I wanted to know that whether it is possible to sit in a grad-level course or undergrad course without registering? What should I do before going to the class? should I talk to the professor? Is it illegal to participate in a class without registration? I need to learn about some other area that is why I need to participate in other classes as well.

closed as off-topic by Nate Eldredge, Buzz, Massimo Ortolano, Scientist, Wrzlprmft Sep 6 '18 at 14:18

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  • You have to look to your university's regulations. We have no way of knowing whether it's legal or permitted where you are. – Nate Eldredge Sep 6 '18 at 4:54
  • Just ask the professor, they can tell you the if any of this applies--and whether they mind regardless of what the rules say. One problem you might run into however is course materials may be within some management system like blackboard so you need to be formally added as an auditor. – A Simple Algorithm Sep 6 '18 at 13:09
  • @ASimpleAlgorithm: regarding "just ask the professor": In some countries, this is not at all expected and can be annoying. Indeed, our dean once told us he was annoyed because somebody asked him a similar question, so he gave the student a wrong.answer. – user111388 Aug 5 at 17:39

In the US, as far as I'm aware, the term you're looking for is "auditing" a class. You'll need to check your school's policy for this, as they vary.

For example, here's the audit policy for The University of Texas at Austin, which requires filling out a form, getting permission from the professor and there being space available in the class. But, when you're auditing, you only go to lectures, you don't participate in discussions or do any of the actual coursework.

This is pretty similar for other schools I've looked at but, as noted, you'll need to check your specific university's policy for it. Hopefully knowing the term will help.

For huge classes with 100+ students, you may be able to get in the unofficial way but for smaller classes of 10-30, the professor will probably notice that there's someone extra in the class, particularly if there aren't enough seats in the room.

  • 1
    I'll add that many universities have such an audit option is partly to prevent walk-ins of unregistered students. This is due to liability concerns. The concerns may be overblown, but they exist. Also, most audit systems require the payment of some fee to help defray the cost of any services used, including salaries as well as space. – Buffy Sep 6 '18 at 12:33

(Per the comments, this might be country-specific. In my experience, this answer applies to the countries where you can take as many or as few courses as you like per semester, for the same price).

Are you a student of the university? If so, you're generally free to sit in, although it's polite to ask the lecturer first (I've never had a lecturer say no, in fact they were very happy, so don't worry). Still, if you're going to sit in, I'd also try to take it formally for credit.

If you're not a student of the university, then it's mandatory to ask. Again however, I've never seen a lecturer say no, and they were even happy to talk to me about the material after class even though I'm not a student.

In both cases, you won't be able to do anything other than sit in for the lectures - so no tutorials, no labs, no homework assignments, and so on.

  • Just to add to your answer: unless the course requires some lab facilities or consumables that attendees may be using. As well as understanding the code of conduct for that course. – orezvani Sep 6 '18 at 4:53
  • Hm, this doesn't reflect the situation in the US, as I've seen it. Students are generally required to register for the class (and pay, if applicable). Audits may be allowed (you don't get a grade and you pay nothing or a nominal amount) but almost always require the instructor's permission. The instructor is often not allowed to let non-registered, non-auditing students attend, nor non-students (though sometimes it happens anyway). It would basically be giving away the university's expensive product for free. – Nate Eldredge Sep 6 '18 at 4:53
  • @orezvani in my case, I was only sitting in for the lectures. I didn't attend tutorials or labs, and didn't have access to homework problems, exam questions and the other things that come outside of lectures. – Allure Sep 6 '18 at 4:56
  • @orezvani yes there would be a lab also each week. – nikki Sep 6 '18 at 4:57
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    @nikki2 if you're not enrolled in the course, you almost surely won't be able to attend the labs, unfortunately. – Allure Sep 6 '18 at 4:59

Many online universities offer free online classes without registration for getting knowledge. You need to attend these classes in your manageable time period.

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