Incoming Transfer Student Registration

Course Registration

Start by reviewing your Transfer Credit Assessment. The assessment will detail what requirements you've already completed through transfer coursework and what you still have outstanding. 

Next, review the Graduation Requirements (below) so you are familiar with the requirements and understand the expectations to earn your degree at Colgate before choosing your courses.

Transfer students register for 4 full-credit courses, plus accompanying labs, if applicable, for a maximum of 4.50 credits. Incoming transfer students are strongly discouraged from taking more than 4.50 credits in the first semester. If there is a critical educational reason for taking more than 4.50, the possibility should be discussed with your academic adviser during drop/add at the start of the term. 

Please review the Course Offerings to begin planning your schedule. Be sure to check for any relevant restrictions, prerequisites, or notes before you make your course selections. Course descriptions are available by clicking on the course in the course offerings.

Choosing Courses

Begin by compiling a list of courses that interest you, then narrow those down to four preferred courses. Be sure to check the days and times of your four preferred courses to ensure they do not conflict. The Colgate day/time schedule can assist you in mapping out your schedule. 

Alternate Choices

Choose your alternate course selections from the remaining courses on your list. Do not worry about time conflicts among alternate course selections. Please provide several alternate choices. An alternate course should be a different course title, not the same course offered at a different time (i.e., different section). Registrar staff will try all sections of a single course before moving on to an alternate choice. 

Colgate University prides itself on being a liberal arts institution. This means that students must take a wide array of courses to earn a degree. Your first semester is the best time to explore what Colgate has to offer while fulfilling graduation requirements along the way. Think about this as you choose your courses.

Our staff has decades of experience in registering students and helping them create a balanced schedule. We’ve seen that students who load their schedule with courses from one division have less success in their first semester than those who choose courses from across the curriculum. Give your schedule some balance.

Use the guidelines below to help plan a balanced schedule:

CORE: You should refer to your Transfer Credit Assessment to see how many CORE courses you are required to take. You should plan to take one course with the subject code of "CORE" in your first semester.

Other courses: You should choose three other courses of interest. We recommend that you try to take one course from each division (Arts and Humanities, Natural Sciences and Mathematics, and Social Sciences). If you have a particular major in mind, we encourage you to select a course in that department/program. Consult the University Catalog for degree requirements for specific majors/minors. Otherwise, choose courses that appeal to you, keeping in mind what area of inquiry or liberal arts practice they may count toward.

Students who are interested in the health sciences (or pre-med) are encouraged to contact Dr. Julie Chanatry, the chair of the Health Sciences Advisory Committee, to discuss how best to meet graduate school pre-requisites at Colgate.

Alternates: We make every effort to register you for your preferred courses but many factors complicate our ability to accommodate every primary choice. Therefore, the nine required alternates gives us enough information about your interests to allow us to create a balanced schedule. If you are having trouble finding enough alternates, this is the time to start exploring courses that you might not have previously considered. You can begin by reviewing course descriptions (some courses may surprise you); use the filters available on the course offerings to find courses that fit in a time slot you have available or to search by areas of inquiry/liberal arts practice; think about opportunities that may require pre-requisites that you can start now (e.g., the study group to China requires a year of language study). If you continue to struggle, you can reach out to

You will need the CRN (5-digit course reference number - available in the course offerings) of each primary and alternate choice in order to complete the registration form. See below for more specific information about CRNs.

  • Enter the CRN of your first course and tab over to autofill the information. 
    • Refer to the day/time schedule grid to ensure that your preferred courses (and their accompanying laboratory sections, if applicable) do not conflict.
    • Select whether the course is a Preferred course or an alternate for the drop down box on that line.
    • To enter more courses, click the "Add" button at the far right.

You must choose 4 preferred courses and at least 4 alternates (though indicating more alternates is advisable). We make every effort to register you for your preferred courses but many factors complicate our ability to accommodate every primary choice. Therefore, the more alternates you provide, the more information we have about your interests to allow us to create a balanced schedule.

For courses with multiple sections (e.g., CORE 111, CHEM 101, ECON 151), the registrar’s office staff will first try to register you for the section indicated on your registration form. If that section is closed or conflicts with another of your courses, or if we need to assure an even distribution of students among the sections, we may place you in another section. Please do not provide alternate courses that are different sections (same course offered on different days/times) of your preferred course.

CRN: Every course section has a unique numeric identifier called the Course Reference Number, or CRN for short. You can find the CRN for each course section in the Course Offerings. We will use the CRN to register you for your courses and that is what you will enter in the registration form. After you enter in a valid CRN, the rest of the course information will auto-fill for you. It's easy to transpose numbers when entering the CRN so it's important that you double check the auto-filled information to ensure it is the course you are expecting. 

Courses with labs: A number of courses (particularly in the natural sciences) have required laboratory sections. The labs are designated by the course number followed by an L (e.g., CHEM 101L is the required lab associated with CHEM 101) and, in most cases, carry 0.25 course credits. If you want to register for a course with a lab, enter the lecture CRN first, then enter your preferred lab section CRN in the "Lab CRN" box on the same line. Labs should not be entered on their own line. The normal, required course load for first-year students is 4.00-4.50 course credits.

Comments: If you would like to give us information or guidance when we are registering you, please use the Comments box at the bottom of the form. 

Once you submit your form, the registrar's office will receive your selections. If you've submitted your form and need to substantially amend your selections, you can resubmit your form with the edits. In this case, you should indicate "Revised Copy" in the Notes section so that we can ensure it is used in place of your original submission. If you have a minor change, you can email If you aren't sure if your changes are substantial enough to require a resubmit, please email or call and a staff member will help determine the best course of action.

Incoming transfer students will not register on the portal for their first semester (no registration time ticket needed). Please submit the registration form (submit button below) and the registrar's office will begin registering students after the deadline. 

Note: If you have already submitted your registration form and need to submit an updated copy, please indicate "Revised Copy" in the Comments section so that we can ensure it is used in place of your original submission.

Submit Registration Form

Transfer Student Graduation Requirements

Colgate’s Liberal Arts Core Curriculum is structured so that students take advantage of the diversity of a liberal arts institution. 

The Core Components 

The Core Components requirement consists of a set of three course areas. Students may take these courses in any order.

  • Core Communities (all course numbers begin with an C, e.g., CORE C165)
  • Core Conversations  (all sections are numbered CORE 111)
  • Core Sciences (all course numbers begin with an S, e.g., CORE S110)

CORE courses cannot be satisfied with transfer credit, however, you may be eligible for a reduction in the number required based on your transfer credit threshold as established at the time of admission. Check your Transfer Credit Assessment for the number of CORE courses you are required to take. Read more about each Core Component in the University Catalog

The Liberal Arts Practices and Areas of Inquiry

Courses fulfilling Liberal Arts Practices requirements develop important skills and competencies: comprehending action that matters in the face of urgent world questions, attention to the process of writing, familiarity with quantitative and algorithmic reasoning, insight into the ways languages work, and the capacity to practice and interpret visual, literary, and performing arts.

Liberal Arts Practices

  • Confronting Collective Challenges
  • The Process of Writing
  • Quantitative and Algorithmic Reasoning
  • Language Study
  • Artistic Practice and Interpretation

Courses that carry these tags can come from any subject code across the curriculum. The relevant tags for each course are indicated in the course offerings.

Areas of Inquiry

  • Human Thought and Expression
  • Natural Sciences and Mathematics
  • Social Relations, Institutions, and Agents 

Courses that carry these tags typically have divisional affiliation (e.g., Human Thought = Arts and Humanities, Social Relations = Social Sciences) but there are some deviations. The relevant tags for each course are indicated in the course offerings.

Requirement information:

A course may carry up to two Practice tags and one area of inquiry tag but how a course counts for you will depend on your other coursework (both transfer and at Colgate). To fulfill this requirement, students must take at least seven courses, from at least six different subjects. Students may take these courses in any order. Only the Process of Writing course can be used to also fulfill another Practice or Area requirement. All other courses used to fulfill the Practices and Areas must be unique.

Coursework from your previous institution may be eligible to count toward the Practices and Areas, however, pre-matriculation credit (based on your first term of matriculation at any post-secondary institution) cannot be used to satisfy this requirement (this includes AP/IB/A-levels and any college coursework completed while in high school or the summer before matriculating). Read about each Practice and Area in the University Catalog

Students are required to complete a major in an academic department or program. Requirements for majors vary widely from one department or program to another but consist of between 8 and 13 courses. There are 56 majors from which you may choose. It is even possible to develop your own interdisciplinary or topical major in consultation with academic advisers and division directors. Please refer to the University Catalog for requirements and guidelines for specific majors.

Colgate uses a course credit system (rather than semester or quarter hours). Most courses are 1.0 course credit, however, there are some courses that award fractional credit (0.50 or 0.25). In addition, some courses have required co-requisites that carry fractional credit. An example is General Chemistry I. If a student registers for CHEM 101 (1.0 credit) they will also register for CHEM 101L (0.25 credits). 

All students must successfully complete a minimum of 32.00 course credits (including all transfer credits) to be eligible to graduate. See the University Catalog for the complete policy on academic credit.

Transfer students are required to spend a minimum of four terms in academic residence and must earn credit for at least 16 course credits taken at Colgate or on Colgate-directed off-campus study programs to be eligible for the Colgate bachelor’s degree. One semester of participation in an approved program will count towards the residency requirement.

Transfer students must complete two units of physical education, either at Colgate or through experience at your prior school. Refer to your Transfer Credit Assessment to determine how many physical education units you'll need to complete at Colgate. 

Physical education units do not bear academic credit. Please visit the Physical Education web page for detailed information regarding course units and sign-up options.

Need Help?

You are encouraged to contact registrar office staff for help with registration, by email ( anytime or by phone (315-228-7408) during regular business hours.