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.
- To find majors related to your interests use the Undergraduate Bulletin.
- Explore majors to learn about the range of career opportunities.
- 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
Students are expected to 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
The What-If Report and Degree Audit is used for academic planning and course selection, because it matches the courses that the student has taken with the requirements of his/her degree program or anticipated program. These reports are available for anyone who has enrolled for credit as a Penn State undergraduate and has at least one graded semester record.
Review your degree audit with your assigned adviser each semester. For more information on how to read the degree audit: Understanding a Degree Audit
Step Four: Review a Suggested Academic Plan
The Suggested Academic Plan provides a recommended way for how students can schedule courses semester by semester as they pursue a particular degree. Use the Suggested Academic Plan along with the What-If Report or Degree Audit to develop a list of courses you will schedule for the upcoming semester.
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
Students 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 to schedule an appointment with your adviser.
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. You should also search for alternative classes using your What-If Report or Degree Audit and Suggested Academic Plan.
For additional information: https://www.registrar.psu.edu/registration/registration_index.cfm
Roles and Responsibilities of Advisers/Advisees
Both advisers and advisees share responsibility for making the advising relationship succeed. By encouraging 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, which includes the first ten calendar days of the semester including weekends. After the tenth day of the semester, it becomes the Late Add/Late Drop period.
Q. How do I add and/or drop a course?
A. See the following tutorials:
Q. What is Late Add/ Late Drop?
A. Late Add/Late Drop occurs starting on the eleventh day of the semester. If a course is dropped during the Late Drop period, it will show up on your transcript as a withdrawal no grade (WN). In addition, a fee is charged for Late Adding and Late Dropping. Contact your adviser prior to taking action.
There is a deadline to Late Add/Late Drop. After this deadline, your schedule cannot be adjusted unless you are dropping ALL courses from your schedule. Dropping ALL courses would be withdrawing from the University. Refer to the Academic Calendar for dates.
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. Select Grades from the left hand dropdown menu in your LionPATH Student Center.
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. Do my cumulative credits include courses in which I have earned an "F" grade?
A. Yes. Cumulative credits include the number of credits scheduled at Penn State for a letter grade, even if a final grade of an "F" is earned.
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. No. 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. The grades will average out.
Q. What is Academic Warning?
A. Students are placed on Academic Warning when they fail to earn a 2.00 cumulative grade-point average (except for first semester students). If you continue to perform poorly academically, you may be dropped from the University for unsatisfactory scholarship. If you receive an Academic Warning letter, contact your assigned adviser immediately. Read more about Academic Warning and Academic Progress.
Q. What do I have to do to take a semester off?
Q. How do I withdraw from the University?
Q. Can I withdraw from the University and come back?
A. Contact your assigned adviser first to discuss whether or not you can re-enroll after withdrawing from the University. If you are eligible, complete and print a Re-Enrollment Form and take to the Registrar’s Office in the Swatara Building. Read more about the Re-Enrollment process.
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.
- Academic Advising Portal
For answers to academic advising questions and to access academic information at Penn State.
- 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
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