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Why Can't I Enroll In This Course?

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If you can’t enroll in a particular course, don't panic! Try these next steps to see if they solve your problem.

Enrollment Troubleshooting

  1. We recommend using the standalone SimpleEnroll website to sign up for your courses instead of going through Axess.  The new SimpleEnroll can handle three times as much student traffic as Axess can!  Visit to get started.
  2. There is a known search issue with SimpleEnroll and MS&E courses.  When searching for MS&E classes, try searching by the long course title, or just type in ‘MS’ and then find your intended class in the list of results.
  3. If you are having trouble enrolling in a course that has both a lecture and a section, try enrolling in the lecture first, then the section. If that doesn’t work, try the other way around as well.
  4. Look up your course on Explore Courses and click on the blue “Schedule for [course]” link. Check for information on enrollment limits (e.g. “Students enrolled: 60/60”), prerequisites you may be missing, an application you need to fill out, or other class notes.
  5. Changes to your COLLEGE or PWR enrollment usually cannot be done on Axess. Rather, please follow the instructions here.
  6. A few courses have their prerequisites "hard-coded" into the system, preventing you from enrolling until certain conditions are met. For example, you may not be able to enroll in Chem 31B or Econ 50 until your grades have posted for all the prerequisite classes. You cannot enroll in Math 19, 20, 21, or 51 unless you have taken the Math placement diagnostic first. Similarly, students who have never taken an entry-level Physics course at Stanford must take the Physics placement diagnostic to enroll in Physics 41, Physics 43, Physics 45, or Physics 61. In any of these cases, come back and try again once your grades have posted or after you have received your placement test results.
  7. For introductory Math courses (Math 19, 20, 21, 51), do not worry if all lectures/sections appear to be full at first.  The Math department will monitor numbers and raise the enrollment caps regularly each business day so every student who would like to enroll will be able to.  
  8. Keep in mind that for cross-listed courses, the true number of enrolled students comprises the total number of students enrolled under each of the course names. For example, if a class is listed under two names and has a total cap of 60, and one course name shows 32 enrolled students and the other course name shows 28 enrolled students, this class is now full.
  9. If you can’t enroll because your preferred lecture or section time is full, choose another timeslot if you can. Keep checking back on Explore Courses and SimpleEnroll in case a spot opens up.
  10. If a class is not showing up in SimpleEnroll course search, closing your browser window and restarting your SimpleEnroll session may help.
  11. Even if you can't enroll, we strongly encourage you to keep checking back on SimpleEnroll, and to show up to the first meeting of your desired lecture or section time regardless. You may also try emailing the course instructors to ask to be added to their Canvas page so that you may follow along with the course from the beginning of the quarter. It is common for other students to drop their spot in the class during the first few weeks, or the enrollment limit may be increased if there is enough demand.

Enrollment Holds

If you cannot enroll in any classes, there may be an issue with your individual account.

  • Check Axess to see if you have any enrollment holds. (See also: Help, I have an enrollment hold!)  During Winter Quarter, keep an eye out for the Student Information Update Hold, which you can lift yourself by updating your personal information. 
  • If you have no enrollment holds but still suspect a problem with your account, you may contact the Student Services Center (SSC), on the second floor of Tresidder Union. Students are encouraged to file a Service Now Ticket. The SSC is the best way to contact the Registrar’s Office, as the Registrar's Office oversees all enrollment, transcript, and official records of the university.

Other Common Enrollment Issues

Want to change your PWR quarter or section?
Please see the Enrolling in PWR page for all questions relating to PWR enrollment.

Want to change your COLLEGE course?
See the Enrollment FAQ for more information on COLLEGE enrollment.

Hoping to resume a Language you have already studied?
If you have ANY prior experience with the language, you must take a placement test before courses begin. In the summer through autumn, there are scheduled exams for Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Classical Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Latin, Persian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Spanish for Home Background Speakers, Tagalog, and Vietnamese. Be sure to check for the placement test deadlines at the Language Center. For other languages, email

Language placement test results are valid for one year, so if your results have expired, you must retake the exam.
Review the full guidelines for placement tests, and if you have questions, email

See Also

Return to the Advising Student Handbook