Limitations on Enrollment

Limitations on enrollment are restrictions imposed due to the nature of the course such as prerequisites, corequisites, intercollegiate competition, honors, public performance or restrictions imposed in the number of students who may enroll in a course subject to "first come, first serve" or due to health and safety considerations, facilities limitations, faculty workload, the availability of qualified instructors, funding limitations, the constraints of regional planning, legal requirements imposed by statutes, regulations, or contracts, or other such limitations as designated by the District. Students on probation or who are subject to dismissal may also experience a limitation as to the number of units in which they are allowed to enroll until they have removed themselves from probation or dismissal status.

Prerequisites, Corequisites, & Advisories

Complete course prerequisites, corequisites, and advisories are listed in this catalog. These requirements are intended to ensure students a reasonable chance of success. Questions regarding course eligibility should be discussed with the faculty advisor.  

Prerequisites are a course or courses, skills, or a body of knowledge that students should possess prior to enrolling in a course or program. Prerequisites indicate the College of the Desert course which must be taken prior to enrollment in a given course. Prerequisite requirements must be met before enrollment is permitted.  Prerequisite courses must be completed with a grade of "C" or better.   

Corequisites are a course or courses students are required to take simultaneously in order to enroll in another course. Corequisites represents a set of skills or a body of knowledge students must acquire through concurrent and continued enrollment in another course or courses in order to receive a "C" or better in the course requiring the corequisite.  

An advisory is a condition of enrollment that students are advised, but not required, to meet before or concurrently with enrollment in a course or educational program. An advisory suggests skills, experiences, or a body of knowledge with which students would achieve a greater depth or breadth of knowledge or skill development, but without which students are likely to receive a satisfactory grade.

The District has established procedures by which any student who does not meet a prerequisite or corequisite or who is not permitted to enroll due to a limitation on enrollment, but who provides satisfactory evidence, may seek entry into the class according to a challenge process.

Any prerequisite or corequisite may be challenged by a student on one or more of the following grounds:

  1. The prerequisite or corequisite has not been established according to the District's process of establishing prerequisites and corequisites;
  2. The prerequisite or corequisite violates Title 5, section 55003 (Policies for Prerequisites);
  3. The prerequisite or corequisite is either unlawfully discriminatory or is being applied in an unlawfully discriminatory manner;
  4. The student has the knowledge or ability to succeed in the course or program despite not meeting the stated prerequisite or corequisite;
  5. The student will be subject to undue delay in attaining the goal stated in the Student Education Plan (SEP) because the prerequisite or corequisite course has not been made reasonably available.

The determination of whether a student meets a prerequisite or corequisite shall be made prior to the student's enrollment in the course.

Students who are seeking to challenge a course prerequisite or corequisite are encouraged to consult with a counselor in the Counseling Center to receive guidance on how to complete the process and on the validity of a challenge prior to it being submitted.

Basic Skills Course Limitation

Basic skills or pre-collegiate courses are designed to prepare students for college-level work. Students may be recommended to enroll in certain basic skills courses if the student's past academic performance indicates they will benefit by this special preparation for college-level courses. A total of 30 units are allowed. Any student who completes a total of 30 units in any combination will be notified and referred to a counselor for educational planning or exceptions to the limits. Basic skills courses may not be used to satisfy general education requirements for an associate degree. Exceptions to the basic skills limitations are: students enrolled in one or more courses of ESL, or students identified by the District as having a learning disability as defined in Title 5, section 56036.

Students who are financial aid recipients are reminded that only 30 units of remedial course work are excluded from the established unit limit for financial aid eligibility. Please check the Financial Aid Office webpage for further details on courses excluded from remediation.

Courses Related in Content

Many Art, Kinesiology, and Performing Arts courses have enrollment limitations. Active participatory courses that share a similar educational objective are grouped together as a “family” of courses related in content. Students are allowed four enrollments within each “family”, but each course in the “family” is limited to one enrollment unless it has been designated as repeatable, per Title 5, Section 55040 (c), California Code of Regulations:

"The policies and procedures adopted by the governing board of each community college district pursuant to subdivision (a) may not permit student enrollment in active participatory courses, as defined in section 55000, in physical education/kinesiology, visual arts, or performing arts that are related in content, more than four times for semester courses." This limitation applies even if a student receives a substandard grade or “W” during one or more of the enrollments in such a course or petitions for repetition due to extenuating circumstances as provided in Title 5, section 55045.

Maximum Unit Load

An average class load for fall and spring semesters is considered to be 12-17 units. Students working full time are encouraged to carry a reduced load. Students with advanced standing and having a “C” average (2.0 grade point average) or better, are permitted to enroll in a maximum of 19 units. During the summer term an average class load is two classes; however, students may be limited to a total of 7 units. During the winter term, an average class load is one class; however, students may be limited to a total of 7 units.

Students who wish to obtain a variance from the above unit limitations should meet with a counselor in the Counseling Center to discuss their need for an overload and for assistance in completing a Request to Add Class form. Upon completion of the form, students should set up a meeting with the Dean of Counseling or designee to discuss their prior academic performance and their reasons for requesting a unit overload. The Dean or designee will provide final approval for a unit overload if deemed appropriate.

Multiple Enrollments

College of the Desert does not permit a student to enroll in two or more sections of the same credit course during the same term unless the two sections are short term courses that do not overlap within the same term (Title 5, section 55007.a).

Overlapping Enrollments - Time Conflicts

College of the Desert does not permit a student to enroll in two or more courses where the meeting times for the courses overlap (Title 5, section 55007.b).

Students with Minimum Unit Requirements

Category Minimum Units
Athletes 12
ASCOD Officers 5
CARE Students 12
EOPS Students 9
Full-time Financial Aid Recipients 12
3/4 time Financial Aid Recipients 9
Half-time Financial Aid Recipients 6
International Students 12
TRIO ACES Students 12
Veteran's Benefits Recipients Varies by program

 Each program may have additional eligibility requirements. Please contact the program for additional information.