Wait List Information

Unless a course explicitly announces another policy, all CPSC courses use Workday's automatic waitlist management system. Please review the Workday Students documentation for authoritative information on this.

Briefly: As a seat becomes available, Workday automatically offers it to a student who meets any restrictions on the seat, ordering students by registration date. (Many seats in CPSC courses are restricted to students in CPSC specializations.) Each offer expires after 24 hours. To accept an offer, you must be able to register for a primary or "lecture" section for the course and any secondary sections like a "lab" or "tutorial/discussion".

Some notes on CPSC policy:

  • Advisors can NOT answer questions about waitlist position. Neither advisors nor course instructors run UBC's automatic waitlist system.
  • CPSC 110 has its own waitlist policy.
  • CPSC 310 does not allow registration by non-CPSC specialization students, regardless of waitlist status.
  • Because most CPSC courses have large reserved seat pools for CPSC specialization students, such students have substantial waitlist priority: CPSC specialization-reserved seats will only be offered to them. CPSC specialization students have NO special priority for unrestricted seats.
  • In some cases, we may transition restricted seats to general availability for the waitlist as the add/drop deadline approaches but NOT at the request of an individual student.
  • Unfortunately, students who applied and were admitted via the CPSC specialization application process for a CPSC minor do not qualify for CPSC specialization restricted seats. Instead, please register for your full set of planned CPSC courses and waitlists and then request registration assistance (once) for manual priority on CPSC waitlists. Caution: Simply having a signed minor form is NOT being admitted to the CPSC specialization process.
  • Because of the 24-hour expiration on offers, some seats may not be filled when the add/drop deadline arrives. The CPSC department will NOT take manual action to fill such seats. Instead, CPSC courses account for this by overbooking slightly from the start.
  • To take a waitlist seat offer, you must be able to register for any secondary section (lab or tutorial/discussion) associated with the course. CPSC advising can NOT help you with this. See Labs & Tutorials/Discussions for more information.
  • CPSC specialization students who will be graduating imminently can receive assistance registering for needed (not preferred) courses to facilitate graduation. You will not necessarily be admitted to your first choice of courses. You can find the application form here. Read it carefully, and then attach the completed document to the 'Request for Registration Assistance' webform.

Advising requests that disregard or contradict the notes above will generally be denied without clarification.

CPSC courses are in heavy demand and often have long waitlists. If you hope to register for a course and there are no seats available, register for its waitlist(s) without delay! We also urge you to talk with CPSC advising well in advance of your registration date to make plans and backup plans in case you have difficulty registering in the courses you prefer.

Frequently Asked Questions


What are my chances of getting into a full course, assuming I've registered on the wait list?

Each course and each term is different, and your chances of getting in can be hard to predict.  Prior to Workday Students about 10-20% of seats became free in most courses as students' plans changed. As of this writing, we do not have data about changes in the new Workday Student system, which substantially changes waitlist functionality.

The wait list in CPSC xxx is enormous.  Why don't you add more seats and/or another section?

We try to meet demand for our courses.  However, additional seats require additional teaching assistants, bigger lecture halls, and, in many cases, more lab and tutorial/discussion space.  Furthermore, new sections require an additional instructor.  Thus, it may not be possible to meet the demand in all courses.

Do you have any tips about what I can do to avoid getting on a wait list during the next school year?

Be sure to register for courses as soon as your registration time becomes available.  UBC registration dates are impacted by GPA. So, your best chance of avoiding a wait list is to improve your GPA while making good progress in your courses.

If you are a non-CPSC student, and you really like computer science, you may wish to consider transferring into a CPSC degree program, such as one of our CPSC combined majors.  This will allow you to access seats reserved for CPSC specialization students.

Next, be sure you register for the waitlists for any section that would work for you, even if it isn't your preferred time. You may never be offered a seat at your preferred time!

Finally, some CPSC courses are available in the summer session. If you have trouble getting into a CPSC course in the winter session, consider the upcoming summer.