Enrollment Guidelines



Dear students, 


Welcome to the Math department - we are the only department in the university where you can take a mathematics class. Up to 80% of Berkeley undergraduate students take a class in our department at some point in their studies. As such, the department is committed to serving the academic needs of all students from all majors. With the high demand for our courses it is an ongoing challenge to provide a seat to every student that needs to take a class, so we appreciate your patience and consideration as we assist you!


Please read the following carefully, as it will help you navigate through the process of getting into a Math class. You will most likely be able to find the answer to your enrollment questions on this page. If you still have questions after reading through everything, please write to enrollment [at] math [dot] berkeley [dot] edu.



Math Department Student Affairs Team


If you are an undergraduate student interested in lower-division Math courses (e.g. Math 1A, 1B, 10A, 10B, 16A, 16B, 53, 53H, 54, 54H, and 55):

  1. Add the class through CalCentral.

  2. If the class has a Lecture (LEC) and a Discussion (DIS) section, you must sign up for both the lecture and one of the corresponding discussion sections. 

  3. If you cannot immediately add a class, you should try to put yourself on the waitlist. We are offering waitlists for all lower-division courses.

  4. Avoid adding a class or section you know ahead of time that you will not be able to attend. The Math Department is unable to manually switch you to another discussion section. If you have an extenuating circumstance and are unable to complete the section switch on your own, we will consider a limited set of exception requests for departmental assistance. Documentation may be requested by the department to support the exception. 

  5. Here are instructions for how to accomplish the discussion section switch on CalCentral: 

    • If you are enrolled in a course and need to switch discussion sections:
      If there is space in a discussion section (that is, if the number of enrolled students is lower than the enrollment limit for that discussion) you can switch into it yourself by going to CalCentral, clicking on "My Academics", going to the Class Enrollment card on the bottom right, and clicking on the "Options" link within the "Class Adjustment" section.  Select the course from the Drop-down menu.   Discussion sections which have space will be represented by a green circle.  You might have to click "View All" to view the complete list of discussion sections.  

    • A caveat!:  If you try to switch your discussion section to a full section and the course has a waiting list Cal Central will move you from enrolled to waitlisted for the course.) Using the “Options” link to switch sections is better than dropping and trying to re-add the class, especially if the class is impacted. If you wish to switch discussion sections and the semester has already begun it is best practice to check-in with your old and new Graduate Student Instructors (GSIs) to make sure that any scores you have already received are appropriately transferred to the new GSI. 

If you are a non-Math major undergraduate student interested in taking upper-division Math courses (E.g. Math 104, 110, 113, 128A, and 185):

  • During "Phase 1" of registration, seats in the above core courses will be saved for students who have a declared major in Mathematics or Applied Mathematics and for undeclared students in the College of Letters & Science.  Some seats will be reserved for students in the "Engineering Mathematics & Statistics" major (EMS majors will have second priority after Math and L&S students).

  • Non-Departmental Graduate students, undergraduates from outside of Letters & Science, and declared Letters & Science students who aren't double or triple majoring with Mathematics or Applied Mathematics can either add to the waitlist during Phase 1 or wait until Phase 2 to add these courses. At the end of Phase 1 students on waitlists will be added to any remaining seats before Phase 2 enrollment begins.


If you are an undergraduate student interested in taking a graduate course in the Math Department:

  • CalCentral does not allow undergraduate students to enroll or waitlist in graduate classes. On the Schedule of Classes, please check the Class Notes of the course that you are interested in, and follow the instructions to seek special permission to enroll. 
  • When you are sending an email to your instructor, always provide your full name and student ID number, as well as the information that your instructor requires (e.g. unofficial transcript, etc). 
  • Please note that graduate students have the first priority in these courses. Undergraduate students will be added only if there is extra space, which is determined after the start of instruction. 


If you are non-Berkeley student interested in taking a Math class:

  • Students at local high schools and colleges, UC employees, and others, can take UC Berkeley courses through UC Berkeley Extension's Concurrent Enrollment program. This program allows you, for a fee, to participate fully in the Berkeley class, have homework and exams graded, and receive an official course grade.

  • How to enroll:

Select the class(es) you wish to take on your UC Extension Concurrent Enrollment application. Note, however, that final enrollment is processed by the Department offering the class(es). Admission to a course as a Concurrent Enrollment student is only possible if all regular Berkeley students have enrolled. Thus, if a course has a high enrollment, it may not be possible to accommodate you, or you may have to choose one of the less-full sections, or wait until it is known whether there will be room.

If you are looking to enroll in Math 49, 196, 197, or 199:




- Here are a few things you can do to maximize your chances of getting into a course:

  1. Sign up for the wait list during Phase I.

  2. Pick a section with the least wait-listed students and most available seats.

  3. Make your first choice your best choice since you won’t be able to switch sections if you are on the waitlist.

  4. Avoid time conflicts since you won’t be enrolled in a class for which there is a time conflict. Note: Time conflicts include final exams.

  5. Consider less popular sections, such as 8am class or Friday discussions.

  6. Make sure to take care of any outstanding registration holds before your assigned Phase I appointment.

  7. Unit load max’s also will restrict auto-enrollment.


- How do the waitlists work?

  • Waitlists are processed automatically by CalCentral, not by the department. 
  • Waitlists are processed 4 times a day, and will enroll students automatically based on their position as long as there is also space in the discussion. 
  • Students waitlisted for a full discussion section or who have a schedule conflict will be passed over. Also be aware that if a student is fully enrolled in a class and then switches to a different discussion section that is full, the student will be put at the top of the waitlist since they were previously enrolled, but are no longer in an open discussion section. 
  • Please note that waitlists will stop processing by Friday of the third week of instruction. If you are still on the waitlist by that time, you should plan to take another class - the waitlists will be purged by the Add/Drop/Swap/Unit Change Deadline by the following mid-week. 


- Does the discussion section I choose have an impact on whether or not I'll get in the class?


Yes. You may not be able to enroll in a class if there are no seats available in the discussion section you choose. You may be able to add to the waitlist, but you will remain on the waitlist until a space becomes available for you in that particular discussion section. Keep in mind that you must be enrolled into the discussion section in order to be enrolled into the lecture.


- CalCentral says there's space, so why can't I get into the class?

If you see a green dot indicating there is space available in the class and you are still not able to enroll in the class, one of the following may apply:

  • No seats are available in the discussion section you are waitlisted for. Keep in mind that you must be enrolled in the discussion section in order to be enrolled in the lecture.

  • The available seats are reserved for specific students (e.g. Math majors) that you do not meet the criteria for. Check your Schedule Planner to see if this is the case.

  • You are enrolled in courses that have a time conflict with the lecture or discussion for the class. By design, the CalCentral enrollment system will not allow students to enroll or waitlist in courses that create a time conflict with another course in which they are enrolled or waitlisted. This includes potential conflicts in lectures and discussion sections. 

  • To resolve your time conflict:
    • You can drop the course in conflict.

    • If the overlap is with a section and you are enrolled, you can switch your discussion section via CalCentral.

    • You can contact the other department to request an enrollment override.

    • If your conflict remains unresolved by the beginning of instruction, the department cannot accommodate your enrollment.


- How can I maximize my chance of getting into a class if I'm currently on the waitlist?

If you are on the waitlist, stay on the waitlist. Dropping the class and adding it again later will drop you back down to the bottom of the waitlist, and if the waitlist for either the lecture or discussion you choose later is full, you will not even be able to add to the waitlist. Do be aware that if you are on the waitlist for a course you will not be able to change your discussion section using “Options”. Instead you will need to drop the class and re-add it, which will cause you to lose your previous wait list position number. You will be added to the bottom of the waitlist. Also, be aware that the "Swap Courses" feature cannot be used to switch discussion/lab sections. "Swap Courses" is only used to switch between courses/lectures.


- Can I use the “Options” function in CalCentral to change discussion sections if I am on a waitlist for a course? 

No. If you are on the waitlist for a course you will not be able to change your discussion section using “Options”. Instead, you will need to drop the class and re-add it, which will cause you to lose your previous wait list position number. Since you will then be moved to the bottom of the waitlist, we generally don’t recommend this as a strategy for those looking to get into the course faster. Also, be aware that the "Swap Courses" feature cannot be used to switch discussion/lab sections. "Swap Courses" is only used to switch between courses/lectures.