Course Scheduling Guidelines Original 1976, last revision October 2017

Includes new course block schedule approved for Winter 2018

We all must share classrooms and scheduling hours to use the best facilities available and to maximize our students' class choices. The natural result of free choice in scheduling is that classes tend to cluster in the middle of the day and the middle of the week, since the least desirable times in general for classes are early mornings and late afternoons, especially on Thursdays and Fridays. Individual faculty members, department heads, and deans all need to cooperate to avoid this clustering for the benefit of all and to make the best possible use of our classrooms and our current time slots (generally 60 or 90 minutes of class with fifteen minutes between classes).

A general principle of course scheduling is that every faculty member should expect to teach some classes at less-popular times and in less-than-first-choice locations. Faculty can expect an inverse relationship between these two choices: a prime time usually gets a less prime location, and an off time usually gets a better location. Similarly, departments should expect to spread their offerings over the entire schedule of available times, and to accommodate the needs of individual faculty members in such a way that, over time, everyone makes some sacrifices in a fair and equitable way. When possible, those faculty members who need special accommodations for a particular term or stage of professional life should expect to take up the slack in other terms and stages. Department heads have the primary responsibility to work out a plan for teaching schedules each term that takes full advantage of all the possible teaching hours and spaces and best meets the needs of their majors and non-majors.

It is especially helpful if they space out course offerings for classes with multiple sections so that the largest number of students can take a section that does not conflict with their other classes. Through years of experience dealing with the practicalities of scheduling and in consultation with individual faculty members, department heads, and deans, the faculty's Registration and Class Schedules Committee has implemented some limitations on individual freedom that have enabled optimal use of time slots and classrooms. Departments share time slots and many of the same classrooms, which in almost all cases do not "belong" to particular departments. Therefore, the University Registrar, at times assisted by the deans, has responsibility for and authority in addressing class-scheduling priorities and problems. Deans examine the entire schedule to determine whether certain times or rooms are overused or underused; exceptions to these guidelines may be granted by the appropriate academic dean.

The key to course scheduling is flexibility. Individual faculty members should first consult with their department heads to reach a compromise between their preferred times and spaces and the limitations imposed by the course-scheduling guidelines. The deans and the registrar's staff are available to discuss ways to attempt to meet everyone's course scheduling and classroom needs.

Here are the current limitations and rationales:

It is easiest to schedule 60-minute classes that meet three times a week on MWF, since that allows the most availability of classrooms. Sixty-minute MWF class blocks are as follows.

8:30 am – 9:30 am
9:45 am – 10:45 am
11:00 am – 12:00 noon
12:15 pm – 1:15 pm
1:30 pm – 2:30 pm
2:45 pm – 3:45 pm
4:00 pm – 5:00 pm

It is easiest to schedule 90-minute or two-hour classes that meet twice a week on TR across two-hour blocks, since that allows maximum flexibility in the choice and use of the hours. To minimize problems of overlap, we ask you to use the following as the standard blocks for Tuesday-Thursday (TR) classes:

8:00 am – 9:30 am
9:45 am - 11:15 am
11:45 am – 1:15 pm
1:30 pm – 3:00 pm
3:15 pm – 4:45 pm 

 8:00 am - 9:30 am and 2:45 pm - 4:15 pm may also be used as the standard blocks for MW classes, since peak hours on MW would take up classrooms that could be used by twice as many one-hour classes.

Two-hour blocks (120-minutes), twice a week are an option for those who need them, at

8:00 am – 10:00 am MW or TR
10:15 am – 12:15 TR
12:30 pm – 2:30 pm TR
2:45 pm – 4:45 pm MW or TR

The following 120-minute blocks are available only for studio or laboratory use.

9:45 am – 11:45 am MW
12:30 pm – 2:30 pm MW 

It is easiest to schedule non-laboratory classes of three hours or more at off-peak times so they do not conflict with all the classes that clump to the middle. We ask you to schedule such classes during the afternoon, beginning at the earliest at 1:30 pm.

In order to allow more students more choices, first-year- and sophomore-level classes that meet for one hour four times a week should be scheduled as follows:

8:30 am – 9:30 am MTWF
9:45 am – 10:45 am MTWF
11:00 am – 12:00 pm MTWF
12:15 pm – 1:15 pm MTWF or MTRF
1:30 pm – 2:30 pm MTRF
2:45 pm – 3:45 pm MTRF
4:00 pm – 5:00 pm MTRF

This schedule creates one free day per week (Thursday or Wednesday) for the easy intersection of first-year- and sophomore-level science laboratories of four hours scheduled in the following priority order:

  • Thursday morning, 8:30 am - 11:30 am or 8:00 am - 12:00 noon
  • Wednesday afternoon, 1:30 pm - 4:30 pm or 1:30 pm - 5:30 pm
  • Tuesday morning, 8:30 am - 11:30 am or 8:00 am - 12:00 noon
  • Monday afternoon, 1:30 pm - 4:30 pm or 1:30 pm - 5:30 pm
  •  Friday afternoon, 1:30 pm - 4:30 pm or 1:30 pm - 5:30 pm
  • Tuesday afternoon, 1:30 pm - 4:30 pm or 1:30 pm - 5:30 pm
  • Thursday afternoon, 1:30 pm - 4:30 pm or 1:30 pm - 5:30 pm

These last five choices do not take advantage of the one free day but do minimize other conflicts.

Blocks for viewing films should be scheduled outside the normal class block schedule during fall and winter terms.

Spring guidelines are under review (October 2017): Standard blocks for classrooms assignments for Spring Term are listed below. Faculty-approved contact time should be approximately 8-10 hours of "direct contact" with faculty and an additional 20-25 hours of course-work time for each student per week.

Basic course blocks for spring term

8:00am-12:10pm, 9:05am-12:10pm, 10:10am-12:10pm, 12:20-pm-3:25pm, 12:20pm-4:30pm, 12:20pm-5:35pm, 1:25pm- 3:25pm, 1:25pm-4:30pm,1:25pm-5:35pm, evening (with Dean's permission). Day of the week to choose (although other options are acceptable): MTWRF, MWF, TR, MW, MTWR, MTRF, MWRF, TWRF, TRF. PE skills course times are 8:30am-10:00am MTWR or 12:50pm-2:20pm MTWR.

To keep the non-classroom spaces of the University free for maximum flexibility and student use (such as rooms in the University Commons), classes may not be scheduled in them without a dean's recommendation.

Revised by Reg&Class Sched October 2017
Restated by Reg&Class Sched October 2009

Restated by Reg&Class Sched, March 2005; March 2006

VPAA January 2000 (dept offerings oct.wpd, 1/29/00) revised by Deans October 2003, revised by Reg&Class Sched Dec, 2003

Original was Reg&Class Scheduling 1976, revised in 1986