At the University of St.Gallen, lecture places are allocated by means of an electronic course allocation procedure – the bidding process. Students bid points for the lectures of their choice every semester. The courses are then allocated in an auction process: the more points a student bids, the higher the probability that he or she will be given a place in the desired lecture. Allocation through the bidding process is a prerequisite for students to attend a course, for their ability to register for an examination and for their credit entitlement. Since allocation takes place without the Administration’s or faculty’s manual interference, the bidding process guarantees that all students have equal opportunities.
Courses are allocated according to the low price principle. Starting with the highest number of points bid, the system allocates students to a course in descending order – as long as places are available. Students who have bid the same number of points are allocated their places at random. The number of points of the lowest successful bid constitutes the price for the course in the bidding round. The difference between this and the bid made for a place is restored to the students, also for courses to which they have not been admitted. The time at which points are bid is irrelevant at all levels. Allocation only takes places after the bidding round has been concluded.
In the Assessment Year, bidding is conducted in a round. Students are able to bid points for lectures within a bidding time window. Assessment Year students are given 1,000 points per semester. In contrast to the other levels, Assessment Year students who have not bid are allocated to any places that are still unoccupied. The reason for this is that there are courses in the Assessment Year which students must attend within two semesters, such as core electives, independent study groups, courses in Critical Awareness and a foreign language.
At the Bachelor’s and Master’s Levels, students have at their disposal 500 points for contextual studies and 500 points for core studies. At these two levels, the bidding process is conducted in a preliminary round, three main rounds and five waiting list rounds. The bidding process starts three and a half weeks before the beginning of the semester. Courses have quotas for HSG students and guest students.
At the Ph.D. Level, courses are allocated in one single round. At this level, there is no actual bidding process; students simply register for courses.