Upper-division math course registration system initially restricts registration for nonmath majors, students say

Angelica Arinze

A recent change implemented by the Office of the Registrar initially reserved sections for all upper-division math courses exclusively to math majors during the first week of spring 2020 registration. 

Students said the campuswide system, known as the Seat Management System, limited the number of sections available to nonmath majors. Tan Thai, senior academic program coordinator for the mathematics department, said although the department received complaints about the new system, it was put in place to help math students get priority choice for courses they need for their degree. 

“We needed to figure out a way to best serve our math students,” Thai said. “Unfortunately, the only way we could do that was to restrict all math courses to math majors within that first week. Then, as we felt like our (math) students were registered for classes, Tuesday of the second week, I slowly opened up courses to other students.” 

Thai said the program launched in spring 2019 and is similar to systems used by other departments across campus.

“There are courses in (computer science) that only CS majors have first dibs at,” Thai said. “We felt that it was necessary for us to use this system that the registrar’s office made us use.”


Mechanical engineering sophomore Joseph Vickery said he was dissatisfied with the new system and believes it puts nonmath majors at a disadvantage during registration. 

“It has been horrible for me,” Vickery said. “I had to move to another class to replace that one and will have to take (advanced calculus) later because they decided to do this system even though more than just math majors have to take math classes.”  

Mathematics junior Christy Perry said that while she understands some students’ frustrations with the system, there are still openings for various courses. 

“Nonmath majors shouldn’t worry too much about all of the classes closing,” Perry said. “They won’t get the top professors in the department or register at a time they want, but they will most likely still be able to register for courses.”

Since the program is relatively new, Thai said the department is trying to make the system smoother and more efficient for all students trying to register. 

“As departments and colleges voice their opinions about this new program, they’ll seek out our suggestions and make these changes,” Thai said. “Hopefully, they can take at least one main request and fix the problem.”