Welcome to Macalester!  We’re excited you’ll be joining us in Fall 2022. What follows is an overview of the course registration process as well as answers to FAQs that may be on your mind.

Registration Overview

First-Year Fall Course Registration Choices Form Due June 22

By June 22 you’ll be required to submit your First-Year Fall Course Registration Choices form. Follow these steps to complete your form.  

Academic Programs and Advising will assign you to a First-Year Course (FYC) in light of your intended major(s), the other courses you want to take, and additional information you provide to us (i.e. anticipated AP scores or college courses completed elsewhere).  FYCs are required of all students in their first semester and they play an important role in our curriculum. The professor of the FYC serves as your initial academic advisor, a model we think works well as you’ll have regular contact with this person and your questions about courses, requirements, etc. can easily be addressed as they arise. Nearly every department offers FYCs and they meet a variety of requirements. Because the FYC is tied to advising, housing and other aspects of orientation, once that assignment is made in late July it cannot be changed. 

Course Registration opens on August 1

On August 1st you’ll be invited to register for the non-FYC portion of your Fall 2022 schedule through 1600grand, our on-line registration system. The Registrar’s staff will be available to assist you throughout the process. You will also be free to make any necessary adjustments to the non-FYC portion of your schedule during orientation when you meet with your FYC professor for advising. If  you know you will not have access to the internet during August, you should contact the Registrar at [email protected] to make alternate arrangements for registration.

Courseload and Credits

Most students take four 4-credit courses per semester, which keeps them on-track to graduate in four years. You may register for up to 18 credits per semester, which allows you to add 1 or 2 credit physical education or dance classes to your four 4-credit courses. You may also register for performance courses (i.e. ensembles, lessons) on top of your 18 credit schedule. Credits for performance courses are posted after two consecutive semesters of the same performance type are complete; they do not count in the 18 credit total.  Registration for lessons and ensembles takes place during the first week of classes through the Music department office.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

The following FAQs provide general guidance about course selection and requirements. If you have additional questions feel free to email [email protected].

Should my First-Year Course (FYC) be in the department in which I plan to major? Not necessarily.  The most important consideration in selecting First-Year Courses is interest in the material.  It is understandable the courses that most excite you are also those in departments where you might major but you should not feel constrained by that future decision.  Every year students discover through their FYC a field of study they had not been aware of in high school.  So be bold and adventurous in choosing your courses.  Learning about new fields and broadening your horizons is at the heart of a liberal arts education.

When will I be notified about my FYC assignment? In late July 2022 you will receive an email message with your FYC assignment.  Based on that placement, staff from Academic Programs and Advising may contact you if they have questions or suggestions about your other Fall 2022 planned courses.  You should also contact Academic Programs and Advising with your questions as you are developing your course plan.

Can I change my FYC? Once you are placed in an FYC, changes cannot be accommodated. That is why we want you to be comfortable with any of the FYCs on your list.

How do I register for the non-FYC portion of my Fall 2022 schedule?  The on-line registration system will be open from August 1- August 24.  You may make adjustments to your schedule throughout that period.  You will also have the opportunity to make changes to your schedule during orientation when you meet with your FYC professor for advising.  In addition, there is a drop/add period at the beginning of each semester during which you can change your schedule.  Changes during drop/add requires permission of the instructor of the course you want to add.  The only course that cannot be changed is your FYC.

Registration instructions and times can be found here,

Incoming First-Year Student Registration Instructions:
Incoming First-Year Student Registration Times:


I have no idea what I want to major in. How should I choose my courses?  The beauty of a liberal arts degree is you are required to take courses in each of our divisions.  Use this first semester to explore different departments that sound interesting.  The most common way for incoming students to decide on a major is by taking courses.  Since there are areas of study available in college that weren’t available in high school, being “undecided” is actually to your benefit.  About one-third of incoming Macalester students are uncertain of a major, and another third change their minds after discovering all the possibilities.  So be bold and adventurous in choosing your courses. It’s the best way to learn about yourself and our curriculum.

Do you have sample schedules I should consult as I construct my desired course list?  While most departments and programs provide recommendations for first-years interested in exploring their courses, in only a few cases, mainly the natural sciences, must these recommendations be acted upon in the first semester.  Most majors require between nine and eleven courses, allowing plenty of room for exploration before declaring the major.  If you have some majors in mind, reviewing Department and Program Recommendations for First-Year Students is a good idea. Otherwise, taking courses from various departments you find interesting is the best way to pick your classes for your first semester.  You do want to think about balancing types of courses, so you don’t have four courses that are heavy reading/writing courses, or four that are all quantitative, or four that have labs.  Because you will need to take courses in all four of our divisions before you graduate, having a diverse course schedule also ensures you are making progress on degree requirements while you are exploring the curriculum.

Are there certain courses I must take in my first semester? You must take an FYC. This course is designed to facilitate your transition to college by including instruction in writing and information fluency, and by having the instructor serve as your academic advisor.  You must also take a course designated argumentative writing (WA) or writing as craft (WC).  Most students will meet this requirement through their FYC.

How do I get registered for private music/instrument lessons?  Students are encouraged to audition for any of our ensembles—African Music Ensemble, Asian Music Ensemble, Macalester Concert Choir, Macalester Chorale, Macalester Orchestra, Wind Symphony, Mac Jazz Band, Jazz and Popular Music Combos, Pipe Band, Early Music Ensemble, Chamber Music Ensembles—at the beginning of each semester. Private lessons are available for an extra fee to all Macalester students. Registration for lessons and ensembles takes place during the first week of classes through the Music department office.  Students considering the major or minor in music will need to take MUSI 113 Musicianship, preferably early on.

What about a language or math course?  To graduate, Macalester requires proficiency in a language other than English through the fourth semester.  Accordingly, it is a good idea in your first semester to take a course in a second language, especially if you are going to continue with a language you studied in high school.  As with language, math skills deteriorate over time.  If you are going to continue on with math, it is also a good first semester choice, although our Quantitative Thinking requirement includes courses from a variety of subjects, not just those in Math, Stats and Computer Science.

Does Macalester have an English Composition requirement?  Macalester’s Writing requirement expects three writing-designated courses by the time of graduation.  Virtually every department offers some writing-designated courses.  All students must take one course designated as argumentative writing (WA) or writing as craft (WC) in their first semester. For most students, the FYC serves that purpose.

How likely is it I will get the courses I want?  Most students (close to 90%) will get their first or second FYC choice.  You also have a good chance of getting the other courses on your list, although not necessarily at the times you wanted, when there are multiple sections of the same course.  Please be ready with back-ups, in case your ideal choices are not available during registration.

When do I meet my advisor? Your academic advisor is the professor of your FYC. You will meet that person during the initial FYC meeting on Saturday August 27, 2022. You will also have a 30 minute advising appointment with your advisor on either Saturday August 27 or Sunday August 28.

Who should I contact if I have questions before I arrive on campus?

Question topic Contact
General questions about courses, degree requirements, and the registration process Academic Programs and Advising: 651-696-6036; [email protected] or Registrar’s Office: 651-696-6200; [email protected]
First-Year Courses Academic Programs and Advising: 651-696-6036; [email protected]
Language Placement Academic Programs and Advising: 651-696-6036; [email protected]
Course selection with regard to a major Academic Programs and Advising: 651-696-6036; [email protected]
AP/IB scores Registrar’s Office: 651-696-6200; [email protected]
Transfer Credits Registrar’s Office: 651-696-6200; [email protected]
Interpreting the class schedule Registrar’s Office: 651-696-6200; [email protected]

When is the best time to call?

Call Academic Programs and Advising at 651-696-6036 or the Registrar’s Offices at 651-696-6200 during the following days and times:

  • Monday through Thursday: 7:45 AM to 5:00 PM Central Standard Time
  • Fridays: 7:45 AM to 12:30 PM Central Standard Time

We may be assisting other students when you call, so please leave a voicemail message and someone will call you back. In some cases, we may contact you the next business day.

Can I email Academic Programs and Advising or the Registrar’s Office?


Email Academic Programs and Advising at [email protected]

Email Registrar’s Office at [email protected]