Office of the Registrar

Academic Scheduling Principles

Learn about Brown's academic course scheduling policies and principles.

 Overview of scheduling principles

  • Apply to all undergraduate and graduate level course offerings.
  • Achieve greater distribution by time in order to reduce course time conflicts and provide greater access to courses for students as well as foster equity across academic units in scheduling courses.
  • Curb the number of courses that must be capped due to room size, which would run counter to shopping period/and large number of open enrollment courses.
  • Facilitate the best possible match of a limited set of University-controlled classrooms, with an instructor’s instructional needs.
  • To have no more than 10% of all two or three day a week courses meeting at any one time or in case of seminar time-slots no more than 1/3 of seminars occupying a particular one day per week seminar slot.

How the scheduling principles are applied

  • For the 13 standard 2/3 day a week time slots (meeting patterns A-L), each department must utilize at least 10 distinct time slots before they can re-use a slot.
  • For the 5 standard seminar patterns (meeting patterns M-Q) they must be scheduled in sets of 3. No pattern may be re-used until at least 3 distinct patterns are utilized.
  • Non-Standard offerings are discouraged as they may ultimately result in a number of time conflicts for students as they tend to overlap with one or more of the 18 approved timeslots. Further doing so restricts student choice to take advantage of the full Brown curriculum. However, these are approved by the Office of the Registrar when the following is present:
    • A. The course is being offered in departmentally-controlled space
    • B. The course has an approved enrollment limit that is at or below the capacity of departmentally-controlled space(s) and will not exceed that limit. Note: University-Controlled space will NOT be provided in cases when departments exceed their own space capacity limits so if the class will exceed the limit you need to schedule according to standard time patterns and in compliance with the scheduling prinicples.
  • Violations in any time slot will only be approved in cases where the department is utilizing departmentally-controlled space with the same conditions (A & B) as applied for Non-standard meeting patterns.

For centers/departments offering language-based instruction courses that meet more than standard 2/3 times a week

  • Unlike departments which do not offer language based courses, these units often offer multiple course sections to deliver foreign language instruction that meet more than 2/3 times per week. This will automatically result in multiple scheduling violations. In light of that and to reduce an unfair advantage to these academic departments in scheduling non-language instruction courses, the following principles have been adopted:
    • The maximum number of language instruction course sections per department/center that can be offered in any given time slot is five. (Note: The only exception is the open Tuesday & Thursday 12 – 12:50 p.m. slot. In this slot the unit may offer up to six language sections)
    • If the department offers the maximum five language instruction courses, said department/center cannot also offer non-language instruction courses (topics, literature, culture, etc.) in those time slots unless they secure departmentally controlled space.
    • If the department offers less than the maximum five language instruction courses, said department can offer no more than one non-language instruction course (topics, literature, culture, etc.) in those time slots unless they secure departmentally controlled space.

Eligibility for limited Monday & Wednesday 2 day per week slot from 3-4:20 pm (T hour)

  • To be eligible department must have achieved complete schedule compliance using the principles set forth above AND the course proposed for this limited slot must have historical enrollments above 70 students.
  • Opportunity to propose a course will be made available at a point in the course offering cycle as deemed appropriate by the Office of the Registrar. Notification of course selection/non selection will be made prior to the February deadline for all course offerings so that courses not selected can be placed in standard timeslots as available and in compliance with scheduling principles.
  • Any course selected will have an enrollment limit placed upon it for that semester to comply with the size of the room in which it is placed. This limit should not be overridden by individual instructor as movement to alternative classroom is not possible.
  • Additionally, given the limited number of spaces available not all departments who meet the stated criteria may be able to secure one of these T hour slots. In those cases, those departments will receive priority in next academic year as long as the eligibility criteria remain satisfied.