If you have questions or concerns that are not addressed in this Advising Guide and you would like to discuss them prior to attending Registration, please feel free to contact your advisor via email. Find your advisor in your PAWS Account.
If you are planning to attend UWM full-time, you will need to enroll in a minimum of 12 credits.
As you consider how many credits you want to take, think about how many hours you may need to devote to work and family responsibilities. Keep in mind that you should plan to study at least two hours per week for every credit you take.
Many students enter UWM undecided about a major while some have already narrowed it down to a few options. Regardless of major, there are some courses that every student will need to take in order to earn a UWM degree. We recommend that first year students focus on their General Education Requirements and their Letters and Science Degree Requirements while exploring areas of interest.
The General Education Requirements (GERs) must be completed by all students at UWM regardless of their School or College. The GERs consist of competencies in oral and written communication, quantitative literacy, foreign language, and distribution requirements in the following areas: Arts, Humanities, Natural Sciences, Social Sciences and Cultural Diversity.
The L&S Degree Requirements must be completed by all students who select a major in the College of Letters and Science. You will see that there can be some overlap between the GERs and the L&S Degree Requirements. For example, all L&S courses approved for GER distribution areas in Humanities, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences will also count toward the Breadth Requirements in Humanities, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences.
Don't worry if you find the GERs or L&S Degree Requirements confusing at first. We will be going over these requirements in detail during orientation. Just try to get familiar with them now so you will have a better understanding of course options.
Now look through the course options you have available to meet your general degree requirements.
As you will note on your Advising Worksheet, your advisor will fill in the appropriate courses for oral and written competency and quantitative literacy requirements when you come to registration. At this point, concentrate on choosing courses to meet your GER Distribution/L&S Breadth Requirements:
Provide students with the opportunity to work closely with an instructor and get to know other freshmen in their first semester at UWM
Please visit First-Year Seminars for a complete listing of the seminars available for fall as well as detailed course descriptions and instructor biographies. Since these classes are small, they do fill quickly and not all seminars may still be available when you attend orientation. Please list two or three options on your Advising Worksheet (PDF) in case your first choice is full.
View the list of Distribution/Breadth Courses (PDF) offered this fall that are open to all freshmen (no prerequisites).
As you explore these lists, you can consult the Undergraduate Catalog for brief descriptions of these courses and the Timetable/Schedule of Classes for more information on the times these classes are offered, building locations, etc. After exploring the Distribution courses, please list at least five classes that interest you on your Advising Worksheet (PDF).
Beyond courses you can take that fulfill general Degree Requirements, think about what other areas you might wish to explore or other issues that are of concern to you.
When you log onto PAWS to complete your registration, you will be able to do a search of the courses you have selected to see the days and times they are available. You can then select any of the options you find. Some courses will fit into your schedule better than others. Most classes meet Monday/Wednesday/Friday (MWF) or Tuesday/Thursday (TR).
Start thinking through these things now and it will make it easier for you to make decisions about your schedule at orientation.
Try to become a little bit familiar with the PAWS registration process, and make sure you know your e-Panther ID and password when you come to orientation. The following links provide information on these issues:
When you leave orientation, your course schedule will be in place. However, since PAWS is a web-based program, you can make changes to your class schedule from off-campus during the summer if necessary.
We also encourage you to use the online resources of the Career Development Center to continue exploring majors and careers. The more time you spend evaluating your strengths, values and interests, the sooner you will be able to define your academic and career goals. We also suggest you visit this How College is Different from High School web site to learn more about college-level expectations.