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Canvas: Merging Courses


6.0 - Updated on 09-05-2023 by Vilma Shu (vbs5182)

5.0 - Updated on 03-15-2021 by Daniel Travis (drt82)

4.0 - Updated on 02-17-2021 by Daniel Travis (drt82)

3.0 - Updated on 04-08-2020 by Daniel Travis (drt82)

2.0 - Updated on 06-13-2019 by Daniel Travis (drt82)

1.0 - Authored on 08-30-2017 by Vilma Shu (vbs5182)

Before You Merge Courses

Please consider the following important information before merging any courses:

Prepare Courses for Merging

  1. Find the course sections you intend to merge on your Canvas Dashboard or All Courses list. Ensure those sections meet the following criteria:
    • You must be enrolled as a teacher or course admin in each section to be merged.
    • All sections to be merged must be from the same semester.
    • Sections to be merged must be unpublished, cannot have any student submissions, and cannot be Master Courses or Sandboxes.
    • Sections to be merged should not have any content, as this content will be lost during the merging process.
  2. Make note of the SISID of each section to be merged to help you identify those sections in the Merge Course Manager.
    NOTE: The SISID can be found on the Settings page within each section, and consists of the Semester Code followed by the LionPATH Course Number.
  3. Save a copy of the rosters from each section to be merged so you can check the roster in the merged course against those copies when the merge is complete.
  4. Ensure that there is no course content (e.g., pages, files, modules, assignments, quizzes, announcements, etc.) in any of the sections you intend to merge.
    NOTE: You will not be able to access any content in these sections after they are merged unless you unmerge. Please export or copy any content in these sections before merging.
  5. If you do already have course content in any of the sections you intend to merge and want to save that content before merging, do the following:
    1. Copy any content from the course section(s) to be merged into a Master Course OR export the course content from the section(s) to be merged, and save the course export file to your computer.
    2. After the courses have been merged, you can then copy the content from your Master Course into your new merged course OR upload the course export file you saved to your computer in a previous step to the new merged course.

Merge Course Sections

After completing the course preparation tasks listed above, use the following steps to merge two or more Canvas courses:

  1. On the Canvas Dashboard, click the Merge Course Manager button.
  2. Read and accept the Confirmation of Educational or Pedagogical Purpose of Canvas Section Merge.
  3. You are now viewing the Merge Course Manager main screen.
    Screen capture of Create Merged Course screen with New Course Name and Create course based on fields and a list of sections with check boxes.

    Merge Course manager main screen
  4. In the New Course Name field, enter a name.
    NOTE: Create a standardized naming convention for your merged courses that includes all of the section numbers or course names to prevent confusion for students and faculty. (Example: ACCT 100 FA2017 Section 001/002/003).
  5. From the Create course based on drop-down menu, select a base course (one of the courses to be merged).
    NOTE: The content in the base course will not migrate with the merge. Ensure content is exported or copied to a Master Course or exported before merging. Also, ensure the base course is from the same semester as the other sections to be merged.
  6. Using the check boxes, select all sections to be merged, including the base course you selected in the previous step. Sections are listed in the following format per the display key you will see on the merge course page: Course Name(SisCourseId(Semester)-Campus-Method Subject-Course Number-Section Number).
    Example: HRBusStrategyTools(21781--14329(201718FA)-WC-WBHRER-825-001)
    Screen capture of a section listing with labels indicating what each portion refers to.

    Example section listing
  7. Click Merge Courses.
  8. You will receive a notification that "Course Merge was Successful."
    NOTE: The merged course may not automatically appear on the Dashboard. To add it to your Dashboard, see adding courses to your dashboard.

Unmerge Course Sections

You can unmerge course sections as long as the merged course is unpublished and contains no student activity (e.g., assignment submissions).

Use the following steps to unmerge your courses in Canvas:

  1. On the Dashboard, click the Merge Course Manager button.
  2. Select the Remove Merged Section tab.
  3. Select the course from the Merged Course Name drop-down list.
  4. Check the check boxes for all of the section(s) you want to remove from the existing merged course.
  5. Click the Remove section(s) button.
    NOTE: When you click this button, the sections you unmerged will be returned to the original course shells that were created for these sections via LionPATH. Check your Dashboard or your All Courses list to view the unmerged sections.

Add Another Section to a Merged Course

You can add a section to a previously merged course, even when the merged course is already live. Adding the new section will not overwrite any existing content within the merged course.

  1. On the Dashboard, click the Merge Course Manager button.
  2. Click the Edit Merged Course tab.
  3. Select the existing merged course from the drop-down menu.
  4. Check the check boxes for the section(s) you want to add to the existing merged course.
  5. Scroll to the bottom and select the Add Course(s) button.

After Merging Courses

Please review the following information about specific features and settings in your merged course:


Assignments and Discussions




If you intend to use student groups in your course, and you want to limit the membership in those groups to students enrolled in the original sections, you will need to do the following:

  1. Create a group set.
    Screen capture of Create Group Set screen.

    Create Group Set screen
  2. Check the box for Allow self sign-up.
  3. Check the box for Require group members to be in the same section.
    NOTE: You must have the People link in the course menu enabled so the students can self-enroll.