Departmental Policies

Advising Hours During University Holidays

Please be advised that faculty are not available for advising during the summer/winter holidays for any of our language programs. Advising will resume at the start of the fall/spring semester. You may have to wait until the start of the fall semester for these advising issues, so please plan accordingly.

Advisors by Language Program



In the Romance, German and Slavic Languages and Literatures Department, we do our best to accommodate as many students as possible into our language and literature courses. However, there will invariably be students every semester, particularly freshmen and sophomores, who find that the courses they need are full.

Check GWeb

The best advice we can give you is to continue checking the GWeb Info System as often as you can. Students can add/drop classes at any point during the scheduled registration periods (see Registrar's website for exact dates). This is particularly true right before the start of each semester, when students return from the holidays and try to create better schedules. Students who check often will be the first to see if a course opens up.

French Waitlist (Levels 1001-2006)

All French language courses levels 1001-2006 use an online waitlist system developed by the Registrar's Office. To sign up for the waitlist for a closed class, please follow these steps:

  1. Some students are already registered for a course and are just looking to switch sections. Do not drop your current section until you know that you have successfully added the one you want. There is probably a waitlist for the section you are currently in, and it may not be possible to get your spot back. Unfortunately, GWeb does not indicate whether a course has a waitlist until you try to register for it. It might appear open, but this could mean that there are just open spots that have already been assigned to people ahead of you on the waitlist. Please keep this in mind when you are making adjustments to your schedule. And remember, signing up for the waitlist does not guarantee that you will be added into the course.
  2. Before signing up for any courses, make sure that you know your correct placement for French courses. Not taking the placement exam means that you could be spending time on a waitlist for the wrong course.
  3. To sign up for the waitlist, log into GWeb and attempt to register for the course as you normally would by clicking on Student Records and Registration, then Registration Menu, and finally Register, Drop, and/or Add Classes. Select the appropriate semester. Enter the CRN of the course you want and click submit. You will receive an error message that says that the course has been waitlisted. But you aren’t done yet. This is just GWeb’s way of asking if you would like to sign up for the waitlist. You will need to click submit a second time. Now the course should appear with the list of your registered courses, but it will say “waitlisted” instead of “web registered.” You are now on the waitlist.
  4. There is no way to know how long it will take before a spot opens up. It may be only a few days, or it could take the entire registration period. It is also possible that no spaces will open up. However, once a space becomes available you will receive an automatic email and you will have 24 hours to register, so be sure to check your email daily.
  5. If you no longer wish to be on a waitlist, please go back into GWeb and drop the course you waitlisted so that the next student may be offered a space if one is available. The way the system is programmed, only you have the ability to take yourself off a waitlist.
  6. If you have any problems using the waitlist system, or if you would like to know how many students are ahead of you on the waitlist, you can always give us a call.
Spanish Waitlist
  1. All Spanish language courses (1001 - 2056) use the online waitlist system the Registrar’s Office. 
  2. Before signing up for a Spanish language course, make sure you know your correct placement. Not meeting the requirements means that you could be spending time on a waitlist for the wrong course.
  3. Signing up for the waitlist does not guarantee that you will be added into the course. 
All Other Courses

For any French or Spanish courses level 3100W or above, and for all German, Italian, Portuguese, and Slavic courses, signing students into the course above the registration cap is at the discretion of the individual instructor (literature courses) or the language program coordinator (language courses). Please contact the appropriate person directly to see if they are maintaining a paper waitlist. Note that a paper waitlist will not prevent students from registering electronically if a spot opens up, so continue to check GWeb often even if you get your name on a waitlist. NOTE: For all types of waitlists, being on a waitlist does not guarantee you a spot in the class. We will, however, do our best to accommodate you.


Please note: This information does not apply to French language courses 1001-2006.

After reviewing the waitlists, we will attempt to accommodate as many students as possible into the closed sections. If you are selected, you will need a Registration Transaction Form (RTF-EZ). In the case of language courses, approval for adding you into a class can only come from the language program coordinator for that language, not the instructor for the course. Your instructor may not know the fire code capacity (see below) or other registration restrictions for their classroom, which could cause you to be dropped from the course at a later date.

Only the language program coordinators can sign these forms. Literature instructors, however, may sign the RTF-EZ.

Fire Code and Curricular Limits

There are two factors that may prevent a student from registering even if there are still empty seats in the classroom. The first is the GW Fire Code. Every classroom in the university has a seating capacity limit imposed by the DC fire department. This number is the maximum number of students who can legally be registered into the course, regardless of whether or not additional seats have been moved into the room! If the fire code capacity has been met, the Registrar's Office will not accept your RTF-EZ Form.

The nature of language instruction also requires us to place limits on the maximum number of students allowed in a class. In order to make sure that students have the opportunity to speak in class, and receive the necessary amount of individual attention from the instructor, we have set the registration caps at between 14 and 19 students. If necessary, these caps can be exceeded, but we can only add so many students before the course becomes too large for the type of curriculum we provide. As a result, only one or two students might be added even if the course is held in a larger lecture room that can hold 40.


Due to the extremely high demand for our language courses, it is against our department's policy to allow auditors in these classes. Literature courses may be audited, provided there is room in the class and the instructor gives their permission. For these courses, interested students should contact the individual instructors for permission to audit. If you are a GW alumnus or alumna, you can enroll in one of our literature courses through the Alumni Course Audit Program.


Graduate and Law Students

The rules for graduate and law school students vary from program to program. Please consult with your academic advisor.

In general, graduate and law school students may enroll in our language and literature courses provided that they can take the course for credit (no auditors) and there are seats available. You cannot be registered through the online registration system, however. You must fill out a Registration Transaction Form and have it signed either by the language program coordinator (language courses) or the instructor (literature courses). Because classes fill up very quickly, it is important that you get permission from the appropriate coordinator/instructor and turn in the Registration Transaction Form to the Registrar's Office on your priority registration day.

If your program does not allow you to take undergraduate courses for credit, you will not be allowed to enroll in language courses.