Brandeis holds two registration periods for each semester. The first 'pre-registration' period typically runs for one week during the second half of the preceding term: pre-registration for fall is typically in April of the preceding spring term, and pre-registration for spring is typically in November of the preceding fall term. The second period is the regular registration period, typically starting a week or so before the first day of classes for a given term (though, for the first time, fall registration this year opened in July), and running through that term's first couple of weeks.
As a graduate student, you will not have any trouble getting in to any course that you need for your degree. You will still be able to enroll in any COSI or LING courses that are listed as "closed" in Sage and the Schedule of Classes because the enrollment limit has been reached. This is important to note, since it is likely different from your undergraduate experiences.
As described in the Course Selection section, the course schedule for each student is tailored to the student's individual needs (in terms of computer science and/or linguistics background needed) and academic interests. In order to achieve this, we hold meetings with all new CL MS students in the week leading up to the first day of classes of the semester, and by request (which we are always very happy to fulfill) for returning students. For new students in the program, these individual meetings follow the CL MS new student orientation meeting, where general course and advising information and guidelines are provided. Once the semester's course schedule has been decided, students can then formally register for courses in Sage any time through the last day of the regular registration period.
You can come to any courses you like on the first day of classes, regardless of whether or not you have formally added the courses in Sage. 'Shopping' for classes in this way is common and encouraged, and is helpful if you have any courses that you are not yet positive you want to take. When possible, it is optimal to attend from the first day any course that you think you might end up enrolling in, even if you're not sure, so that you don't miss any material or information.
Courses Requiring Special Permission
Courses taken outside of Computer Science or Linguistics—especially courses whose primary audience is undergraduate students—often do fill up during the pre-registration period held during the preceding term. This is especially true for language courses, especially at the introductory level (e.g., French 10 or Japanese 30). For these, it will be important to register for the course as early as possible during the term's pre-registration period, since the courses may already be full by the end of the pre-registration period.
After the regular registration period for a semester ends (usually around the second week of September in fall terms, and the third or fourth week of January in spring terms), it is NO LONGER possible to add a course. Thus, by the close of the regular registration period, you should be sure you have added all courses in Sage that you think there is a chance you will complete. You can drop them later, if need be, but it you cannot add them later.
The deadline for graduate students to DROP courses in Sage extends much later into the term—typically mid-November of fall terms and early April of spring terms. Thus, any courses that you added in Sage during the registration period can be dropped (with the consent of CL advising faculty) up to this time.
These add and drop deadlines for graduate students are adhered to very strictly by the Registrar's Office. They may not allow any exceptions (even if asked by CL faculty!), and it is thus very important for you to remain aware of these dates each semester. In particular, be sure that you can complete and do well in all courses remaining in your schedule in Sage beyond the last day for graduate students to drop courses. It may not be possible to drop them later, if troubles arise.