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Academic Advising

Upon entering UMD, every student is assigned a faculty adviser for academic assistance before registration, or for help with “the system.” An adviser is usually a member of the department in which a student majors.

Undergraduate Majors offered at UMD

Graduate Majors offered at UMD

The purpose of academic advisement is to help students select and schedule classes each semester and to provide an opportunity to discuss academic goals and career choices. Before appointments for course scheduling, students should review the class schedule and make a list of possible courses that they would like or are necessary for their course of study. The UMD Catalog explains how these courses fit into the requirements for Liberal Education for specific majors. Brief course descriptions are listed in the catalog.

Students who change their majors will be assigned a new adviser. If help with advisement is needed before being assigned a faculty adviser, the student affairs office of the collegiate unit in which you are currently enrolled can be of service.

Changing or deciding on a major

What if I don’t know my major or want to change it? Each year, 35-40 percent of entering students choose not to identify a specific major of study. Several sources suggest that not declaring a major is an optimal way of approaching your studies. Keeping an open mind to potential areas of interest while actively exploring possible majors can be very beneficial for some students.

Students entering with an undeclared major are encouraged to use the Liberal Education Program to explore areas of interest. Several resources exist to help students through the process of identifying a major including Career Services, special advisement, and a variety of workshops and tests. If you have identified a major but wish to explore other areas of interest, take a variety of courses from the Liberal Education Program.

You may change your major or collegiate unit at any point during your experience at UMD by submitting a completed Application for Undergraduate Change of College to the collegiate unit that offers the new major.

There are published deadlines each term. Be aware that frequent changes can delay your date of graduation. Some majors do have very structured programs that require an early decision to complete degree requirements in four years. We strongly encourage you to openly discuss your interests and concerns with your adviser throughout your college career. To explore career possibilities, visit UMD Career Services web site.

Liberal Education Requirements

All undergraduate students planning to obtain a degree at UMD must satisfy the liberal education requirements as stated in the UMD Catalog. The program of liberal education was established to help students gain background in several broad categories of knowledge. Several departments require and/or recommend specific liberal education classes for their majors. Your adviser can help you to determine which courses in each of the categories will be of most value to you.

Why are liberal education courses required?

UMD is committed to giving students a broad education by exposing them to fundamental areas of knowledge and challenging them to explore areas beyond their specific area of specialization. Selected courses are designed to develop critical thinking, examine basic values, encourage an expansion of interests and awareness, and prepare you for a dynamic work force.

Registering for Classes

The UMD Class Schedule is published online every semester and lists the courses with their credits, instructors, meeting times, and meeting rooms for that semester. View the class schedule and then click on Class Schedule- Online Version. UMD also provides a detailed academic calendar, which includes the deadlines for canceling/adding courses and a tuition refund schedule. Registration for courses and credits is for one semester at a time and most courses last only one semester. Each course is assigned between 1 and 5 credits, with most earning either 3 or 4 credits.

To complete a bachelor's degree in four years, students usually need to complete an average of 15 credits per semester. This does not mean that you will take exactly 15 credits every semester. The full-time credit load each semester ranges from 12-18 credits, which is typically 3-6 courses. It is recommended that international students do not register for more than 15 credits their first semester.

However, it is required by the U.S. government that international students on F-1 Visa carry a full course load (12 credits for undergraduates and 6 credits for graduates) during the academic year. See Anna Gilmore, International Student Advisor, before dropping below the minimum course hours. Dropping below the required course load without prior authorization will cause you to fall out of legal status. You must complete a Reduced Course Load form prior to dropping your classes. Please note, international students can only take a maximum of 3 credits in online courses to count towards their full course load.

Transfer Credits

For more information on how to transfer international credits to UMD, please see the International Transfer Credit page.

Credit by Examination

International students come from many different educational systems and it is not possible, in many cases, to award University credit based only on the transcript. Students who feel that they have completed an equivalent course and would like to receive credit may possibly arrange to take an exam for the course (Credit by Examination).

Departments offer examinations for credit at least once a term. Each department sets the date, time, and nature of the examinations. To take a special examination for credit, the student must obtain a Request for Credit by Examination Form at the Student Assistance Center, 23 Solon Campus Center, and complete the procedures outlined on the form. A $50 fee is required in advance. A service charge may be assessed when a nationally standardized examination is given. Students must be registered for the term in which they sit for the exam but not be currently enrolled in the course.

Cultural Differences in the Classroom

In many cultures, there is a great difference in status between students and teachers. Students listen quietly, not questioning what the teacher says. In the United States, it is acceptable for students to ask questions and discuss topics with the instructor.

  • Dress is informal in U.S. classrooms.
  • Smoking is not permitted in classrooms or anywhere on campus.
  • Participation - You are expected to talk in class, and participation may even be included in determining your grade. If a professor calls on you to answer a question, you should say something – you could even say that you do not know the answer.
  • Missing class - You are expected to go to class on time, to notify your teacher ahead of time if you will be absent, and to participate. It is better to be late to class than to skip class. If you must miss class because of illness, notify your professor.

Academic Support

You are encouraged to utilize a variety of academic support services offered at UMD. The following departments offer services that help students succeed in college and plan careers.

Tutoring Center: offers free tutoring on a walk-in basis in Accounting, Chemistry, Computer Science, Economics, Mathematics, Physics, Spanish, and Writing. Some Biology courses are supported by hour-long supplemental instruction sessions. Schedules are available in the Tutoring Center each semester. Tutors are high achieving undergraduate students who have been identified by an academic department as qualified to tutor selected courses in that department.

Supportive Services Program (SSP) offers courses, advising, workshops, and seminars in college educational skills and leadership training. The courses are listed every semester in the class schedule and include College Writing Strategies, Basic Math & Algebra, College Study Strategies, Personal Development, Introduction to College Learning, T.A. Training, and Tutor Training.

Note Taking Service
UMD offers a class lecture note taking service for student who need it. Since English is not the first language of many international students, students may request to receive lecture and class notes taken by another student in that same class. Contact Anna Gilmore, 218-726-7305 to obtain the necessary forms.

Testing Service
This service is available by request to students in their first semester, or for their first year if they are enrolled in one of the Academic English Language Courses. This service allows students extra time for examination and/or use of tools such as a dictionary, calculator, open book or notes/formulas. The course professor makes the final decision whether or not to authorize these services. Requests must be made one week in advance of the test. Contact Anna Gilmore, 218-726-7305 to obtain the necessary forms.

Help with English Language

UMD offers classes specifically to help international students with their English Language skills through its Academic English Language Program.

Disability Services & Resources assists students with disabilities in achieving academic and physical access to educational, social, and recreational opportunities at UMD. Specific accommodations and services depend on the student's documented needs and are provided upon request. Commonly provided services include assistance with adaptive technology, assistance with note-taking, sig n language interpreters, test accommodations, priority registration, problem resolution, and advocacy. Disability Services also serves as a liaison to other university departments and provides screening and/or assessment for UMD students encountering learning difficulties.

Career Services

Career Services offers professional, confidential help with identifying and achieving career and educational goals. Counselors help students choose courses, majors, and careers; deal with academic difficulties; identify internship and employment possibilities; research graduate and professional schools; and learn job-seeking skills. Career Services' web pages include extensive information on job search tips and links to Internet resources.

First Day of Class

Attendance: You must attend the first class of every course for which you are registered. If you do not, you may lose your place in the class. As a result, you must cancel the class through the cancel/add process. Prior permission of the instructor to miss the first day of class may be granted in special cases.

Preparation: Go to class with a notebook and pen. Arrive at class early and select a seat that is optimal for your learning. Take notes as soon as the instructor begins to speak and concentrate on the subject. After class, review your notes and seek necessary clarification. These are simple suggestions, but they make a difference.

Syllabus: The instructor will hand out a syllabus on the first day of class. The syllabus states the requirements for satisfactory completion of the class and the expectations the instructor has of the students. The syllabus provides information regarding reading assignments, written work and its due date, test dates, grading policy, attendance policy, instructor's name, office location, and office telephone number, and instructor's "office hours". Read the syllabus and record important dates in a daily planner. The instructor will assume you know about upcoming tests and assignments because they are listed on the syllabus. If you have a question about requirements or due dates, check the syllabus, or see your instructor during office hours and ask for help.
If you have conflicts with test dates or other course requirements, immediately discuss the possibility of special arrangements with the instructor. Do not wait until the time of conflict. If you have numerous conflicts, you will probably need to withdraw from the course.

Professor’s Office Hours

Office Hours are usually listed on a syllabus for a professor as well as for the teaching assistants. (Teaching Assistants are students who help the professor to teach and manage the course.) Office hours are for you! The professor is available specifically to answer your questions, provide extra help, or talk in more depth about the material being taught in class and addressed in reading material. If you have questions or are interested in more in-depth discussion of the material, do not hesitate to sign up for a time slot during your professor's office hours. If you are not able to attend a regularly scheduled office hour, please email your professor to make arrangements to meet at another time. Professors want to talk with you!

Scholastic Progress

A review will be made of each student's work at UMD. Students should inquire about the regulations that prevail in their particular collegiate unit. Any student whose work drops below the acceptable academic level will be placed on probation. Students will regain good academic standing when their overall record meets the criteria stated by the school or college. It is the responsibility of students to keep informed concerning their current academic standing. They should understand that probation might lead to academic dismissal.

Academic Integrity Policy

UMD makes every effort to maintain an academic atmosphere of trust, honesty and fairness. What constitutes academic honesty varies from culture to culture, and it is important to understand the rules of academic conduct at UMD. As a result, academic misconduct is defined as (but not limited to) violating course rules as outlined in your course syllabus, cheating on assignments or examinations, or submitting sentences or ideas as your own without proper citation. Violations of this policy lead to academic sanctions, and repeated violations can lead to expulsion from UMD. The entire policy can be viewed at: Academic Integrity Policy.

Canceling and Adding after Classes Begin

Canceling Courses: To withdraw from a course, process the course cancellation via web registration. If you cancel a course before the end of the second week of the semester, the course will be deleted from your academic record. If you cancel between the third and eighth week of the semester, the course will remain on your record and marked with the letter "W" for withdrawal. Any refund will be prorated; it is important to note that refund deadlines differ from course cancellation guidelines. Refund guidelines can be found online. Cancellation of courses is not permitted after the eighth week of the semester.

Canceling Courses and Legal Status

If you cancel courses so that your total credit load falls below 12 credits for undergraduate students or 6 credits for graduate students, your student visa and legal status will be affected. Seek advice from International Student Services before canceling any courses. You can read the eleigibility requirements and then fill out the Reduced Course Load form.

Adding Classes

During the first two days of the semester, you may add classes with open seats through normal registration procedures. After the second day, you must obtain instructor, department and/or college office approval to add a course. The web registration system will request that you enter a permission number that signifies you have received permission to register for the course.

Adding closed classes: If you wish to enroll in a closed class, you should seek permission from the department or college office offering the course. You will be given a permission number, put on a waiting list, or referred to the instructor. A permission number is required to add a closed course. Classes may be added during the first two weeks of the semester. After the second week, classes cannot be added except by petition through your college. Most instructors will prefer you to add as early in the first week as possible.

Records, Grades and Transcripts

Most courses are graded A-F, including pluses (+) and minuses (-). Some courses are graded S (satisfactory) and N (no credit) only, and some allow you to choose A-F or S-N grading options. The grading system for each course is shown in the class schedule listing; if nothing is indicated, students may choose the grading option. Changes in grading options, when allowed by the course, must be made within the first two weeks of classes via the web registration system. The UMD Catalog lists S-N grading restrictions.

Grades are usually available within 3 business days after the end of the semester. There are two ways to obtain your grades:
1) Online: You can view or print your grades or unofficial transcript via the Web. Go to Grades/Transcript, and click on “View Your Grades or Transcript”.

2) In Person: Request an unofficial copy of your transcript by presenting a picture ID at UMD OneStop (23 Solon Campus Center). There is no charge for unofficial transcripts, but there is a limit of one per day. Unofficial transcripts are not available during the first three days of the semester.

Official copies of your transcript are generated on University paper and have the signature of the Registrar on them. These can be ordered online using a credit card ("Order Official Transcript Online") or are issued upon written request (Complete the Request for Transcript form) or obtain a copy of the form at the UMD OneStop (23 Solon Campus Center).

Release of transcripts is dependent on your record being free of holds. (Having a “hold” on your transcript, means you must complete a specific task, pay a fine, or other university requirement before your transcript will be given out).

Transcripts and grades are confidential information and are not available to your parents or other third parties without written permission from you. The Student Information Release Authorization form (also available at the UMD OneStop) allows you to grant access to various categories of information to your parents or other third parties.

Student Records

The University of Minnesota's online student self-service information system allows you to view your records and access many services online. The information you are able to access at UMD OneStop includes: course availability, course registration information, grades, Academic Progress Audit System (APAS), enrollment summary, student account balance, tuition bill payment, student health insurance information, registration date and time, personal information updates (change of address, directory suppression, etc.). Please note: The Financial Aid section does not apply to international students. U.S. federal and state financial aid is not available to F-1, F-2, J-1, and J-2 students.


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Last modified on 07/05/16 10:10 AM
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