How to pick courses

Students inside the lobby at SMU

Step 1: Selecting Courses

It’s time to choose your courses and map out your schedule! Before completing the steps below, be sure to review your First Year Course Requirements.  

Courses can be viewed online through Self-Service Banner using the Class Search tool. You don’t need a Banner login to search the academic timetable. 

Class Search provides:

  • Courses offered in a specific term
  • Location and times of classes
  • Course instructors
  • Remaining seats available in the course
  • Pre-requisites
  • Login to Self-Service
  • Select “Enter Self-Service Banner” · Enter your email address and password. Click here if you need help accessing your account.
  • Select the "Student" tab at the top
  • Select "Registration"
  • Select "Look Up Classes"
  • Select the appropriate term from the drop-down menu
  • Enter criteria to search for a class (i.e. Subject, Course Number)
  • Select "Class Search"
  • Courses matching your criteria will appear
  • Click the course name to see the number of remaining seats and prerequisites
  • Click the "Back" button in your browser to begin a new search
  • View Self-Service Banner homepage 
  • Select "Class Schedule" 
  • Select the appropriate term from the drop-down menu 
  • Enter criteria to search for a class (i.e. Subject, Course Number) 
  • Select "Class Search" 
  • Courses matching your criteria will appear 
  • Click the course name to see the number of remaining seats and pre-requisites 
  • Select "New Search" to do another class search 

Step 2: Create Your Schedule

Before registering for courses, create a timetable (class schedule). This will help you collect important class information and avoid a time conflicts. 

Writing down your schedule first is helpful. Try printing the Timetable Worksheet and filling it out with a pencil. 

How many classes should you take?

To be considered a full-time undergraduate student, you need to be registered in a minimum of 3 courses per term (9 credit hours). Undergraduate students are considered part-time when they take less than three courses per term (6 credit hours). 

A full course load typically consists of 5 courses per term (15 credit hours). You cannot register for more than six courses per term (18 credit hours). 

A CRN or Course Reference Number is a unique 5-digit number associated with each course/lab/recitation. The CRN for each course can be found in the "Look Up Classes" menu on Self-Service Banner between the "Select" and "Subject" column. 

Once you’ve selected your classes, you can fill in your timetable. Be sure to write down necessary course information, like your class subject and course number (e.g. ACCT 1205). 


1XXXX = September - December courses 

2XXXX = January - April courses 

3XXXX = May - June courses 

4XXXX = July - August courses 

5XXXX = May - August Graduate-level courses 

Helpful Tools

  • Don’t put all your classes on a two-day cycle (for example, all your courses on Mondays and Wednesdays). Spread them out over the week so you have time between classes to prepare for the next one. This also helps around midterms so that you are less likely to have multiple midterms on the same day.  
  • Courses ending in XX and YY are full-year courses (for example, PHIL 1200 XX). XX indicates the fall term, and YY the winter term. You must register for both parts of the course. Full-year courses require you to complete both halves of the course. This is not done automatically, so you will need to add both terms during your registration process. You cannot drop the course halfway through and get credit for the first half. Refer to the Academic Calendar for descriptions and prerequisites for each course. 
  • Double-check all class times. You cannot register for two courses offered at the same time. 
  • You are not required to take a full course load. Try to take a number of classes that is manageable for you.  
  • Many courses include labs and recitations. Make sure you leave enough time for assignments and studying for exams. (Note: Taking fewer courses may extend the length of your degree.) 
  • Distribute your courses evenly over the week. Try not to schedule more than two classes in succession.  

Degree Works is a degree evaluation tool that helps you track your academic progress, showing your program requirements, completed courses, and requirements to graduate. Degree Works is available to all Saint Mary’s students on Self-Service Banner. 

Ask for Help If You Need It

If you need help selecting courses for your degree, you can speak with an Academic Advisor. 

If you need help building your timetable or registering online, contact The Centre for New Students at 902-491-8691 or