What to do if you can't register for CS 373

CS 373 is typically full only a few days after registration is open, several months before the class actually begins. If want or need to take 373, and the class is already full when you try to register, relax!! You have several options! In fact, most of these strategies will work for any full class.

Try again next semester.
Enough said. (No, I'm not teaching 373 next spring.)

Talk to Kay Tomlin.
Slots in several 300-level courses, including 373, have been set aside specifically for incoming graduate students. New graduate students can register for these classes at the beginning of the semester by talking to Kay Tomlin in the academic office (2270 DCL).

Take a different course.
Everyone can satisfy their theory requirement by taking 375 instead of 373. Almost every semester, there is at least one 400-level theory class: either 473, or a section of 497 on computational geometry or randomized algorithms (or both). Any of these courses can be used to satisfy the theory requirement instead of 373. There are also several 400-level theory courses cross-listed from the math and ECE departments, which might satisfy the theory requirement; talk to Prof. Harandi or Prof. Kamin to be sure. Yes, undergrads with strong math and/or algorithms backgrounds can also take 400-level courses.

Get on the waiting list.
Come to class, take notes, do the homeworks, and so forth, just like the registered students. During the first two lectures, I will pass around a signup sheet for a waiting list. Students on the waiting list are registered in decreasing order of their performance on the Homework Zero. If you don't come to class and turn in homework, you will not be allowed to register.

Keep trying to register.
Come to class, take notes, do the homeworks, and so forth, just like the registered students. Once the semester starts, keep checking UI Direct. Usually enough people drop out after a few weeks that everyone who wants to can register, but students on the waiting list have first priority. I will not adjust your grade just because you registered late.

Take a proficiency exam.
I do not offer separate proficiency exams. However, you can take the regularly scheduled final exam at the regular time for proficiency credit. Your grade will be based on your exam grade, relative to the registered students. For example, if you get a 75% on the proficiency exam, you get the same letter grade as a registered student who got a 75% on their final exam. If you plan to take the final exam for proficiency credit, please contact me at least a week beforehand.

The university has lots of rules about proficiency exams. Undergrads need a C- or better to pass; grad students need a B- or better. Undergrads get the usual number of credit hours for the course; grad students don't. If you pass, your transcript says "Pass"; if you fail, nothing appears on your transcript. You must be a registered student who has not already taken the class.

Do not take the proficiency exam unless you are sure you know the material! Some students wait until their very last semester at UIUC to take the 373 proficiency, and then fail. Don't do this! As a safety net, I recomend also taking the midterms; these will be averaged in with your final.

Transfer earlier credit.
Many graduate students have already taken a course equivalent to 373, especially those that arrive with a master's degree. If that applies to you, submit a description of your course to Prof. Harandi (who will probably give it to me). If he decides (that is, if I decide) that the course really is equivalent to 373, then you've already fulfilled the theory requirement. You can transfer up to two units (six hours) of undergraduate credit towards your graduate degree.

However, thanks to the wonders of university bureaucracy, graduate students who were undergrads at UIUC and took 373 cannot take it again, cannot take the proficiency exam, and cannot apply the earlier credit towards the theory requirement. Sorry. You must take either 375 or a 400-level theory course.

This option is usually not open to undergrads.

Encourage your friends to drop.
They don't really have to take 373 this semester, at least not as much as you do. If they were truly your friends, they'd drop the class to make room for you.

Jeff Erickson (jeffe@cs.uiuc.edu) 05 Aug 2002