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Office of International Studies and Programs

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Phone: +1-509-963-3612
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Central Washington University
Office of International Studies and Programs
Hebeler Hall 102
400 E. University Way
Ellensburg, WA 98926-7408

Finding Classes and Registration

Partner University Students Home Applying as an Exchange Student Finding Classes and Registration Accommodation J-1 Visa and Immigration Arrival & Orientation Student Life Employment


NB: The words “class” and “course” are used interchangeably in the US and are equivalent to “module” in the UK and “subject” or “unit” in Australia. The best equivalents to “course” as it is used in those countries would be “major” or “degree program”.

Enrollment Requirements

Minimum Enrollment:

Per the terms of the J-1 visa, students must register for a minimum of 12 CWU credits during each quarter they are here. In rare instances, the Associate Director of Education Abroad may approve a reduced course load on one of the following grounds:

  • Vacation
  • Medical illness
  • Bona fide academic reason
  • Non-degree program
  • Academic training
  • Final term

Maximum Enrollment:

Students may register for a maximum of 18 credits in a single quarter. Registration for credits above this threshold requires permission from the Associate Director of Education Abroad and will incur additional tuition and fees not covered by the exchange.

Online Classes:

Per J-1 visa regulations, exchange students may not include any online-only classes in their required minimum enrollment; therefore, students may only take online classes if they already have 12 credits of in-person or hybrid classes. When looking through the quarterly timetables, online classes will be clearly labeled.

COVID-19 UPDATE (13 SEPT. 2021): Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the US Department of State has issued temporary rule changes, giving students more flexibility to incorporate online-only classes into their schedules. At present, students must have a minimum of one (1) in-person or hybrid course per term to maintain eligibility. However, this could change for future terms.

Finding Classes

Academic Advising:

While we are happy to provide advice on navigating CWU, including its academic systems, academic decisions such as how CWU classes will apply to students’ degree programs and which CWU classes they should take generally should be made in consultation with their home university advisors.

Interpreting Course Numbers:

100 First Year, Remedial Typically for students who did not necessarily meet a specific entry requirement or need additional practice. Typically have substantial course fees.
101-199 Introductory (“First Year”)* Typically no prerequisites beyond basic math or English skills
200-299 Lower Intermediate (“Second Year”)*   
300-399  Advanced Intermediate (“Third Year”)*    
400-499  Advanced (“Fourth Year”)*   
500+ Graduate  Not Eligible for Exchange

*With some exceptions, the US education system is not as highly regimented as some other countries’ systems. Therefore, year designations are offered as an indication of what to expect from course content, rather than one of the year of study required of a student.

University Catalog:

The University Catalog contains brief descriptions of all classes taught at CWU; the descriptions also include any prerequisite that must be satisfied in order to register for the class. Students should only use the catalog for these descriptions in order to see if a given class may fit their academic needs. Students should not build a schedule exclusively from the catalog, as not every class contained therein will be available every term or even every academic year.

One department, Information Technology & Administrative Management, has posted its syllabi online, but the vast majority have not. If students need full syllabi in order to evaluate CWU courses for applicability to their home university requirements, they should send a request to Steve Cook, and he will contact the appropriate department(s).

Department Anticipated Offerings:

Some CWU departments have posted a schedule of projected quarterly course offerings, sometimes for multiple years and sometimes for less. These can help predict which courses will be offered during a student’s time and allow them to plan. Nonetheless, students should keep in mind that these are still subject to some change; they do not constitute a guarantee.

Unfortunately, there is no centralized repository of these schedules, so we have endeavored to link to the departments/programs websites where we have been able to find them. Even then, students may need to look through the options in the menu on the left of each page. Look for key phrases such as “anticipated course schedules”, “course offerings”, “quarterly” and the like. If you have trouble finding them, please feel free to reach out. However, please remember that the departments themselves are responsible for maintaining and updating these lists.

Anthropology and Museum Studies Apparel, Textiles and Merchandising Biological Sciences

Business (College of)

  • Accounting
  • Business
  • Economics
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Finance
  • Human Resource Management
  • Management
  • Management Information Systems
  • Marketing
  • Financial Planning
  • Supply Chain Management
Communication Craft Brewing Environmental Studies Geography Geology
Health Sciences Information Technology & Administrative Management (ITAM) Mathematics Philosophy & Religious Studies Physics
Political Science Psychology Sociology Theatre Studies Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

Term Timetables:

The quarterly timetables are the best resource for finding the courses offered in a particular term. However, the timetable for a given term is only published 2-3 weeks before registration for that term begins (see table below); therefore, students may need to use the previous year’s timetable in partnership with the department’s projected schedule to predict course availability.

This table is intended to help students predict when updated timetables should be available:

Fall Quarter Previous Spring Quarter Mid-May Late April to Early May
Winter Quarter Previous Fall Quarter  Mid-November Late October to Early November
Spring Quarter Previous Winter Quarter Mid-February Late January to Early February

The search engine with all quarterly timetables is accessible through the Office of the Registrar website. Scroll down the page until you find the “Search for Classes” link.


Exchange students are subject to all course prerequisites and will need to seek permission from the appropriate CWU department to register for the desired course. Departments will evaluate a student’s previous courses to determine whether they have the required background for the CWU course, though the stringency of this evaluation will depend somewhat on both the department and the course in question.


First Quarter:

For a student’s first quarter at CWU, we will use their Proposed Plan of Study to build a schedule and have Registrar Services register them for classes. Should a class have one or more prerequisites, we will contact the appropriate department for permission to register the student.

Subsequent Quarters:

While we are available to provide advice and assistance as needed, students are responsible for registering themselves for subsequent quarters through the MyCWU student portal. At CWU, students register “by appointment” with a date and time at which they are first able to complete registration assigned by the Office of the Registrar based, primarily, on their student status (e.g., freshman, sophomore, etc.). Generally, seniors are first, followed by juniors and so on. Our office will work with the Registrar to assign exchange students junior-level appointments, which usually fall within the second week of the pre-registration period. Students will receive notification once the appointments are assigned and will be able to see their appointment in MyCWU.

CWU’s online system will not have students’ courses from their home universities. Thus, it will not recognize whether they have satisfied prerequisites based upon them and likely will block students from registering for the CWU course. Therefore, students will have to obtain permission to register from the instructor. Students should contact the instructor to introduce themselves and make an appointment to meet and then, at the meeting, and explain the class they wish to take and any relevant background they have. In some cases, the instructor can provide a code students can enter into MyCWU when registering and, in other cases, the instructor will need to sign a blue registration form, which the student then takes to the Office of the Registrar.

Schedule Change Period, a.k.a. “Add/Drop”:

There is a period during the first week of every quarter for students to make changes to their schedules freely, colloquially known as the “add/drop” period. Unless otherwise given permission, exchange students must be registered for the 12-credit minimum by the end of this period in order to comply with their visa requirements. NB: The same issues with prerequisites will be found during this period.

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