Other Scheduling Guidelines

View more information below.

Scheduling Distribution Guideline (SDG)

The Scheduling Distribution Guideline (SDG) is designed to ensure an equal distribution of classes throughout the week and within a day of the week to help units schedule all sections and components more efficiently and to improve access to courses for students.  This has a positive impact on the student experience as it improves time to completion when students are able to take all of their required and desired courses each term. The goal is to encourage units to better distribute their course offerings throughout the day and week.

A standard and efficient scheduling model involves the following and assumes each classroom on campus could house up to 15 standard 3 hour course sections per week between the approved academic hours of 8:00 am to 5:00 pm.

Based on this, each Department/Faculty can calculate their SDG number as:

SDG = total # of components scheduled / 15

This way the SDG is proportional to the size of the Department or Faculty offering these courses. It can also be calculated down to the program level, or by type of component (lab, lecture, tutorial) or other criteria to help areas identify which aspect of their schedule requires better distribution. For every course that is less than 3 hours per week, this helps your distribution and makes it easier to meet your SDG.

For example, the Department of Math offers 206 components in Winter 2020 term. 206/15 = 13.73. Their SDG is 14. So their goal should be to have no more than 14 classes scheduled at any one time of day. Units that are in violation of their SDG number will be reviewed more closely and if required, will need to explain why they need more sections at those specific times. However, if it comes down to prioritization of who gets a classroom over another unit, the unit not in violation of their SDG will get priority for a centrally scheduled classroom. Similarly courses from units not in violation of SDG will get priority access for Taylor Institute classrooms and other higher demand spaces.  

Note that most units are already in compliance with their SDG and will not need to re-jig aspects of their schedule to align with this scheduling guideline.

Topic Courses

  1. The University recognizes that student learning can be enhanced by providing students the opportunity to go beyond the usual curriculum thereby enriching a program of study. Topic Courses are one of the methods through which such enhancements may occur. Formal topics courses, both the shell and specific topic, should be proposed with the normal course submissions process and require faculty approval and approval of the Calendar and Curriculum Subcommittee and are listed in the University of Calgary Calendar.  Informal topics courses contain content that varies from year to year and/or from instructor to instructor. The variability in content is sufficiently large that it would be appropriate for students to gain credit for taking multiple ‘versions’ of this course. These courses may also be used to offer instruction in a specialized area that is only possible due to the presence of short-term/visiting faculty. If a particular version of a Topics Course is offered more than five times, it should be submitted for formal approval as a unique course with a unique description to be included in the University Calendar.
  2. Informal topics courses may be approved at the 300 level and above.
  3. Informal topics courses are identified in the Calendar in the form of a ‘shell’ that defines the broad field of study with titles such as ‘Topics in …’ or ‘Special Topics in …” Academic approval of the ‘shell’ will follow the normal course approval process.
  4. Given that students may receive credit for multiple versions of a selected informal topics course, such courses will have a subtitle description to differentiate one version of the course from another on student transcripts. Approval of the subtitle is by the Dean (or designate) and provided to the Office of the Registrar annually via the online submission form. Please note the title may be no longer than 28 characters.  The title will appear online to students and on their transcripts.
  5. Academic units may choose to limit the number of credits a student may accumulate from Topics Courses.
  6. Both formal and informal topic courses must match the GFC hours and grading scheme as stipulated by the shell course and must be scheduled as such.

TBA Courses

TBA courses are strongly discouraged at the University of Calgary. It is important to know where people are on campus in case of emergency. It is also important for government reporting that we have an accurate record of room usage. For students, it is in their best interest if they know when and where they are expected to be during the week, and they also need to know what the expectations on their time might be. Course hours are indicated by GFC, thus TBA courses cannot be monitored to ensure that they are meeting the hours as set out by the academic community. Because of these reasons, the following guidelines must be followed.

Undergraduate Courses may not be listed as TBA unless they are designated:

  1. Independent study/Self-directed study
  2. Honours research study
  3. Practicum
  4. Field study
  5. Web-based
  6. In the Academic Calendar as being taught in a web-based, off-campus or ad-hoc manner for all, or portions of a course.

Graduate Courses in addition to meeting the above criteria may be designated TBA:

  1. Until the end of the first week of classes only, otherwise if they do not meet the instructional mode requirement, they must be scheduled.

Editing Class Notes

Class notes are entered into Maintain Schedule of classes in PeopleSoft and can be specific to sections or components. These notes are visible to all students and staff in the student center when they register for courses. It is important that we have consistency and that notes are reviewed annually to ensure that the information is correct. The following are guidelines for creating good class notes.

Class notes are visible to students in their Student Centre, it is important that these notes contain consistent and accurate information. Good notes are concise, relevant to the student who is considering registration in the class, and absent of irrelevant or incorrect information. When writing a note, consider the fact that it might be rolled year to year, so do not include dates or details that might not be caught in the scheduling of classes in the following year. Following the guidelines below will help ensure that the information is more easily maintained.

In an effort to make notes clearer to students, the scheduling office has created standardized notes for department use. You may select any of these notes, add multiple notes where applicable and request new notes to be created when they are applicable to multiple courses or sections. The benefit of standardized notes is that we can edit them in a single place that would then apply to all courses and sections that have used that note. For example, if we had used standardized notes that referenced Blackboard, when Blackboard changed to D2L, we could have edited it in one place that would have changed the reference to blackboard in all courses that had previously used it. Unfortunately, when we were not using standardized notes, someone had to manually search for all notes that referenced blackboard and then go into each course and edit the note.

Helpful notes include generic information on things such as field trips, supplemental fees, required attendance at out of class assessments or presentations, or anything else that may be unique to the course and helpful for a student considering registration.

When creating class notes, they should NOT contain the following:

  1. Reference to classroom information. These notes are used year-to-year so that information is not always accurate.
  2. Reference to personal contact information in a department. Again, because staff may change year to year. Request students to contact the department via a generic email or refer them to your website.
  3. Reference to dates of any kind. Dates are published on the website and are linked to the class. For example this year, a number of block week dates were referenced in the notes that were incorrect. Any unique date information should be communicated directly to students via the course outline once they have enrolled in the course, otherwise it should be listed in the PeopleSoft system and already available to the student.
  4. Any prerequisite or restriction information. This information is available elsewhere. A standard note may be added that refers student to the specific webpage where the student can find more information on restrictions.
  5. ALL CAPS IN THE NOTES. Use regular font, changing the size does not help.
  6. Exact Supplemental fee amounts. The note should reference that the course may be subject to a mandatory supplemental fee (note #4) and refer the students to their student center where this may be found in their fee assessment.
  7. Repetition of information such as meeting days, or site. In the Student Centre it lists this information directly above the class notes, thus the information is unnecessary.
  8. Reference to Blackboard. Systems change, may be best to indicate the online learning system in a generic manner and include specifics on your website. Or include a standardized note that indicates D2L will be used for portions of the class.

The difference between Class Notes and Class Comments, are that the comments are only visible to the scheduling office and yourself, while Notes are visible in the class search function. Use Class Comments to let the scheduling office know of any course specific scheduling requests such as back to back instructors, and required medical accommodations.

Concurrently Offered Courses vs. Cross-Listed Courses

Concurrently Offered Courses: Two or more courses that may carry different numbers, titles, and descriptions and sometimes prefixes that are offered at the same time in the same classroom. Must be approved by the dean or designate and submitted to the Registrar's Office for implementation.


  • Courses can be considered for being offered concurrently when there is a pedagogical advantage of having two different groups of students interacting with each other to enhance the educational experience. This may be permitted on the understanding that students will have different assignments and examinations, depending on the course in which the student is registered. If this is not taking place, then there is a need for only one course to be offered.
  • Typically a student will not earn credit in both the junior and senior level concurrently taught courses when taught in different semesters. If this is the case, you must consider the value for the student who may have already attended the junior course and whether or not there is significant enough difference between the courses to allow a student to attend it twice.
  • The GFC hours should be similar or match between two combined courses. If they do not match, then the course with more hours should plan how that course is going to provide the additional hours of instruction and what that means for the students who do not receive that instruction.

Cross-Listed Courses: Two courses from different teaching units that carry the same title, number and description. Cross-listing of topics courses is not permitted.  Cross-listing is indicated on the official transcript and thus is a formal and permanent decision that must be approved through the Calendar and Curriculum approval process. Once two courses have been determined to be cross-listed, then they must always be offered together. Cross-Listed courses may have the same course outline and assessments, but these must be approved by calendar as a purpose for creating these two identical courses under two different Departments or Faculties. For example it might make sense if one program has strict entrance requirements and does not offer courses external to their faculty (ie. nursing) but it would make sense to cross-list say a nursing class with a neurology class that is the same in content but awarded differently within their respective degrees.

Restrictions - Prerequisites vs. Reserve Capacities

2021-2022 Reserve Capacities

Reserve Capacity dates for 2021-2022:

I. Tuesday, April 12, 2022 – intended for upper level courses to reserve seats for Majors during continuing registration

II. Tuesday, June 28, 2022 – intended to give priority registration to all first year students; this should be the primary date for most restrictions except for high demand and required first year courses.

III. Tuesday, July 26, 2022 – intended to give extended priority to Majors, for high demand, required courses only.

IV. Tuesday, August 23 - this date is for MATH 249/265 ONLY

Example of potential reserve cap laddering: March 1 – July 5 – reserve all seats to students with less than 30 units completed, and admitted to the Major; July 5 – July 29, reserve all seats to students admitted to the major or minor so students admitted late, transfer students or students in the major who couldn’t complete the course in the previous year still maintain priority access. After July 29, the course will be accessible to all students who meet the pre-requisite for the course.

Any exception to these dates will need to be submitted to the Registrar Office for approval.

Requests for course reserved capacities must be submitted prior to course registration. Once registration has begun, no changes may be made to the courses. It is important that you review both your Prerequisites and reserved capacities prior to enrollment. Scheduling offers a Requisite Training Course that will teach you how to review your enrollment controls for your courses.

It is important to recognize the difference between Prerequisites and Reserved Capacities.

Prerequisites: Are permanent enrollment restrictions on a course. They are dictated by the calendar and must match the calendar entry for a course. All types of restrictions such as “course is restricted to Majors only” or “registration in course is by permission only” must be processed through the calendar. Prerequisites also include specific courses that are required to be taken prior to registering in the present course or Co-requisites, which are courses that are required to be taken at the same time or prior to the current course. These must also be listed in the calendar, but it is important to keep a record of old courses that would be considered equivalent to current prerequisites. For the purposes of scheduling and checking your course requisites it becomes quite important that we maintain the history of equivalent courses.

Reserved Capacities: Are temporary enrolment restrictions on a course. Reserved capacities are approved by both the department and Registrar office. These restrictions are used to manage enrollment to ensure specific groups of students are given priority enrollment prior to a specific date. These types of restrictions may have a maximum of two layers (ie. two dates for enrolment management). It is important that these are transparent to students. If you are going to be manually overriding restrictions, then you should not have them in place or you need to consider a change in restriction type for the following year. Reserved capacities may be used to temporarily restrict all or part of a class for enrollment. For example, you may restrict a portion of your class to individuals who are Majors in the department, another part of the class to Majors in another department and then leave a specific amount of space for all other students. In the interest of students, the university should encourage and conform to agreed upon dates. We are looking to set dates based on registration and admission dates for next year.



Approved by CCS

Due by Calendar Deadline (October 31)

Inflexible once Calendar is published

Carry over from year to year

Departments can override and enrol students

Apply to all course sections

Applies to the course as a whole

Reserve Capacities

Temporary – up to two dates for restrictions

Approved by department and Registrar Office

Due by two weeks prior to registration

Inflexible once registration begins

Must be approved every year

Only Enrolment Services can override and enrol students

Can be applied to individual sections

Parts of a class can be restricted; certain amounts of capacity can be restricted to specified groups

Course Overloads and Course Capacities

All courses must indicate a course capacity when initially scheduled. If there is no capacity listed, the course will not be assigned a room. If a department is looking to significantly grow course capacities or the number of courses offered, they should consult with scheduling to ensure that there is adequate space to accommodate such a request.

Departments have the ability to request to overload students into courses that have reached maximum capacity. However overload requests must come to both the Assistant Registrar, Enrolment Services and Scheduling before being processed. Prior to courses starting, Scheduling will do their best to help you increase the size of your course by finding you a larger classroom.

Overloads will not be allowed when:

  • A larger room cannot be found. We cannot exceed the maximum room capacity in accordance with fire and safety regulations.

Similarly, course capacities cannot be manipulated to exceed the size of the scheduled room when a larger room cannot be found. A rationale should be submitted with each request for a cap change so that we can problem solve for the future. Keep in mind that there are Pre-requisite, Reserve Capacities and Waitlist capabilities of the system for managing course enrolment. Given the magnitude of course changes in the first week of class, consider this before making multiple requests for changes to caps. It is worth consulting with scheduling prior to registration, to explore systematic ways of regulating enrolment in order to boost transparency and efficiency of registration.