Advising Frequently Asked Questions

Advising
Who is my advisor?
Will I have more than one advisor?
How often should I see my advisor?
What is a Degree Summary Sheet?
Majors and Minors
How do I choose a major?
What is a Committee Interdisciplinary major (CIM)?
When should I declare my major?
How do I declare a major?
What is an "intended" major?
Is a minor required?
How do I declare a certificate program?
Grades
How is my UWM grade point average calculated?
How do I make the Dean's Honor list?
What is the best way to raise my grade point average?
Why am I on academic probation?
How do I get reinstated after being academically dropped?
What does an F0 - F16 grade mean?
How do I formally appeal a grade?
Other
What is my class standing?
How are the General Education Requirements (GER) different from the Letters and Science requirements?
Can I take classes at another university while also taking classes at UWM?
How do I get "retro" credits in foreign languages?
How and when do I apply for graduation?

Advising

Q: Who is my Advisor?
A: A student's assigned advisor is listed in their PAWS account.
Find my Advisor

Q: Will I have more than one advisor?
A: Letters and Science students will be assigned a professional advisor which will be listed on their PAWS account. Once a student declares a major, he/she will also have a faculty advisor in their major department who will provide guidance on the major requirements. Students may also have an advisor if they are pursuing a certificate, minor, or a pre-professional track.

Q: How often should I see my advisor?
A: Students should see their advisor at least once per semester to review their degree requirements and class selections for the upcoming semester.

Q: What is a Degree Summary Sheet and why would I want one?
A: A Degree Summary Sheet is used by academic advisors to monitor your academic progress towards the fulfillment of degree requirements. This document compares the courses that you have taken with the requirements that you need to complete. The Degree Summary Sheet will indicate how many credits you have completed, how many credits you have in progress, and how many credits remain to be completed for each requirement. The Degree Summary Sheet may be updated at each advising session.

Majors and Minors

Q: How do I choose a major?
A: Selecting a major is a process that evolves over time. Students are encouraged to explore their options by taking a variety of classes freshman year, taking a career development course, meeting with a career counselor at the Career Development Center, and talking with friends, family and faculty to understand the reality of different jobs. In order to graduate in a timely manner, students are encouraged to find their major by the middle to end of sophomore year.

Q: What is a Committee Interdisciplinary major (CIM)?
A: CIM is a self-designed major. Students who are typically attracted to the CIM often have very specific academic or career interests that can not be adequately addressed through one of the more standard departmental majors. Students are required to secure a faculty committee to guide them in the development of a major proposal. The CIM structure requires that students take courses from at least two departments within the College of Letters and Science.

Q: When should I declare my major?
A: In order to graduate in a timely manner, students are encouraged to find and declare their major by the middle to end of sophomore year. Students may not formally declare their major until they have completed a minimum of 15 credits. Some majors have a specific sequence of courses that must be completed prior to formally declaring the major.

Q: How do I declare a major?
A: Students must declare their major with a faculty member in the department or program in which they intend to major. Forms are available in the department or program offices. Please see the majors webpage to find the location of your department or program.

Q: What is an "intended" major?
A: Students who are not yet eligible to declare a major formally may declare an intended major. The declaration of an intended major is encouraged as soon as a student finds s/he is interested in a particular area so that the department can contact the student with information about programs, awards, job opportunities or other information of relevance to students majoring in that field. Students may declare an intended major by completing the form on this page or picking one up in Merrill Hall, Room 142.

Q: Is a minor required?
A: No, a minor is not required.

Q: How do I declare a certificate program?
A: Students should contact the coordinator of the certificate program they are interested in to sign up for the program.

Grades

Q: How is my UWM grade point average calculated?
A: Only coursework taken at UWM is included in your UWM grade point average. Your UWM GPA takes into account the grade you received and the number of credits of the course. See the UWM Grading Scale page for a complete explanation of the point system used to calculate the GPA.

Q: How do I make the Dean's Honor list?
A: Letters and Science students who earn a semester grade point average of 3.75 or higher on at least 12 graded credits will be placed on the Dean's Honor list. Letters are sent approximately six weeks after the end of the semester.

Q: What is the best way to raise my grade point average?
A: As a general rule, the most efficient way to raise a grade point average is to repeat coursework in which you have done poorly. At the undergraduate level, only the highest grade earned will be counted into your official UWM grade point average. It is important to note that you may not repeat a course taken at UWM at another institution to raise your UWM grade point average. Grades earned at UWM take precedence over grades earned at other institutions. In addition, most, if not all, graduate and/or professional schools will calculate your grade point average based upon all attempts at each course. We suggest that you consult the UWM Course Repeat Policy for further information.

Q: Why am I on academic probation?
A: If your cumulative grade point average falls below 2.0, you will be placed on academic probation. This is a warning signal to you that you may be in jeopardy of being academically dismissed from UWM. You should see your advisor immediately if you are placed on academic probation. Students will remain on academic probation until their cumulative grade point average increases to 2.0 or above. Continuing students who are placed on academic probation and earn a semester grade point average below 2.0, will be academically dropped for one semester. Students who are permitted to enroll after any drop action are placed on Final Academic Probation. Students will remain on final academic probation until their cumulative grade point average increases to 2.0 or above. In addition, a student on final academic probation must maintain a 2.0 or higher semester grade point average. If the semester grade point average falls below 2.0, the student will be dropped from UWM for a period of two years.

Q: How do I get reinstated after being academically dropped?
A: Students who are academically dropped from UWM should make an appointment to discuss their situation with their academic advisor and may file an appeal to request reinstatement. Appeals will only be considered if significant and extenuating non-academic reasons can be presented. Students may be asked to provide verifiable documentation of medically related or other circumstances.

Q: What does an F0 - F16 grade mean?
A: When reporting a grade of 'F,' instructors will also report a number corresponding to the student's "week of last participation" in the course. This is the last week of the term for which there is documented evidence of the student's participation in the course. A student receiving the grade of 'F0' would, therefore, be one who never attended or participated, whereas a student grade of 'F16' would signify completion of the entire term. The numeral for "week of last participation" will be reflected on unofficial transcripts, but official transcripts will only show "F."

Q: How do I formally appeal a grade?
A: Please read and follow the steps for the College of Letters & Science Grievance/Grade Appeal Procedure (PDF).

Other

Q: What is my class standing?
A: The number of credits completed determines your class standing: Freshmen (0-23 credits) Sophomore (24-55 credits) Junior (56-87 credits) Senior (88+ credits)

Q: How are the General Education Requirements (GER) different from the Letters and Science requirements?
A: The Letters and Science requirements extend well beyond the minimum University requirements outlined in the General Education Requirements. Therefore, a student may have General Education requirements complete, but may still have several Letters and Science Requirements left to fulfill. Degree requirements vary depending upon when you began college for the first time.

Q: Can I take classes at another university while also taking classes at UWM?
A: Students must have written permission prior to taking courses at the other institution. See the Permission for Concurrent Enrollment Policy.

Q: How do I get "retro" credits in foreign languages?
A: A student can receive retroactive credits by completing the UWM course that he/she places into with a grade of B or better. Retroactive credits award students with credits for previous courses in the language sequence. For example, if a student completed the third semester French course with a B or better, s/he may be able to obtain the credits for the first and second semester French classes. A maximum of 14 credits is available retroactively and are only given in conjunction with the first language course taken at UWM. Students should contact the appropriate foreign language department before the beginning of the semester to verify that the course that they are taking generates retroactive credits.

Q: How and when do I apply for graduation?
A: Apply for graduation when you register for your final semester through your PAWS account. Under the "For Students" section, look for "Academic Summary" and the "Apply for Graduation" button. There is also a Graduation Checklist related to graduation that students should ensure they follow.