General Requirements for First-Year Student Registration

Five courses (plus Moreau) each semester 

An undergraduate degree-seeking student must be enrolled in at least 12 credit hours in a given semester to be "full-time." However, First Year Advising requires almost all first-year students to register for five courses each semester of their first year. Each of these five courses must have 3 or more credits each, resulting in a minimum of 15 credits each semester (plus Moreau). This registration requirement is to help support a 4-year sequence towards graduation.

All first-year students must also register for the Moreau First Year Experience course (1 credit). To learn more about registering for a section of the Moreau course, explore the How to choose a Moreau FYE page.

Moreau, music lessons and ensembles, ROTC, Center for Social Concerns seminars, research, and other voluntary 1-credit and 2-credit courses are not counted in the five-course requirement.

In some cases, students taking calculus and two lab sciences may elect to take four courses instead of five. To learn more about exceptions to the typical “five courses plus Moreau” schedule, explore your intended major on the Sample First-Year Student Schedules page. 

Credit-Hour Limit

Since most first-year students must initially register for five courses (3 or more credits each) and Moreau (1 credit), most first-year students will register for 16-19 credits in their first semester. In special circumstances, we will allow students to take up to a maximum of 21 credits. If you wish to register for more than 19 credit hours in the fall because of music lessons or ensembles, ROTC, etc., please speak with your First Year Advisor. At least 26 credits must be taken at Notre Dame by the end of your first year.

First-Year Course Requirements and Recommendations

All first-years students must take the Moreau course (two semesters) and a University Seminar (one semester). Most first-year students will also take Writing and Rhetoric (one semester). To learn more about these courses, explore the First-Year Requirements page. 

First-year students should also consider the appropriate courses required or recommended for their intended major or college/school. To learn more, explore the College Requirements and Major Requirements pages. 

General Registration Terms

Attributes: A course attribute indicates which degree requirements are fulfilled by taking the course (Example: A course attribute may fulfill a Core requirement, College requirement, major requirement, minor requirement, etc.)

First-year students often take Core (or “Ways of Knowing”) courses and University Seminars in their first two semesters; those course attribute codes are WK (ie: WKFT represents "Way of Knowing - Theology 1: foundational) and University Seminar (often abbreviated “USEM”). All USEMs can fulfill two requirements. To find courses that fulfill these requirements, select the attribute you want to search from the “Any Core Requirements” dropdown menu in Advanced Search in For more information, review Step Four on the How to use Path Class Search page. 

Banner: The University’s student information system used to maintain student records and track enrollment

Classification: Your “Classification” is a status based on the number of semesters in attendance and number of credits earned; first year, sophomore, etc. Also known as PATH Class Search, this software is used to search for classes and build a plan for upcoming registration.

Core Course: A course that fulfills a Core Curriculum requirement

Corequisite: Some courses, such as lab sciences and calculus, have required labs, tutorials, or discussion sections. These parts of courses have unique Course Reference Numbers. You must register for them at the same time as you register for the lecture part of the course. For example, each section of a calculus lecture has one or two corresponding tutorials. If you register for calculus, you must also register for one of these tutorials. For instance, if you register for section 1 of Calculus II (MATH 10560-01), you must also register for section 11 of the tutorial (MATH 12560-11). If you register for section 2 of the lecture, you must also register for section 21 or 22 of the tutorial. Learn more about corequisites on the First Year Guide to PATH Class Search: Corequisites tutorial video.

CRN (Course Reference Number): This 5-digit number is used to identify a specific course for registration. Each course has its own unique CRN. A course's CRN is listed in For a screenshot of how to find a course's CRN, review "Create Your Plan in Path: Step One" on the How to use Path Class Search page. 

Cross-Listed Course: Some courses are listed under two or more course numbers, usually to make the course available to students in different majors, minors, or academic years. If you are interested in a course but it is full or you do not meet the restrictions, check to see if the course is “cross-listed” under another course number. 

Departmental Approval (and Overrides): A restriction on a course. This requires a student to contact the academic department offering the course to be granted approval to register. If you believe you should be able to access a course that requires departmental approval, contact your First Year Advisor, who may connect you with the appropriate department and perhaps help facilitate an "override" of this restriction.

DUS (Director of Undergraduate Studies): The faculty member in a department to contact for more information about a major/minor; DUSs often serve as advisors to majors in their departments

Hold: A restriction placed on a student’s Banner record that prevents them from registering for classes. Check for holds under "Registration Status and Holds" in NOVO.

NOVO: This software system is used to add and drop classes. To learn more about using NOVO, visit the How to Register using NOVO page.

Overload: When a student is approved to register for more credits than is allowed by default. For most first-year students, this default maximum is 19 credits.

PIN: This personal identification number is used to gain access to class registration in NOVO; this is a term you may hear from upper-class students, though the University no longer uses PINs.

Prerequisite: Some courses are only open to students who are taking or have taken another course. Pre-requisites are most common for math, science, and language courses. For instance, you cannot register for Calculus II unless you are taking Calculus I or have AP or IB credit for it. 

Restrictions: Many courses are restricted to students in certain groups, such as year (first-year, sophomore, etc.), major, minor, or college. You can only register for a course if you meet these restrictions. For example, if you see “Must have the following Classifications: Freshman (01)” as a restriction, only students classified as first-year are allowed to register for that course. As another example, PHIL 10111 (God and the Good Life) is open only to first-year students. PHIL 20111 (God and the Good Life, the same class) is open only to students with sophomore status or higher.

Seat Allocations: The maximum number of seats available for a select population (first-year students, for example) in a particular class

Time Conflict: Occurs when two courses take place at the same time. You cannot register for two courses with a time conflict

Time Ticket: The date and time a student’s registration period begins. This Time Ticket is found in the NOVO registration system under "Registration Status and Holds."

Ways of Knowing: This name is given to the various categories of Core requirements. It is often abbreviated “WK.” For example, WKFT represents the "Way of Knowing - Theology 1: foundational" Core requirement.