Registration: Round 1

Students eligible to participate in registration may begin doing so in Round 1, which lasts a week and occurs in November (for spring classes) and April (for fall classes). The Registrar's Calendar details the exact dates and deadlines for each round of registration.


During Round 1, students may submit requests in Polaris for up to four, 1.0 credit classes and two additional 0.5 credit classes only. Students may choose to request fewer credits during Round 1 and Round 2, but all students must be enrolled full-time by the end of the first week of each semester.

Most Bowdoin courses earn 1.0 credit and a typical course load is 4.0 credits per semester. Students may not add a fifth, 1.0 credit class until an add/drop round of registration.

There are some situations in which students need to take fewer than 4.0 credits or more than 4.0 credits, but permission is required. Bowdoin's full course load policy is available in the Bowdoin College Catalogue and Academic Handbook.

Reviewing the process for navigating the Classfinder and how to register in Polaris, is strongly recommended, prior to participating in registration.

Curious if you're eligible to register? Eligibility requirements are available on the main course registration landing page.

All students have an ADVISOR HOLD at the beginning of the course registration cycle. The advisor hold is in place to ensure that students are consulting with their faculty advisors about their curricular plans and potential class schedule.

Students may submit course requests before the advisor hold is lifted, but the advisor hold must be released or their course requests will not be processed. 

During Round 1, students do not register for classes, they submit requests for their top-choice classes in Polaris for which they meet the eligibility requirements, regardless of class size, and there is no priority or penalty for when students participate during Round 1.

  • Course requests are processed with Bowdoin's registration algorithm and students receive seats based on the registration preference order established by the faculty, which can be found in the Classfinder along with other details, e.g., course description, by clicking on the 5-digit CRN (course registration number) to expand the information.
  • If there are more requests than available seats, 1 or more students will be shut out. They will have a bump up within their priority group during registration in a future semester for the same class.
  • All students are notified via email when the results of Round 1 are available and should check the "My Courses" section of Polaris to see which of their requests resulted in registrations and plan to participate in Round 2 if they were shut out of any classes. 

Degree Requirementsdetails about general requirements, like divisions and distributions, and major/minor requirements are available in Degree Progress and students are strongly encouraged to review their Degree Progress prior to participating in registration. To access Degree Progress, log into Polaris, and click "Degree Progress" in the "My Academic Profile" section.

Error Messages: if a course request does not process successfully after hitting submit, read the error message that appears at the top right of the screen carefully. Common error messages include a time conflict or a missing requirement. Reach out to the Office of the Registrar before the deadline if you are unable to resolve an error. The best way to reach us is by emailing 

Reserved Seating: in fall semesters only, some faculty choose to reserve seats in their courses for students who will be new to Bowdoin in the fall. Returning students may not register for one of those seats during Round 1, Round 2, or Add/Drop I.

Technical Difficulties: reach out to the IT Service Desk if you experience any issues with system speed or connectivity. They have a myriad of methods by which you can reach them

Textbook Information: the cost of course materials for each class is available in the Classfinder. Click on the 5-digit CRN (course registration number) to expand the details of the class, and click on "Order Books" - located underneath prerequisites. The corresponding ecampus page will launch in a new window and details the full list of course materials and options for obtaining them, e.g., rent or buy.