Graduate Course Registration

Fall 2023 Class Registration

Registration Must-knows

Full-Time Status

You must enroll in a minimum of 12 units, unless you are approved to be part-time (this is not common). All full-time students are expected to register in 12 units each quarter.

Many students will take two to three courses, and then enroll in a seminar and/or research units as needed to reach the 12 unit minimum (more information about research units below). You will have a chance to talk to your area advisor about courses as part of the department orientation, and there will be some time in the first week to adjust your schedule (especially to drop a class and add research units). The deadlines to drop and add courses are listed here.  

Fall Instruction

Instruction begins on Wednesday September 27, 2023 (even though the quarter begins Sept. 25, there won't be classes until the first day of instruction).

The deadline to add courses is the 12th day of instruction of each quarter. Be sure to note if any of your classes have a 10 day drop deadline – most classes will have a 20 day drop deadline. Stay updated on specific dates with the UC Davis calendar.
  • When to Register

  • Although there are "pass times" for undergraduate students, graduate students are allowed to register at any time once registration opens, except for during the registration freeze.

    We recommend all students enroll by September 1. For payroll purposes, students (with academic appointments) must register for at least 12 units before September 1. Students must be full-time to qualify for any funding (academic appointments or fellowship).

    Generally speaking, students do not experience difficulty registering for Graduate ECI courses. If you are considering upper division and/or non-ECI courses, be sure to enroll early during the registration period.
    View the Registration Calendar

  • Registering on Schedule Builder
  • Login to Schedule Builder. The Schedule Builder tool can be used to search and enroll in classes, view class details, find course materials, check for registration holds, adjust and view class schedules.

    Select Fall Quarter 2023 as the academic term then click Add/Search Courses. Choose “Engineering Civil and Environ (ECI)” from the Subject drop down menu. All available ECI Courses for Fall 2023 will populate (except hidden courses – such as research units – more information below). Save the classes you want to register for to your schedule, and then click Register ALL, or register for each using the "actions" drop-down.

    The Course Search Tool is another resource to search for available classes on the Office of Registrar’s website. Select “Engineering Civil and Environ (ECI)” from the Subject Area drop down menu. All available ECI Courses for the current quarter will populate (the Course Search Tool is also very helpful for looking at historic offerings of courses).
  • Dropping Classes
  • While most graduate level classes will have a 20 day drop deadline, be sure to check the drop deadline for every class (sometime labs will have an earlier drop deadline than lectures). It is HIGHLY recommended you put the add and drop deadlines on your calendar now, as petitions for late drops are not generally approved.
  • Registration Holds
  • You may have registration holds on your account from time to time.  The hold will prevent you from enrolling in classes, and you will find information about how to release the hold on schedule builder.  Common registration holds are for: submitting your official transcripts/or your transcripts with proof of degree; submitting immunization information to student health; having an unpaid balance on your student account after the Graduate Student Final Fee Payment Deadline.  The department does not control these holds and will not be able to release them for you to register.  You can always check in with the office that placed the hold on your account. 

Course Information

  • Course Organization
  • Courses numbered 200-299 are graduate level courses, and 100-199 are upper division undergraduate level courses. Courses numbered 1-99 are lower division undergraduate classes, and will not count towards your graduate record. Most, if not all, of your classes should be graduate level.

    ECI is the course prefix for Civil and Environmental Engineering. All courses are assigned a specific 5-digit Course Registration Number (CRN), which is the number that you can use to search for courses and add them to your schedule. For example, if you decided to enroll in ECI 201 – Intro Theory Elast, you will find that CRN (52821) using the course link above. With this CRN number, you will also be able to enroll in courses using the old SISWEB system. (Most students prefer Schedule Builder to sisweb).

    Most ECI Graduate Level Classes are offered once a year, or even once every other year, which makes planning your schedule very important. You can easily see which classes have been offered in previous years by referring to our "CEE Course Matrix” on the Courses for Current Graduate Students page. Be sure to note the year of the sheet you are looking at on the bottom of the page. Our tentative course offerings for future terms will also be posted here, however these are subject to change without notice. This page will be the most helpful to refer to when planning courses for the full year.
  • Degree Requirements & Coursework
  • Go to the Degree Requirements page
    Information about the required core courses by Research Area can be found on the Degree Requirements website linked above. Because our graduate courses are generally offered only once a year, we highly recommend you start thinking about the core coursework now, and when you will take your required core courses.

    For additional information on Graduate Studies policy, please see the Graduate Studies website.
  • Course Planning - Program of Study
  • As you can see from the degree requirements, most students have a few required courses, and then a minimum number of units to meet. Our degree program is flexible and students will create their own Program of Study (approved by our faculty) for their degree. The Program of Study will reflect the students' research core courses, and also their individual academic, research and career interests. 

    Because the Program of Study is individualized, each student is expected to do their research and find the classes they are interested in taking.  Students will develop their preliminary Program of Study in their first or second quarter under the guidance of their major professor or area advisor. 
  • Course Prerequisites
  • The listed prerequisites for a course are designed to help a student be successful in the course. Often, students with degrees from other Universities have taken course similar to the listed prerequisite course and likely have the background to be successful in the course. However, all students missing the listed prerequisite should discuss their specific situation, background, and/or experience with the course instructor to verify that they are well positioned for success.
  • Hidden Courses
  • Some courses might have a "hidden" CRN - for example ECI 299 Research units, or ECI 289 Special Topics classes.  You can find the CRN's for our Special Topics classes on our Courses website. Once you have the CRN, you can use this to search for the course on schedule builder and add it to your schedule.  The system may prompt you to enter the CRN again as your "Consent of Instructor" when you save the course to your schedule.
  • Special Topic Courses
  • ECI 289 courses are special topic courses. ECI 289 course offerings are constantly evolving. These are typically specialty courses offered by faculty on a trial basis that may or may not become permanent course offerings. Please view this page, or talk to the faculty member directly, for more information about special topics courses. Expand the description to find the CRN number and number of units you should enroll in (as 289 classes are variable units, you must edit this to the appropriate number of units on schedule builder indicated by the faculty instructor). 

    For catalog descriptions of ECI courses, including course prerequisites, visit this link.
  • Students without an Engineering Degree
  • CEE students come from a variety of educational backgrounds. For students without an engineering degree there are additional preparatory course required during the first academic year. These are listed in the CEE Degree Requirements on page 1. 
  • Taking Courses outside of Engineering
  • We often have students take courses outside of ECI, and outside of the College of Engineering.  Our MS Degree Requirements nominally allow one course to be an undergraduate level and/or outside of Engineering (with faculty approval).

    We encourage students to seek courses that will support their academic, research, and career interests. Students should talk to their Faculty Advisor to make sure the course(s) they are interested in will be approved for their Program of Study. It's a good practice to prepare the Preliminary Program of Study early and have it approved by the Faculty Advisor to insure the coursework you take will be approved for the degree program. 

    CEE students have found related coursework in the College of Engineering (including Energy Systems and Transportation Technology & Policy) and many departments across campus, including: Agricultural & Environmental Chemistry
    Atmospheric Science
    Environmental Science & Policy
    Hydrologic Science
    Soil Science
    Statistics, and more!
  • Taking Undergraduate Upper Division Courses
  • As mentioned earlier, most your classes should be graduate level courses. Students without a degree in Engineering may need to take several background upper division undergraduate level courses.  Our MS Degree Requirements nominally allow one course to be an undergraduate level and/or outside of Engineering (with faculty approval).

    Please note that some undergraduate level engineering courses will often have registration restrictions for graduate students. If you plan to register for an undergraduate upper division course and Schedule Builder restricts you from adding it, please contact Lauren Worrell to inquire about when restrictions might lift or if you are able to obtain a Permission To Add (PTA) number for the course. Generally we will need to wait for the pass two registration time, or even the adjustment period, or issue a PTA for an undergraduate course.

    Also note that many undergraduate level courses will have prerequisites. You will be required to fill out an online prerequisite form for every undergraduate class with prerequisites (unless you took the prerequisite courses at UC Davis). Be thorough in filling out this form and mention that you are a graduate student, why you need the courses, and what courses in your academic background fulfill the listed prerequisites and/or why you think you will be successful in the course. The faculty will approve your prerequisite petition to allow you to remain in the course.
  • Registering in Research Units (ECI 299)
  • Some MS students, and all PhD students, will register in ECI 299 research units with your respective major professor (faculty advisor) at some point in their career. Every time you enroll in research units, you will want to talk to your faculty advisor early (before or when you enroll) so you can discuss what will be expected of you to earn “satisfactory” (or “S”) grades in your research units. While these units are sometimes used to “fill” a schedule to the 12 unit minimum, you are expected to put in the time and work based on the number of research units you are enrolled in to pass the course(s). Every CEE faculty member is assigned individual 299 CRNs each quarter.

    ECI 299 is a variable unit course and it defaults to 1 unit. Students may increase the variable units as needed. To do this, simply login to schedule builder and find the button that says “Edit” next to “Units” which is listed below the title ECI 299.

    Please note these research CRNs change quarterly, are NOT published online and must be obtained from Lauren Worrell ( or from the CEE Main Office ( each quarter you plan to enroll in them. When emailing the staff to ask for the ECI 299 CRN, be sure to include the faculty name for the research units you want to enroll in so we can provide you with the correct CRN. After you enroll in research units, always check to be sure it is under the right faculty member