximately four to six weeks before the term starts. Attendance at the advisement sessions is mandatory, even for recent bachelor's degree graduates of Georgia Tech.
  • Other Georgia Tech entities may also provide orientation/advisement sessions. Students are expected to be aware of these programs and to participate in those that apply to them.  
  • ECE makes every effort to schedule our advisement program so that it does not interfere with other sessions that ECE students may be required to attend.
Web-based Registration


Registration at Georgia Tech is divided into two phases:

Phase I Registration

Phase I is for continuing students and co-op students at work.  

  • Specific dates for this phase of registration are available on the OSCAR System and through the Registrar’s website.  
  • Current graduate students, especially those holding graduate research or teaching assistantships, are expected to register during Phase I.  
  • To provide maximum access to ECE graduate classes for our students, all ECE graduate level classes are restricted to ECE majors through the first phase of registration.  
    • Major restrictions are lifted after all ECE students have had ample opportunity to register.  
    • Failure to register during Phase I can limit access to popular ECE classes.  
    • Registering during Phase I enables the ECE administration to assess expected enrollments. Classes may be cancelled due to low enrollment in Phase I registration enrollment.  
Phase II, Registration/Schedule Changes
  • Newly admitted students, readmitted students, and continuing students who need to make schedule adjustments register during Phase II.  
  • Specific dates for this phase of registration are available on the OSCAR System and through the Registrar’s website.  
  • This registration period runs through Friday of the first week of classes for the term.
  • All students are required to pay their tuition and fees no later than the Monday after registration is closed. Failure to do so will result in a late fee being added to the assessment for the term.
  • Students who were not able to finalize their schedule during Phases I must do so during Phase II.
  • Phase II is the last chance students have to add courses to their schedules or to change hours on variable hour classes (for example:  ECE 8999, 7000, 8900, 9000).
  • Students may change the grade basis of classes listed with multiple grade options (e.g. letter grade, pass/fail, and audit). Changes from letter grade to audit can be made through the close of registration in each term. Changes from letter grade to pass/fail may be made through drop day of the term. However, ECE classes are generally offered with a single grade basis, so this option may not be available for ECE classes. Please check degree requirements before changing to an audit or pass/fail basis for a course.
  • There is no way to add classes after registration for the term closes at 4:00 p.m. on Friday of the first week of school.
  • Students should be aware of the difference between schedule changes made prior to the close of the final phase of registration for a term and withdrawing from (or dropping) a course between the close of registration and "Drop Day."  
Registration Restrictions
  • A student attempting to register for classes may not be able to do so because of registration restrictions that have been placed by an academic or administrative unit at Georgia Tech. A permit must be issued by the unit that placed the registration restriction before one is able to register.  
  • A registration hold may prevent registration until required documentation is provided to the Institute or a change in the student’s status or classification is made.  
  • The ECE Academic Affairs Office is able to assist in dealing with restrictions, but it may be necessary to seek assistance from another academic or administrative unit in some cases.  

Some of the registration restrictions that students may encounter include:

Campus Restriction
  • Georgia Tech classes are offered on campus in Atlanta, at Georgia Tech Lorraine in France, at Georgia Tech Shenzhen in China, and the Online Master’s Degree.
  • Registration is structured so that students can only register for the classes taught through the specific program and/or at the specific campus to which they were admitted.  
  • Students who attempt to register for classes in a program other than the one in which they are enrolled will receive a “CAMPUS RESTRICTION” error message. A student cannot take classes on different programs/campuses during the same term.
Major Restriction
  • Academic units may place enrollment restrictions on their classes to ensure that students in their major area have full access to the classes they offer. For example, ECE graduate level classes are restricted to ECE majors until the Monday of the second phase of registration. This way we can be sure that ECE students have access to our classes.  
  • Each academic unit determines its own criteria for awarding permits.  Students attempting to register for classes with this restriction receive a “MAJOR RESTRICTION” error message.  
  • Permits to override the “Major Restrictions” can only be issued by the academic unit that offers the classes.
  • Additional information regarding “Major Restrictions” can be found on OSCAR.  
  • The academic affairs office of the unit offering the class is also a good place to ask for a major restriction permit.
Maximum Hours Restriction
  • The maximum number of hours for which a student may register in fall or spring semester is 21; in summer term the maximum allowed is 16.  
  • Students attempting to register for more hours will receive a “MAXIMUM HOURS EXCEEDED” error message and must see the Registrar’s Office to request an exception.  
  • Students wishing to be approved for this exception should advise the ECE Graduate Affairs Office of their plans, as the Registrar’s Office will contact us for additional information regarding the request.
Permit Required
  • Some classes are set up so that no one can register for them without permission. Students attempting to register for classes with this restriction receive a “PERMIT REQUIRED” error message.  
  • In ECE, Special Problem (ECE 8901, 8902, 8903) classes are restricted to those with registration permits. ECE 8999 (Search for a Research Topic and/or Advisor) and ECE 8022 (Professional Communications Seminar) are also offered on a permit-only basis.
  • The “permit required” restriction for classes offered by other academic units can only be handled by the unit offering the class.
Time Conflicts
  • Students attempting to register for two classes that meet at the same time will receive a “TIME CONFLICT WITH XXXX” error message.  
  • Assuming that the instructors of both classes are willing to accommodate a student in this situation, a permit to register for both classes may be obtained. A time conflict form has to be signed by the student and both instructors to receive this permit.  
  • Students with “time conflict” permits must adhere to the on campus schedule for each class unless other arrangements are made with the faculty instructor(s).


Prerequisite Restriction

The faculty of the School of ECE expect that graduate students’ knowledge of mathematics should be equivalent or superior to that of a bachelor’s degree recipient in electrical or computer engineering at Georgia Tech. This expected mathematics knowledge includes the content of the following Georgia Tech courses:  

The course listings in the General Catalog of Georgia Institute of Technology and online contain information regarding class prerequisites.

  • Prerequisite requirements for graduate level (6000 and higher) classes are not hard-wired into the registration system. Students taking graduate classes may register for and take classes for which they do not have the specific prerequisite. Graduate students lacking prerequisites (or who are unsure as to whether they have the required background) for a graduate level class are encouraged to contact the course instructor for an assessment of their background before registering for the class.
  • Prerequisite requirements for undergraduate level (1000-4999) classes are hard-wired into the registration system.
    • Students attempting to register for classes with this restriction receive a “LACKS PRE-REQUISITE” error message.
    • Permits for ECE undergraduate classes are handled by the undergraduate advisors in the ECE Academic Affairs Office.
    • Graduate students seeking to enroll in undergraduate classes with prerequisites must file a registration permit through the web-based permit request system.
    • The ECE undergraduate advisors may require that students requesting prerequisite permits meet with them before a registration permit is awarded.
  • Prerequisite permits for classes in areas other than ECE are handled by the schools or departments offering the classes.


Course Overload Policy

A specific number of registration spaces are allotted for each class offered through Georgia Tech. When the number of students enrolled in a class reaches the allotted number, registration for that class is closed.   

  • Students attempting to register for classes that are closed will receive a “CLOSED SECTION” error message.  
  • Although ECE graduate level classes are very popular with ECE and non-ECE graduate students as well as some upper class undergraduate students, we do not accept requests from students to be considered for overloads into our graduate level classes. ECE makes every reasonable effort throughout registration to manage enrollment availability in order to accommodate as many ECE students as possible in our courses.  
  • Students attempting to register for a graduate class that is full should continue to monitor registration for openings. It is common for spaces to become available in classes that once appeared to be filled to capacity. This is especially true after the first few days of classes and throughout the final phase of registration.
  • To seek permission to register for a non-ECE course that is closed, students should contact the school or department offering the course and follow that academic unit’s overload procedure. Contact information for other academic units can be found in OSCAR.


Registration Holds

Registration holds are used by various Georgia Tech academic or administrative units as a way to get the attention of students. When a hold is issued, students cannot register for classes, remove classes from their schedules, withdraw from school, etc. A hold may even prevent graduation. A very brief explanation of the reason for the hold and an indication of the unit placing the hold are indicated in OSCAR.  

  • Holds can only be removed by the academic unit that placed the hold.  
  • Although the ECE Graduate Affairs Office can only remove holds that we have placed, we can help determine which unit placed a non-ECE hold if that is not clear.
  • To have a hold removed so that one may register (drop a class, withdraw from school, etc.), it is necessary to contact the unit that issued the hold.
  • Graduate students with registration holds placed by ECE must contact us via email through the “Contact Us” form or by coming to the ECE Graduate Affairs Office during regular office hours.


Proper Registration

Students who use the facilities and/or the services of Georgia Tech’s personnel (faculty, staff) in a term must be registered. Only students who have been approved for enrollment waivers in their graduating term or who are taking a term off from school are able to not be enrolled in a term.

  • Full-time enrollment for graduate students is defined as a minimum of 12 hours, at least 9 of which must be on a letter grade and/or pass fail basis. This status applies to the following groups of students:
    • International students (on F1 or J1 visas).
    • Students supported on fellowships, scholarships, and/or other sponsorships that require full-time enrollment to be eligible to receive funds.
    • Students supported with Graduate Research or Teaching Assistantships.
  • All students who are working on research should register for 21 hours in the fall/spring and 16 hours in the summer.  
    • Ph.D. students who have passed the Coursework Qualifier and selected a research advisor should register for ECE 9000.
    • M.S. thesis students should register for ECE 7000. Non-thesis M.S. students should not register for ECE 7000.
    • Students who are working on research but are not eligible to register for thesis hours should sign up for ECE 8900 under the professor who is directing their research.
    • All students who are registered for ECE 9000, ECE 7000 and ECE 8900 and are GRAs or funded by an entity that requires full-time status should register for 21 hours in fall/spring and 16 hours in the summer.
    • Students who are searching for a research advisor or research topic should register for ECE 8999, which is a permit-restricted class. For more details on ECE 8999 restrictions see “Variable Credit Hour Courses”.  
    • Students who are GTAs should register for ECE 8997 and GRAs for ECE 8998.


  • Students who have received a tuition waiver have to be enrolled full time. Full time status has to be maintained after dropping classes with a W grade. Students who are not enrolled full time or who lose the full time status after dropping classes will lose their tuition waiver and will be charged full tuition (around $15,000 for out of state students). Additionally, international students who lose full time status will fall out of compliance with their visa status and will be required to leave the country until their status is cleared.  
  • Summer term: All of the above requirements are in place during the summer semester, as summer is considered a standard term for Georgia Tech. Students who are on campus in summer term and meet one or more of the criteria above are expected to be registered on a full-time basis during that term as well.
    • International students (on F1 or J1 visas) may take summer term as a vacation term and may be permitted to register on a part-time basis in summer without jeopardizing their visa status. Visa requirements are independent of GTA/GRA requirements.
    • If students plan to be away from campus for a large part of the summer and, therefore, are not eligible to register as a full time student cannot hold GRA/GTA positions. They might be eligible to be hired as an hourly employee. Note that hourly employees are very limited in the number of hours that they can work.  


Change Course Grade Basis

In order to be able to make a change in the grade basis of a course, it must be offered with multiple options (letter grade, pass fail, and/or audit). With the exception of marker courses, ECE classes are only offered on a letter grade basis.  

Care should be taken to remain within the degree requirements when seeking to make grade basis changes for both ECE and Non-ECE classes. One could delay completion of the degree by opting to take a class on a pass fail or audit basis. ECE restricts the use of pass-fail hours toward graduate coursework requirements and does not approve the use of audit hours other than those associated with the marker courses.

Last revised July 30, 2021