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Academic Advisement FAQs

Academic Advising

Who is my academic advisor?
Every student at the University of Mount Saint Vincent has an assigned faculty and Oxley advisor. If you have declared your major, your advisor will be a faculty member teaching in your major field of concentration. If you are undecided, you will be assigned to a faculty member or professional advisor who can give you broad guidance and help you fulfill your college requirements until you choose a major. To find out who is your advisor, check the College’s Self-Service system.

Oxley advisors in the Oxley Center for Academic Advisement and Career Education are available to all students, regardless of their major. Students may choose to see an academic advisor for a variety of reasons, including degree requirements, academic progress, or additional information about programs.

When am I supposed to see an academic advisor?
Students must see their advisor prior to registration each semester. Your advisor will help you choose your classes for the following semester and can answer any questions you have about requirements and your progress. You may also make an appointment to see your advisor during the semester to discuss any other academic issues.

Why would I want to see an academic advisor?
Advisors are faculty members or professional staff who know a great deal about the University of Mount Saint Vincent. They are experts in their fields of study and can provide information about registration and major requirements. Advisors can guide you through procedural issues that you may encounter and can refer you to appropriate resources to learn about special academic opportunities, such as study abroad, internships, and independent study.

How do I make an appointment with my academic advisor?
You can make an appointment with your advisor by email, calling his or her office, or via the signup sheet on his or her door.

Major Selection and Career Exploration

What if I want to change my major?
It is very common for students to change their major in the first year of college. In order to change your major, please make an appointment with your academic advisor.

How might academic advisors for undeclared students help me choose my major?
Academic advisors can help you determine how your unique interests and academic aptitudes might “fit” within the program offerings at the College. They will talk with you about your high school academic and extracurricular experiences, your likes/dislikes, and courses and activities that can help you “test the waters” and explore major options.

How do I go about declaring or changing my major?
If you wish to declare or change your major, you need to fill out a Declaration/Change of Major and Minor Form, available in the Oxley Center for Academic Advisement and Career Education office and the Office of the Registrar. Forms are also available online on the Commonly Used Forms page. The form includes simple directions, but if you need assistance, you can visit the Oxley Center for Academic Advisement and Career Education.

How do I add a minor?
You may add or change a minor using the same form, but you will need to meet with the department chairperson to confirm the requirements of your minor area of study. Please note that while a major is mandatory, students have the option of whether or not to add a minor.

When do I need to choose a major?
Students must have a declared major by the spring semester of their sophomore year.

Where can I find the list of courses needed for my major?
All degree requirement information can be found in the Undergraduate Catalog. For additional information, we strongly suggest that you speak to the Chair of the academic discipline of your interest.

Where should I go for advice, support, and information regarding career exploration/planning?
The Oxley Center for Academic Advisement and Career Education in Founders Hall 408 assists students in all aspects of the career exploration process.

Grades and Academics

What do GPA and Cumulative GPA mean?
Your GPA is your Grade Point Average. It is the numeric indicator of how you have performed academically each semester. Each grade you receive in a course is awarded Quality Points (i.e. grade of A = 4.00 quality points), which are used to calculate an “average” of your grades in a given semester. The semester GPA only takes into account the grades for courses taken in that particular semester. The “Cum” or cumulative GPA (also called cumulative index) takes into account all your semesters at the College and calculates your performance to date. Please be aware that the grades of transfer credits or courses you’ve taken at other institutions are not computed in the GPA.

There are a number of good reasons to monitor your GPA and cumulative index. In order to maintain good academic standing at the University of Mount Saint Vincent, you must maintain a cumulative index of at least 2.0. It’s important to note that you need a minimum index of 2.0 to graduate.

How does the GPA affect my studies at the University of Mount Saint Vincent?
A student whose semester GPA is 3.50 or higher qualifies for the Dean’s List if s/he successfully completed at least four courses, earning at least 12 credits during the semester.

How do I calculate my grade point average?
Online resources are available to calculate your GPA.

Where can I find more information about the Honors Program?
The College’s Honors Program offers high-achieving and motivated students with a distinctive academic experience.  Students can learn more on the program’s website, or in the Undergraduate Catalog.

What does it mean to be on academic probation? What do I have to do to be removed from probationary status?
All matriculated students at the University of Mount Saint Vincent must maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 2.0 in order to remain in good academic standing. If you fall below a 2.0 cumulative GPA, you will be placed on academic probation. To be removed from probationary status, you need to raise your cumulative GPA to 2.0 or higher within the next academic year. Failure to do so puts one in danger of suspension or dismissal from the College.

If you have been placed on academic probation, it is important to speak to your advisor to help identify your academic problems and assist you in finding the support you need to have a successful academic career at the Mount.

When am I in danger of being suspended or dismissed from the College?
First semester freshman students who earn below a 1.0 GPA and other students who have been on probation for a semester and have a grade point average below a 2.0 are potentially dismissed for scholastic reasons. Students who are suspended and/or dismissed receive a letter from the Dean of the Undergraduate College, and have the right to appeal that dismissal to the Academic Review Committee within a brief period of time. Appeals are granted in some cases where there are serious extenuating circumstances.

If I am suspended, can I ever be readmitted to the College?
Yes, you may request readmission to the University of Mount Saint Vincent by writing to the Dean of the Undergraduate College. Your request will be reviewed and you will be notified of the decision.

What steps do I need to take to enroll in a summer course at another college closer to my home?
Students need to obtain prior permission and approval to take courses at another institution. They must seek the course descriptions closest to the duplicate course at the University of Mount Saint Vincent and obtain approval from the chairperson of the appropriate department. The form can be found on the Commonly Used Forms section of the Oxley Center for Academic Advisement and Career Education webpage. Students must receive a C or better in courses taken at other institutions.

Please note that students in the Nursing Program taking science courses must receive a B or better in order for the coursework to transfer to the University of Mount Saint Vincent.

What do I do if I need a tutor?
Tutoring is offered at the College’s Academic Resource Center (ARC). The ARC is located on the second floor of the Seton Library. The ARC has a staff of peer tutors, academic skills counselors, and writing instructors available to support your academic goals. Visit the ARC for more information.

I study, but never seem to do any better. What should I do?
The College’s Academic Resource Center (ARC) provides assistance if you find yourself in this situation. Many students are challenged by learning new study skills and strategies at the college level. Please contact the ARC for more information on the assessment of your academic activities and whether or not there may be new ways of learning that would lead you to more academic success.


What are the Core Requirements?
The Core Curriculum embodies, channels, and concretizes the philosophy of education contained in the University of Mount Saint Vincent’s Mission Statement. It extends over four years, providing a core of shared learning, and a common intellectual experiences for all students. All students take the same Core courses.

How do I know when registration takes place?
Registration dates may be found on the Undergraduate Academic Calendar page.

How do I choose classes for next semester?

Students should utilize the following resources:

  • Undergraduate and Graduate Catalogs
  • Course descriptions found in the catalog or on the online pages of the individual academic departments
  • Your Major and Core Curriculum planning sheet.
  • A current schedule of classes available at the Office of the Registrar and on the Course Schedule page
  • Academic Planning Worksheet which will help you plan your weekly schedule, available on Commonly Used Forms

A few basics to keep in mind: always choose classes that sound interesting to you and meet degree requirements. Degree requirements include courses in the Core Curriculum, Major and Minor (if you have one). Typically, each student has some credits of open electives, courses that do not meet particular requirements, but are needed to reach 120 credits to graduate. Your schedule should be a reflection of all the above and should be balanced (not taking all Major requirements or all the Core/Shared requirements or all electives in one semester).

Where do I look for descriptions of classes?
There are two places to see the course descriptions. The first is the College catalog online available on the Undergraduate Catalog page. Alternatively, you can view descriptions within the College’s Self-Service system.

What is a “hold” and how can I rectify it?
A “hold” on your record prevents you from accessing the registration system, receiving grades, obtaining your diploma. You will find out what kind of holds you have by logging on to the College’s Self-Service system. Some possible reasons for holds include: overdue tuition payments; residence hall fees; failure to provide immunization records to the Health Center.

Why do I have an Advisor Hold?
Advisor Holds are placed on all student records to ensure that students meet with their faculty advisors for course selection.

Where and with whom can I make an appointment to review my courses for next semester?
You may make an appointment with your academic advisor. They can assist you with appropriate course selection.

What do I do if a course is full? Is there still a way to get into it?
You need to obtain an override form which can be found on the Registrar’s Commonly Used Forms page or you can see your faculty advisor. The form needs to be completed by the student and signed by the academic advisor and the department chair of the academic discipline to which the course is offered. After acquiring all signatures, the student must bring the form to the Office of the Registrar for processing.

Every class I am interested in appears to be full. What do I do?
You should consult with your faculty advisors as soon as possible. Your advisor has an extensive knowledge of the major and/or Core that might appeal to you, of which you might not be aware. Students focus on the same courses because they are the only ones they have “heard about,” or courses offered only at the most highly desirable times. Academic advisors can point out other great classes that might not be widely known.