Advising in General

The Psychology Department is proud of its systematic and informed advising of students. A number of enhancements in the advising process in recent years have improved it further.
  • The Psychology Handbook represents the department's consensus on a number of vital advising issues ranging from career choices to annual course listings. The Handbook is provided gratis to all majors, incoming and transfer, so that you have an extensive database from which you can draw for academic planning.
  • The Department has developed advising sheets that both list academic requirements and hold relevant advising paperwork forwarded by the CAS Academic Advising Center. Students and faculty use these folders and the evaluation sheets to track academic progress. A sample copy of the psychology advising folder is reproduced in the following pages.
  • Students are assigned to a single advisor from their sophomore through senior year in the Psychology Department. This approach allows advisors and advisees to know each other better over the years. (All freshmen are advised by the CAS Academic Advising Center.)
  • The department offers a 1-credit Academic and Career Development in Psychology.  This seminar is designed for Psychology majors in their junior year, entails studying, discussing, and applying information on academic planning, career development, and graduate school.
  • The department has a Psychology Department Advising Resource Page, which provides students with a list of psychology faculty advisors, the master schedule for the current semester, the tentative master schedule for the next academic year, a listing of the psychology curriculum, a psychology curriculum worksheet, a pre-advising checklist, a credit/course progress grid, an ideal time timeline for aid in gaining admission to graduate school, and a listing of important updates.

How To Use Your Advisor

Sometimes students think that they need a reason for going to their advisor, such as for signatures or changing their major. This is a fallacy. When you have questions, go to your advisor. But he or she is also there to get to know you as a person. It's fine to go in to talk over a range of things--your major, a course, your career, or simply school in general.

When you go to see your advisor, go in with the attitude that he or she is there to be your advocate.

Sometimes your advisor may be busy, preoccupied, or unavailable. In these cases, check your advisor's office hours and make an appointment. Advisors often welcome the chance to take time out to chat informally with students. Since a diversity of interactions is useful, feel free to approach other professors as well, especially those who have expertise in the same field in which you are interested.

Responsibilities of Advisees

The psychology faculty take the responsibility of departmental advising seriously and expects students to do the same. In order for us to advise you effectively, you should, at a minimum, do the following (as listed in the Undergraduate Advising Handbook):

  • Maintain a personal academic file. This file should include an updated evaluation sheet, copies of any schedule changes, and copies of paperwork related to grades.
  • Read the Undergraduate Catalog and Psychology Handbook. You should become familiar with the psychology major (and minor, if applicable), the general education requirements, and all academic regulations. You should consult the catalog descriptions of any course you plan to take, and you should make sure that you have all necessary prerequisites for courses.
  • Keep us informed of changes in your program. If you declare a minor, concentration, or second major, please inform us. If you participate in the SJLA or the Honors program, consult both your departmental advisor and program director. If you plan to study abroad, consult with your psychology advisor early in the planning process and during your time abroad. If you request a course substitution or waiver, kindly inform us.
  • Allow adequate time for advising during registration. Consult your advisor's schedule of office hours and make an appointment to see him or her as early as possible during the registration period. Also examine your evaluation sheet carefully and bring any potential discrepancies to the attention of your advisor.
  • Note: If you do not make genuine effort to obtain advising at least one day before the deadline, then you will be denied your registration ticket. This will mean that you cannot register for classes at the assigned time. The moral of the story is to seek out your advisor early and often during the pre-registration period.

Advising Misconceptions and Problems

  • Students have 33 credits of GE free electives.  Up to 15 credits of psychology can be put in the GE free electives.  Undergraduate Research in Psychology (Psyc 493-494) credits should be placed in the GE free elective.  Also, only one Special Topics course can be used as a Psychology elective.  Any additional Special Topics courses have to be placed in the GE free electives.
  • Students should be aware that they can develop minors and concentrations by judiciously using GE free electives and other general education (GE) courses.
  • The GE requirements need not be taken in the sequence set out in the catalog. Students have a great deal of flexibility in this regard.
  • Students should take a diversity of psychology courses early in their undergraduate career and strive for breadth of exposure in psychology.  Remember, we strongly recommend that you take one course from each of the four core eight categories by the time you complete your fifth elective in psychology.  This would typically be the first semester of your junior year.
  • Core courses may also count as psychology electives, i.e., a student who takes one course in a pair to satisfy the "core requirement" may take the other course as a psychology elective.
  • Students need to be more aware of the scheduling of courses, particularly those offered only one time per year. This would facilitate their curriculum planning.
  • Students should also be more aware of the importance of Abnormal Psychology as a prerequisite for several courses of interest to students taking courses relevant to clinical/counseling/school psychology.
  • Students should be aware of the option of taking any combination of two elective psychology labs or advanced topics seminars in place of a three-credit psychology elective.
  • Students should review the criteria for taking Undergraduate Research in Psychology to avoid confusion. The criteria are listed in section IV of the Handbook.
  • Students should realize that they can tailor the psychology major towards their interests.  They should consult with their advisor for recommended courses, by major and GE free electives, to meet their individual interests for later employment and/or graduate school.
  • Students are unaware of the ideal timing for psychology Field Experience courses. Try to arrange it after all the prerequisites have been met and ideally in Spring of the junior year or Fall of the senior year.
  • Students need to better understand and exercise their role in the advising process. Advising is not just something the professor does. It is an active, collaborative process requiring preparation by the student.
  • Students need to schedule an advising conference far enough in advance of registration that substantive advising can take place. Waiting until the last minute will make it difficult to advise the student adequately.
  • Undergraduate Research in Psychology does not apply solely to students planning to attend graduate school. This is explained in Section IX of the Handbook.