Skip to main content

Course Registration for Incoming Students

Registration & Enrollment Processes

As an incoming exchange student, you are responsible for registering yourself in courses for your term(s) at UNC. You will need your ONYEN and password. Review the enrollment guide and instructions below carefully to prepare.

Enrollment Guide

Planning for Course Registration

The course offerings for the fall term will be available in February and the course listing for spring semester course will be available in October. To verify whether a course is offered:

  • Navigate to the Registration Guide
  • Click on the Schedule Planner and follow instructions on accessing the Class Schedule in Connect Carolina. Note that you must be admitted as an exchange student before you can access Connect Carolina.

Course Registration Timelines

  • Fall semester (August-December): begins in early April
  • Spring semester (January-May): begins in early November

Course Types (LEC, REC, LAB)

At UNC-Chapel Hill, there are different modes of instruction for students.

Lecture (LEC)

Most courses are taught in lecture style (LEC), where you sit in a classroom with other students as the instructor teaches the material. Sometimes the lectures are large. In those cases, instructors also schedule a mandatory recitation component (REC) to accompany the lecture.

Recitations (REC)

Recitation sections are like tutorials. For some classes, you have a lecture that you must attend between 1 and 3 times per week, as well as a recitation section you must attend once a week. Most of the time, courses that have a recitation component associated with them are very large lectures (between 100 and 500 people). The weekly recitation section is mostly used as a discussion section. These sections are led by graduate students who work under the professor, and you use that time to discuss readings and delve deeper into the material than the lecture can. This provides you with an opportunity to get to know certain students in your class, and to get more out of the lecture sessions. Both lecture attendance and recitation attendance are mandatory, and taking the recitation section alone does NOT grant any additional credit for the course.

Laboratory (LAB)

Some lecture courses also have lab components (LAB), where students meet typically once a week for three or four hours at a time to have hands-on experience with the material. Unlike recitations, labs have their own credit outside of the lecture, meaning that it is not always mandatory that you take the lab component at the same time you’re taking the lecture. For example, say you want to take our Introduction to Biology course, BIOL 101. If you’ve already taken BIOL 101 but you didn’t take the lab component, you could just take BIOL 101L (the L designates the course as being a lab) for 1.0-hour credit. If you didn’t need to take the lab, you could just take BIOL 101 for 3.0 credits. If you had to take both the lecture and the lab at the same time, you would sign up for both BIOL 101 for 3.0 credits and BIOL-101L for 1.0 credit.

The abbreviations LAB, LEC, and REC are what are used to designate the different course types in our ConnectCarolina system. Make sure when you are signing up for courses that you pay attention to these abbreviations so you can ensure you’re taking the right type of courses.

Section Numbers

Oftentimes, courses are so popular or necessary that multiple instructors teach the same course during a semester. To differentiate between the different instructors who teach the course and the times when they teach it, each course has a section number (001, 002, 003, etc.). If a course you need to take has more than one section offered, you have the flexibility to choose whichever section best fits your schedule. If the section you choose fills up and is closed, there is a chance you can take another section of the same course at a different time.

Course Minimums & Maximums

Undergraduate students are required to enroll in a minimum of 12 credits per semester. Graduate students are required to enroll in a minimum of 9 credits per semester.

Generally, lecture courses are worth approximately 3 credits each. Some courses are worth 4 credits if they meet more often (e.g., beginner foreign language courses), and other courses are worth 3 credits for the lecture, and 1 credit for the lab.

It is recommended that you are enrolled in at least 12, and preferably 15 credit hours prior to your arrival. Though you technically only need 12 credits to remain full-time in compliance with your student visa, please try to enroll in at least 15 credits during your enrollment appointment.

Many students start off the semester taking between 15 and 18 credits, then drop down to 12 credits once they have been to a few weeks of classes and can determine what they want to keep on their schedule. The most important thing to remember is that UNC’s minimum is 12 credits, but your home university may require you to take more (but not less) than our minimum.

Summer exchange students are required to enroll in a minimum of 4 credits per summer session. Since many of the courses are 3 credits each that would probably require to be enrolled in 2 courses per summer session. The course offering for summer school can found here.

Please make sure to obtain the necessary course and credit approvals from your home university.