In general, exchange student are given a lot of flexibility in choosing what papers they want to take. You may view a tentative list of the papers offered by looking at the syllabus of different programs here. However, registering for your papers (called courses in North America) can be a pretty challenging process. The reason for this is that students at Delhi University normally do not have to register for classes; all students take the same compulsory classes at each and every semester of their degree. Therefore, all they need is to locate the timetable for their year and all is sorted. “Registration” for individual papers is therefore something colleges almost never have to handle for which there is no entirely systematic process.
A good way to go about registration is to first meet with the principal of your college to ensure he has no objection with you singing up for any of the papers on offer. Thereafter, it is advisable to meet with the teachers in charge, which are the representatives of the department at the college level. For example, there is a teacher-in-charge for papers offered by the Political Science Department at Hindu College. There is one responsible for sociology papers, and so on so forth. That person will be able to describe the papers on offer in your field of interest and put you in touch with the professors who teach them.
Before settling on papers, do gather the timetables for each of the programs you intend to take papers from. It would be wise to avoid having conflicts in your schedule, but that can be quite difficult because most papers have multiple 55 minutes-long lectures scheduled each week. Minor conflicts between the papers you want to take, however, can often be worked out with teachers-in-charge. If they don’t end up changing the timetable to accommodate you (yes, Indian people are very accommodating), they may end up accepting your paper choices despite the small conflicts. At any rate, even if you don’t have conflicts at the beginning, timetables will almost certainly be modified at some point during the semester and end up causing some kind of conflicts. If this happens, explain the situation to your professors so it doesn’t cause problem for your attendance.
Once you are set on the papers you want to take, meet the professors responsible for each of them and ask them if you can take their class. The vast majority of the time, they’ll be happy to welcome you. Once you have had these conversations, you’re pretty much done! The verbal, iterative and informal nature of the process is quite surprising to most Westerners, but that’s generally what registration looks like here!
If you feel uneasy with not having an official confirmation of registration or need to provide one to a third-party, you can arrange to get one. For this, first write a letter to your principal requesting a confirmation of registration and list the papers you have decided to take. Get each of your professors to sign their name next to the title of their respective papers. Take that letter to the principal’s office. When he approves it, he might have you take the letter you submitted to his administrative office for them to type up a formal letter that will bear his stamp. You’ll then have to take that letter back to the principal’s office to get his signature on the stamp… Quite complicated, I know… but it can get handy. If you do end up getting such letter, Deepa Gupta of the Dean of International Relations will be grateful if you provide her with a copy of the said paper. She’ll also be able to use it to contact your teachers-in-charge and make sure they submit your grades promptly at the end of the semester.
The whole registration process may feel tiring, but rest assured, you’ll make it through. You’ll also have quite a lot of time to do this because it takes a while for classes to actually start once the semester has officially begun.
Note: This guide is based on personal experience and is not a university-sponsored publication. Policies, rules and processes, where they exist, do change and are often applied differently by different staff or colleges. Information here should therefore be used to get a general idea of how things work, and specifics should be validated with university officials.