A Guide to Banner Course Add/Drop
June 17, 2010

This document is a brief guide to the Banner registration system Course Add/Drop screen as currently implemented at Northeastern University. This is the part of the system that allows a student or an advisor to add or drop sections of courses using the Course Reference Number (CRN).


The most common way to reach Self Service Banner (SSB) is via the Northeastern portal called myNEU. However, Self Service Banner (SSB) may be reached directly from the web which is faster and more convenient than going through myNEU. If you choose this direct route, you will still need to provide the same login credentials as you would for myNEU.

Here is the link to the Self Service Banner (SSB) login screen directly from the web:

Self Service Banner (SSB)

Once you go to this page, you may wish to bookmark the link in your browser.

Since this document focuses on Banner Add/Drop, I will assume you can navigate to Add/Drop once you are in SSB. If you are a student, you can get there fairly directly. If you are an advisor, you must first go through ID Selection to enter or search for the ID of the student that you plan to register.

Here is a snapshot of the Add/Drop screen for a particular student. As you can see there is room for the student name which will be followed by the NU student ID in parenthesis. There is also room for the student’s degree program. These have been erased in the snapshot.

Add/Drop Screen

The Add/Drop screen may be conveniently seen as consisting of 3 sections:

We will now discuss how to add classes and if need be drop classes.

To complete the Add/Drop process, you must click Submit Changes at the lower left on the screen.

Note that if you receive an error message after clicking Submit Changes then some or even all of the changes you wished will not have taken place. You must figure out the cause of the error and try to correct the problem as best you can. If you are a student, this may be a good time to contact an advisor.

Here are the basic rules of Add/Drop.

One situation in which you must add several sections at the same time is when there are corequisite constraints. For example, to register for a lecture course, you may be required to simultaneously register for a lab and/or for a recitation. Unless, you enter all CRN’s at once, the change will be rejected.

You are not permitted to register for the same course twice. Therefore, if you wish to switch sections, the best way to do this is by doing a Web Drop of the section currently in your schedule simultaneously with an Add of the new section.

For each student, there is a maximum number of hours which may vary depending on the student’s college and degree program. Without advisor help, a student cannot exceed the maximum number of hours. In turn, if an advisor agrees to an overload beyond the normal maximum number of hours, then the advisor must contact the Registrar’s Office for help. Currently, there is no way for an advisor to make this change directly online.

Some students such as those in athletic programs have a minimum number of hours. Such students cannot drop courses in such a way that their hours would fall below the minimum. They must therefore match drops with adds.

With this overview, let us more systematically discuss registration errors. Some possible reasons for a registration error are:

  1. There may be no seats remaining in the section.
  2. There may be no seats remaining in a required corequisite section.
  3. A course and a corequisite course are not being handled simultaneously.
  4. Adding a course may bring the student’s credits above the maximum hours.
  5. Dropping a course may bring the student’s credits below the minimum hours.
  6. Adding a course may create a day-time conflict with sections already in the student’s schedule.
  7. The student may have already taken the course.
  8. There may be a restriction on the section that does not permit the student to register for that section.
  9. There may be a bug in the system.

In general, if a student or an advisor encounters an error, they should determine why the error occurred and see if there is some way to avoid the error. For example, it may be possible to choose a different section to register in. It may also be possible to swap a section of a different course and thereby remove the obstacle to registration in the desired section of the new course.

Let us now discuss more specifically how to handle the errors.

Concerning 1 and 2: A student may speak with his advisor and request an override to permit registration beyond the capacity set by the unit. If the advisor thinks that this is a good idea then he can forward the request to the unit offering the course with an explanation of why the override is important. If the unit agrees to grant the request and if there is physical space available then the unit should ask the Registrar’s Office to do the registration.

Concerning 3: Failing to do registration of corequisite pairs simultaneously is an error that cannot be fixed except by providing the appropriate pair of CRN’s. If one section in the pair happens to have no available seats then this is really an instance of #1 or #2.

Concerning 4: A student may ask his advisor to take more than the normal credit load of courses, that is, to overload. If the advisor agrees that this is wise then he can ask the Registrar’s Office to do the registration. Note that an overload is risky because of the amount of work involved so approval of an overload is not automatic.

Concerning 5: Some students such as athletes on teams have a minimum number of credit hours. Therefore, dropping a course that would bring the total hours below this minimum cannot be done by itself. A simultaneous add must be done to keep the total hours at or above the minimum.

Concerning 6: If there is a day-time conflict then something must change. The student must pick a collection of course sections with no day-time conflicts.

Concerning 7: This situation usually occurs when a student knows that they are currently failing a course or receiving a grade below the minimum standard. When he tries to register to retake the course, this error occurs. The student must contact his advisor who can arrange to do the registration.

Concerning 8: If there is a course restriction that prevents registration, the error message will give a brief explanation. However, more details may be needed to understand the problem. These restriction details are available via the results of Enhanced Class Search.

Concerning 9: Occasionally, there is a bug is the section restrictions data. The student appears to meet all restrictions but still cannot register. In this case, the student should inform their advisor who can in turn alert the Registrar’s Office to do the registration and to look into the bug.

Further recommendations:

Link to: A Guide to Banner Enhanced Class Search

Prepared by the College of Computer & Information Science at Northeastern University. For comments or suggestions, send mail to: advising@ccs.neu.edu