Registration Information for Physics Students

Updated March 2017

Frequently Asked Questions

Which form do I need?


Registration can be an incredibly stressful time for students.  This stress can become worse when students encounter hassles when attempting to register for classes.  Registration works remarkably well overall, but it is not a perfect system.  So be prepared for registration “issues” and don’t panic when things don’t go according to the plan.  Here are some tips for a successful registration period:

Be prepared!

Months ahead of time, check to make sure all your classes taken at another college, AP credits, etc. appear correctly on your Knightweb transcript.  If not, take action with the Dean’s office to get this squared away!  It can take a long time for other Colleges to send transcripts to Geneseo and for these courses to be approved by the Dean’s office, so don’t wait until the last minute on this.  Many students run into problems during the registration period because they were not proactive about making sure their credits from other institutions appear properly on their Geneseo transcript. 

Be informed!

Make sure you know your registration date and plan accordingly!  This information is available when you log into Knightweb.  It should tell you down to the minute when you will register.  There is also a very useful registration calendar maintained by the Dean’s office.  This calendar contains information about the Drop/Add periods, transfer registration periods, open registration periods, etc.

Wake up early! 

Spots fill up fast so make sure you register promptly at the beginning of your registration period.  Sometimes whether or not you get into a class can come down to a matter of seconds. 

Plan Ahead! 

Make a list of the relevant CRN’s ahead of time so you can quickly type or copy them into Knightweb when registration begins.

Don’t get caught in the “Pre-req Pickle”

Make sure you have met the required pre-requisites for each class you want to take!  Read the course descriptions in the College bulletin carefully, they will list the pre-requisites for each class.

Beware of the “Co-req Conundrum”

One of the biggest problems with students trying to register is that they are not aware of the way co-requisites (co-reqs) work.  For example, many times the physics lecture and physics lab are co-reqs for each other.  What this means is that you can’t take the lecture without the lab or vice versa.  So, when it comes time to register, you must type in the CRNs for lecture and lab at the same time!  If you try to do just one CRN, Knightweb may give you an obscure error message.  Many students also get caught in the co-req conundrum if they forget to register for a calculus class (Calc I or Calc II) that is required as a co-req for Analytical Physics I and Analytical Physics II.  Once again, you can find out information about the co-reqs for each class in the College bulletin.

Watch out for the “Hold Headache”

Some students (first semester freshman and transfers) are required to see their advisors prior to their registration period.  If so, make sure you schedule an appointment with your advisor before your registration date.  Failure to meet with your advisor will result in a registration hold and will prevent you from registering!  If you don’t take care of this ahead of time, then you will have to scramble to track down your advisor during your registration period and by then all of the classes will have filled up.

It is recommended that you contact your advisor or department secretary about 2-3 weeks before your registration date to set up an appointment.  Usually it is best to shoot for an appointment date that is about a week in advance of your registration date.

Don’t get miffed by the “Major Mishap”

Some physics classes (example PHYS 124: Analytical Physics I Lab and PHYS 126: Analytical Physics II Lab) are restricted to physics majors only!  So, if you are planning on being a physics major but are not an officially declared physics major (check your status on Knightweb), then you will not be able to register for these classes.  Go ahead and declare your major!

Make sure you know which type of physics lecture/lab combination is required for your major.

The “flavor” of physics you take (Analytical vs. General) depends on your major.  The table below shows the most common physics courses taken by students in each major, but please consult the College bulletin for details for your particular program.  Note that the class names are a bit confusing, since not all students in Analytical Physics Lecture will also take Analytical Physics Lab!


 Physics Lecture

 Physics Lab


 Analytical Physics I and II (PHYS 123/125)

 Analytical Physics I and II Lab (PHYS 124/126)


 General Physics I and II (PHYS 113/115)

 Physics I and II Lab (PHYS 114/116)


 Analytical Physics I and II (PHYS 123/125)

 Physics I and II Lab (PHYS 114/116)


 General Physics I and II (PHYS 113/115)

 Physics I and II Lab (PHYS 114/116)


 Analytical Physics I and II (PHYS 123/125)

 Physics I and II Lab (PHYS 114/116)

Frequently Asked Questions:

I am a Biochem major so I need to take Analytical Physics.  I went to register for PHYS 123: Analytical Physics I and PHYS 124: Analytical Physics I Lab, and it wouldn’t let me.  What’s the deal?

Answer: The problem is that as a Biochem major you need to take PHYS 123: Analytical Physics I lecture, but PHYS 114: Physics I Lab.  Remember that PHYS 124 and PHYS 126 (Analytical Physics I and II Labs) are restricted to physics majors only!  Please see table above which shows which sections of physics are appropriate for you (but make sure you double check your particular program requirements in the college bulletin).

I am a Biology major and I took Analytical Physics I but I want to take General Physics II.  Can I do this?

Answer: In most cases, yes.  But you should check with your major department to make sure they will accept these courses for their program.  In any case, Knightweb will not allow you to register unless you obtain a prereq waiver from the physics department, so you will need to come to the physics department office.

There are still 3 open spots in the lecture, but all the lab sections are full.  I am totally frustrated because I can’t get into either one now because they are co-reqs for each other.  How can I register for that spot in lecture?

Answer: You won’t be able to register for the lecture without the lab.  Keep watching to see if a spot opens up!  If nothing opens up for you at the conclusion of your registration period, try again during the open registration period.

Can I overload into ____________?

Answer: It is College policy not to accept overload forms until the Drop/Add period, which is during the first week of classes.  So please do not ask for an overload form until the first week of the semester!

I really want to take Professor X’s section of this class instead of Professor Y’s.  Can I switch into Professor X’s class?

Answer: In a perfect world, you would be able to take whichever class you like for whatever reason.  But given the broad spectrum of registration issues encountered by students, this one is a low priority.  So, it is very unlikely that we will be able to make special accommodations for you based on personal preference for instructor/times, etc.

I really need this class  ________, but it is full.  What can I do?

Answer:  Just Keep watching!!!  Some spots may open up.  Things are relatively fluid during the registration periods, and something might just open up for you.  Keep checking Knightweb often to see if any seats open up.  If you are still shut out during your normal registration period, be ready to pounce during the start of “open registration periods”.  Check the registration calendar on the Dean’s website for the dates/times of these open registration periods.

Keep in mind that even if you are shut out of a class during your regular registration period, you may still be able to get in because some seats may be opening up in the future.  There are many ways spots will open up.  For second semester classes (i.e. General Physics II and Analytical Physics II), some spots will open up in January because some students who do not pass the first semester course will be de-registered from the second semester classes.  Be ready to pounce on these seats when they open up!  Also, the Dean’s office regularly “holds back” some seats during the registration period for entering transfer students and incoming first year students.  Not all of these held seats will fill up, however, so any remaining seats will be released at the beginning of the Drop/Add period (Spring semester) or in August (Fall semester).  Just keep watching!!!

If you are still shut out and it is the first week of the semester, this is the appropriate time to ask for an overload form.  Usually lecture sections can be overloaded, but sometimes we run into problems overloading into lab sections where we have finite space and equipment resources.

If you are a physics major and are shut out of a physics class, then by all means come see the department Chair.  If you are a non-physics major and you are shut out of a physics class even after waiting until the Drop/Add period, then you can seek an overload form, but it is best to have a “Plan B” ready in case you are unable to overload into the class.

You told me to wait until Drop/Add to see if a spot opens up.  But if I can’t get into class  ________ right now, I won’t have enough credits to be counted as a “full-time student” for billing purposes.  What should I do now?

Answer: You can use temporary placeholder classes in this situation.  If you just need a placeholder during registration to make sure you get up to full-time status, then you can sign up for TEMP-001 (3 credits) or TEMP-002 (3 credits).  Of course, these are not actual classes, and you would need to replace them by some actual class once the semester starts but they can be useful in this situation depending on your registration issue.

I was already registered for physics lecture and lab, but then I went to switch sections because the other section fit better in my schedule.  Somehow Knightweb deregistered me from lecture and lab and then someone else took my spot.  Now the class is full.  What should I do?

Answer:  Unfortunately there is nothing that can be done in this case, other than to keep watching to see if a spot opens up again for you.  The student who took your spot got it fair and square and we cannot kick him/her out to put you back in.  Switching sections is not recommended – it is too risky.  There is always a chance someone else will “swoop in” and take your spot, this means you will be locked out of the class.

Which Form Do I Need?

There are several forms that are relevant to registration issues.  Some types of forms can be submitted electronically by the chair, and others still require a paper version.  

“General Permit Form” 

This form can be submitted electronically and is most commonly used to override course prerequisites.  It is useful when students want to switch from Analytical Physics to General Physics (or vice-versa).  It can also be used to override a major restriction on a particular class (for example Analytical Physics Labs, which are restricted to declared physics majors). Most registration issues during registration period are solved with a General Permit Form.  Please note that this form is NOT an overload permit.  

“Waivers and Exceptions Form”

This form can also be submitted electronically, and is used to handle waivers and exceptions for graduation requirements (this form is not commonly used).    It requires approval from the department Chair as well as the Dean.  It is relevant when a student can provide convincing evidence that he/she should be exempt from a graduation requirement based on some other course or activity completed by the student.

“Class Overload-Enrollment Permission Slip”

Also known as an “overload form”, this form is the most-requested and least-filled out form.  Many students request overload forms during the registration period, but remember that the College will not process overload forms until the Drop/Add period which begins on the first day of the semester.  This form can be filled out electronically.

“Change/Declaration of Major Form”

The “change/declaration of major form” is on paper only and should be filled out by all students as soon as possible.  Don’t procrastinate declaring your major.  You can always switch, so there is no reason to NOT declare your major, even if you are not 100% sure you will end up completing this major.  Many times students will face registration issues because they are blocked from a course with a major restriction because they “never got around to” declaring their major.  This form is available on the Dean's website and needs to be signed by the department Chair.

“Transfer Course Approval Form”

This is also a paper form only, which is available on the Dean’s website and is useful when a student plans to take a course at a different College and transfer the credits back to Geneseo.  The first question when inquiring about this form is whether or not the course is already in the course transfer equivalency databank. If the course is already listed in the databank then it is not necessary to fill out this form.  On the other hand, if the course is not in the equivalency databank and you think it should be, then you can fill out this form and ask the department Chair to sign.  When requesting this permission, please attach a course description and/or sample syllabus for the course in question.