Trying to figure out what major to pursue can be a difficult task. Below are several resources available to explore and navigate the many academic programs at Penn State.
- Use the Exploratory Process Tool
- Learn how to use the Bulletin and explore majors related to your interests, strengths and career goals.
- Explore career opportunities connected to majors
- Inform yourself about common misconceptions and myths of selecting majors. Here are a few of them to get started
Entering a Major
All Penn State majors have entrance to major requirements. Most students enter a major during the spring of the sophomore year by completing the Entrance-to-Major (ETM) requirements. You can view your Entrance to Major Requirements in the How to Get In tab of your major in the Undergraduate Bulletin. Learn how to use the Bulletin. If you are not sure of the process you need to follow, please contact your assigned adviser.
Scheduling Courses and Registration
You should work with an assigned adviser each semester to discuss academic plans. There are several steps that can be used to in academic planning and for preparing to meet an academic adviser:
Step One: Decide What to Study
Step Two: Complete Pre-Registration Activity Guide and ensure any holds are cleared
The Pre-Registration Activity Guide must be completed prior to being able to enroll in classes. Check your LionPATH Student Center To Do box on the right, to see if this task is listed.
Also check the Holds box in your LionPATH Student Center. Click Details to see more information about any holds listed. Some holds may prevent you from registering for classes, so you should clear them as soon as possible.
Step Three: Generate a What-If Report or Degree Audit
Think of a What-If Report and Degree Audit as a checklist that automatically checks classes and requirements off as you complete them. Check your What-If Report or Degree Audit before scheduling classes to see what general education and major classes you still need to complete.
Step Four: Review a Suggested Academic Plan
The Suggested Academic Plan on your major’s page in the Bulletin outlines one possible path for completing your major’s requirements. In most cases there may be many possible ways to move through the curriculum, but some majors are very structured.
Step Five: Use Schedule Builder
Schedule Builder is an easy way to explore your options and build a schedule tailored to your needs. You can start adding courses to your Shopping Cart on the date listed under Shopping Cart Appointment in the Enrollment Dates box your LionPATH Student Center.
- Accessing Schedule Builder
- Overview of Schedule Builder
- Using Locks in Schedule Builder
- Attribute Search and Advanced Options in Schedule Builder
You can also search for courses manually using the Search for Classes button in LionPATH.
Step Six: Meet with an Academic Adviser
You are encouraged to meet with an assigned adviser each semester not only to review selected courses for the next semester but to also discuss how current courses are going and additional questions you want addressed (minor, education abroad, etc.).
Log on to Starfish or email your adviser to schedule an appointment.
Your registration date is listed in your Student Center in LionPATH under Enrollment Dates.
Please prepare the following prior to your meeting: Your current What If Report or Degree Audit, your Suggested Academic Plan, your selection of courses in Schedule Builder or Shopping Cart and any other items you want to discuss.
Step Seven: Registration
On your Enrollment Appointment date, you should begin registering for classes. If a class is full and a waitlist is available, sign up. If not, keep checking the course catalog for openings.
For additional information: https://www.registrar.psu.edu/registration/registration-timetable.cfm
Roles and Responsibilities of Advisers/Advisees
Both advisers and advisees share responsibility for making the advising relationship succeed. Advisers encourage their advisees to become engaged in their education, to meet their educational goals, and to develop the habit of learning, advisers assume a significant educational role.
Advisees in turn will routinely contact their advisers each semester and will assume final responsibility for course scheduling, program planning, and the successful completion of graduation requirements.
Additional information is available in the University Policy on Academic Advising.
Common student questions on policies/procedures
Q. When can I add and/or drop a course?
A. Courses can be added and/or dropped during the Regular Drop/Add Period without affect your record. The Late Drop/Add Period begins after the Regular Drop/Add Period ends. See Regular and Late Drop/Add deadlines here
Q. How do I add and/or drop a course?
A. See the following tutorials:
Q. What is Late Add/ Late Drop?
After the Regular Drop/Add deadlines have passed, adding and dropping classes change. To add a class during the Late Add Period, you must get an instructor’s permission and work with the Registrar’s Office to enroll in the class.
You can drop a class during the Late Drop Period as you would normally. However, this class will remain on your record with a grade of LD, which will not affect your GPA. You should check with your adviser and Financial Aid to see how this would affect future semesters.
Q. How do I transfer a course/credit from another school/exam/program to Penn State?
A. Refer to Earning Academic Credit at Penn State.
Q. How do I change my Penn State campus?
A. Review the Change of Campus process, then contact your assigned academic adviser to discuss a change of campus.
Q. How do I change my major?
A. Review the Change of Major process, then contact your assigned academic adviser to discuss changing your major.
Q. How and when do I declare a minor?
A. Although you may begin working on a minor, minors are declared after entering into a major. Read more about minors in the Bulletin.
Q. How can I get my final semester grades?
A. Look at the Grades box on the main page of LionPATH. Click MORE to view your GPA.
Q. What do I do if I am failing some or all my classes?
A. Communicate with your instructor/s, utilize the Learning Center in SEC 201, and, if you have not improved, contact your adviser to discuss your options.
Q. If I repeat a course that I earned "D" or "F" in and got a better grade, will the "D" or "F" grade be replaced by the better grade?
A. All grades, including D and F, remain on your transcript. If the course is repeated, the higher grade will also appear on the transcript with a notation stating that the course was repeated. Your GPA will be the average of all grades. If you repeat the course, you may qualify for Grade Forgiveness
Q. What is Academic Warning?
A. Students are placed on Academic Warning if they earn less than a 2.0 cumulative GPA. If you continue to earn below a 2.0, you may be at risk for Academic Suspension. If you are on Academic Warning, contact your assigned adviser immediately to discuss an improvement plan. Read more about Academic Warning.
Q. What do I have to do to take a semester off?
A. Contact your assigned adviser. Complete and submit the Leave of Absence Form.
Q. How do I withdraw from the University?
Q. Can I withdraw from the University and come back?
Q. If I graduate with a 4-year degree from Penn State Harrisburg, will my diploma say Penn State University?
A. Graduates of baccalaureate degree programs at Penn State Harrisburg receive a Pennsylvania State University diploma.
- What’s Next HBG
Advising help, tutorials & information
- Campuses of the University
Information on all the Campuses of the University
- Transfer Credit Tool
Are you transferring credits into Penn State? If so, use the information at this site to assist you in planning.
- University Bulletin Undergraduate Degree Programs
Majors have many requirements, use this site to learn this information.
- Online Learning Readiness
Are you thinking about taking an on-line course?
- Post-Graduate Studies