CIS Waitlist

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April 2022: This page is in flux as we integrate the CIS Waitlist with the new Path@Penn system.

We would love to offer our classes to any Penn student who is interested! However, demand is so high for some of the CIS/CIT/NETS classes that we cannot let everyone in and still do a good job of teaching. Because of this, the number of students who can enroll during Advance Registration is typically capped, and we maintain waitlists for students who would like to take a given class but did not get in.

Waitlist overview

This CIS waitlist system is separate from Path@Penn. The waitlist allows us to admit students to a course in a prioritized fashion, instead of a mad dash whenever a slot opens up. As a result, sometimes a waitlist course will appear to be open in Path, but this is a mirage because you can’t register for that open slot unless you have department permission, which comes in the form of a permission request on Path. If the course is closed it also doesn’t mean you can’t get in - sometimes we issue permits beyond the official course capacity, and you can use a permit to register for a closed course.

Being on the waitlist means that there is no guarantee that you will be able to enroll in that course. Because of this, you must have a fallback plan in the event that you cannot take the waitlisted course. For instance, you could tentatively enroll in a different class that will satisfy another degree requirement, and plan to take the waitlisted class in a future semester.

You should always use Advance Registration to get into high-demand courses when possible. If you get in during Advance Registration then you don’t have to worry about the waitlist at all!

Which classes use the waitlist

Each department has their own way of handling permission requests; this article is just for CIS/CIT/NETS courses.

CIS/CIT/NETS undergraduate courses that have a note saying Special Permission required for registration (request below) use the CIS waitlist. You will see this in Path as:

Path permit-required course

Note that undergraduates wishing to register for a graduate class must always use the CIS waitlist. Path mentions that enrollment is restricted to graduate programs in CIS:

Path grad-only course The names are somewhat generic, but here Computer & Information Science refers specifically to our CIS Master’s of Science in Engineering degree.

All CIS/CIT graduate classes use the waitlist to allow undergraduates to register. Such graduate courses may additionally list Special Permission required for registration, in which case they use the waitlist to manage both graduate and undergraduate student enrollment.

Using the waitlist

Please do not reach out to individual faculty with permission requests!

With Path@Penn, the interface to the CIS waitlist has changed significantly from previous years. The first step is submitting a permission request via Path for a waitlist course (see our instructions below or official ones from SRFS). You can submit permission requests during Advance Registration, and we encourage you to do so.

You can, somewhat unfortunately, submit a permission request for any course, even ones that you can register for directly. Don’t submit a permission request unless the course requires it - just go ahead and advance-register or regular-register!

Find the course in Path and click Add to Cart. Then, click Request permission for this course:

Path permission request part 0

It doesn’t matter which cart you use, or what you type in the Permission Request field. We’ll follow-up with course-specific questions later. For now, just hit OkPath permission request part 1

…and finally, Save Changes. Path permission request part 2

After Advance Registration results are announced, we’ll follow up via email to direct you to the CIS Waitlist website where you will be asked to complete course-specific information like pre-reqs, why you want to take the course, etc. You’ll do this for each waitlist request you have. You must submit a permission request via Path to gain access to this site.

If your permission request is approved, you’ll receive a notice from Path. The process of using permissions isn’t fully clear yet, but we’ll know more in Summer 2022 and will update these instructions then.

Once you’ve registered for a waitlist class, please be careful not to accidentally drop it. If you do this, we cannot guarantee that you will be able to register again!


To prioritize students on the waitlist, we consider how urgently each student needs to take the class. For instance, if both a NETS student and a CSCI student want to take NETS 2120formerly NETS 212, we give priority to the former because NETS 2120formerly NETS 212 is specifically required for the NETS student, while the CSCI student is taking NETS 2120formerly NETS 212 as a CIS Elective or Technical Elective which have lots of alternatives. Timing matters, too: perhaps this is a student’s last opportunity to take the class before they graduate.

When will decisions be made?

Permission requests are processed periodically from when Advance Registration results are announced until the end of the Add/Drop/Swap period. You could receive permission during the first few weeks of the semester. If you do not receive an update via email before the Add/Drop/Swap deadline, this means we were not able to give you permission to take the course.

We are unfortunately not able to notify you that you will not be receiving permission, since course enrollment fluctuates right up until the Add/Drop/Swap deadline.

Leaving the waitlist

If you are no longer interested in registering for a waitlist course, you should withdraw your request. Details of how to do so are TBD.

Problems with the waitlist site

If you encounter any issues with the waitlist, please reach out to