Academic Advising FAQs

Below are answers to frequently asked questions at the Academic Advising Center:


Your Advisor

Do I need to meet with an advisor to register for classes?

Yes, you do need to meet with an advisor. Your advisor is not only there to offer suggestions about your educational path, but to ensure that you keep on track for your major, your general education courses, and your expected graduation date. Meeting with your advisor is the only way for you to obtain your alternate PIN, which is necessary for web registration. If you are advised by one of the advisors in the Academic Advising Center, call 617-824-7876 to make an appointment. If you are advised by a faculty advisor, contact her or him directly to set up an appointment. If you aren’t sure who your advisor is or how to contact him/her, you can access this information online through eCommon.

What is Advising Week?

Advising Week relates to students who are assigned to faculty advisors, not students assigned to an advisor in the Academic Advising Center. During Advising Week, students with faculty advisors meet with their advisors to discuss registration for the following semester. DO NOT WAIT UNTIL ADVISING WEEK TO SCHEDULE THIS APPOINTMENT! Faculty members have many students to accommodate, so it is important that you call or visit your faculty advisor’s office at least a week or two before Advising Week in order to arrange a meeting. Students who have advisors in the Academic Advising Center will meet with their advisors to plan for registration, but these meetings generally take place prior to Advising Week. If you aren't sure who your advisor is or how to contact him/her, you can access this information online through eCommon.

How can I contact my advisor?

Students advised by a member of the Academic Advising Center staff can call 617-824-7876 to schedule an appointment. Students advised by a faculty member should contact their advisor directly to schedule a meeting. Students unsure of who their academic advisor is or how to contact him/her may access this information through eCommon.

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Grades

What’s an Incomplete?

Under certain circumstances, professors will allow students extra time to complete their coursework. A grade of Incomplete "I" will appear on the transcript and students have until the end of the following semester to complete all assignments for the course. Any Incomplete grades not finished by this deadline will change into an F.

How do I find out my grades?

The Registrar mails grades to students at their permanent address at the end of the semester. Grades are also posted on the web and viewable through eCommon.

Can a professor really fail me if I miss more than a certain number of classes?

Yes, professors can enforce strict attendance policies. It is the student’s responsibility to find out what each professor expects in terms of attendance. If you must miss class, always try to email or call a professor ahead of time to let him or her know about your absence. Extenuating circumstances, such as an extended illness or personal crisis, should be discussed with the professor or the Dean of Students.

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Academic Assistance

I’m not doing well in a class. What can I do?

You have several options. The best first step is to schedule a meeting with your professor or drop by during his/her office hours to discuss your progress in the class. You may also benefit from a visit to the Lacerte Family Writing and Academic Resource Center (WARC), located on the 5th floor of 216 Tremont (617-824-7874). WARC offers writing assistance, tutoring, and workshops on study skills and time management.

If your academic performance is suffering because of personal problems, Counseling and Psychological Services on the 2nd floor of 216 Tremont (617-824-8595) is available to assist you. Call the Academic Advising Center at 617-824-7876 and make an appointment to learn more about these options and discuss alternative plans, such as withdrawing from a course or asking for an Incomplete.

What do I need to do to avoid academic probation?

First-year students need to maintain a 1.7 GPA and all other students must maintain a 2.0 in order to avoid academic probation. All students must also successfully complete at least 75% of attempted coursework. A grade of WP, WF, I, or F does not constitute successful completion of a course. For instance, a student who receives 2 A’s and 2 WP’s, resulting in a 4.0 GPA but only 50% successful completion of attempted coursework, would be put on academic probation.

If a student is put on probation as a result of GPA or the "75% rule," he/she has the following semester to improve his/her standing. Two semesters in a row of academic probation will result in academic suspension. If suspended, students must leave the College for no less than one year. After one year, they may petition the Office of Academic Affairs to be reinstated.

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Registration

I’d like to take a course over the summer at Emerson. When will I find out what’s offered?

Each summer Emerson holds two summer sessions through the Department of Professional Studies and Special Programs. Schedules are posted in early-to-mid March. While there is no guarantee of what will be offered over the summer, typically a variety of General Education courses and certain core courses in most majors are available. Taking summer courses can be helpful for students who want to make up credits, complete a double major, or graduate early. An added bonus is that summer courses are less expensive than tuition during the regular academic year. Because the summer sessions are shorter and more intensive than the fall and spring semesters, students typically take no more than two classes per session. Over the course of two sessions, however, a student can earn a full 16 credits.

How long do I have to change my schedule?

If seats remain open in a class, students can add and drop freely through the first week of the semester. During the second week, instructor permission is required to add a class. Note that it is often difficult to make changes during the second week—many instructors are unwilling to add a student if they feel too much material has been covered. Adding a class after the second week is extremely rare and incurs a late registration fee. No class may be dropped after the second week; instead students must officially withdraw from the class without a refund.

What if a class I want to take is full?

If a class you planned to take is full when it is your time to register, it is wise to continue to check back online to see if any seats open up. Students continually make changes to their schedule as long as web registration is available (up until bills are due: January 1 for Spring semester, August 1 for Fall semester) and a class you want may be a class someone else decides to drop. Students may also ask the instructor to add them into a full class as an overenrolled student. If the instructor is agreeable and space remains in the classroom (that is, if the enrollment does not exceed room capacity set by fire codes) then the instructor will have his or her department assistant apply the online permission to your account. You will receive an email confirming when this has been completed. Once you receive the email, log in to eCommon and add the course to your schedule. If the room is at capacity, the only way to add a class is if someone else drops it. Keep in mind that many classes are often repeated at Emerson—if you aren’t able to take it one semester, you will have another chance to take it in the future.

I don’t want to take a course anymore. What can I do?

During the first two weeks of a semester, you can drop from any class without permission through the Student Service Center or online. After the first two weeks, students may no longer drop a class; they must officially withdraw from a class. To withdraw from a class, have your professor sign a Withdrawal form, available at the Student Service Center, and return it to the Student Service Center before the deadline, roughly two weeks before the end of the semester. (See the academic calendar for exact dates.) If you withdraw from a course, your instructor will assign you a grade: WP (Withdraw Pass) if you are passing at the time of your withdrawal, or WF (Withdraw Fail) if you are failing. This grade will appear on your transcript. A WP or WF has no effect on GPA. Note that if you simply stop going to class without officially dropping or withdrawing, neither the professor nor the Registrar will know your plans and you could end up with a failing grade. Talk to your advisor about options and consequences (e.g., the potential impact on academic standing) of withdrawing from a course.

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Course Requirements

How can I find out if I’m taking the right courses?

Students have a variety of ways to check their academic progress:

  1. Review a copy of your degree audit, online through eCommon via DegreeWorks under the Academics tab. This document lists your degree requirements and keeps track of which requirements you have fulfilled and those that remain. Courses you are currently registered for are indicated with an IP (In Progress) allowing you to easily check if they are the "right courses" and fulfilling your degree requirements in the way you planned.
  2. Familiarize yourself with the degree requirements as listed in the Undergraduate Catalogue. Be sure to follow the catalogue you received upon entering Emerson. Rules and requirements change from year to year, but you are held to the requirements in place when you entered the College.
  3. While students are encouraged to take ownership of their education by utilizing the degree audit and Undergraduate Catalogue when a question arises, you may always consult with an academic advisor for support. Contact information for your assigned academic advisor is available through eCommon. All students, regardless of their assigned advisor, are also welcome to contact the Academic Advising Center for help.

How do all the credits and required classes break down?

While each student has a slightly different case due to many different factors (what your major is, if you had Math or World Language waivers, if you brought in AP credit, etc.), some overall generalizations can be made:

  • All students must earn at least 128 credits to graduate. Students entering Emerson as first-year students will automatically reach this goal by taking a full, normal load each semester (16 credits) and staying a full four years (8 semesters). 8 semesters x 16 credits a semester = 128 credits.
  • Of the courses taken to reach 128 credits, some will be required for the General Education curriculum, some will be required for major requirements, and the remaining credits will be free elective credits. A "free elective" means you are free to elect to take any course you want (and are eligible for) to fulfill the remaining credits.
  • The number of free elective credits a student has varies widely according to such factors as the number of credits required to fulfill the major, if any waivers or AP scores fulfilled General Education requirements, etc. For the average student seeking a BA or BS degree, a safe generalization is that 1/3 of the credits will go toward General Education requirements, 1/3 toward the major, and 1/3 toward free electives.

What do I need to do to graduate from Emerson?

All baccalaureate degree candidates must satisfactorily complete a minimum of 128 semester credit hours with a minimum GPA of 2.0. In so doing, students must complete the General Education Curriculum and the specific requirements for a major. BA and BS candidates complete between 9 to 11 courses in the major; BFA students complete between 14 and 16 courses in the major.

Students must satisfactorily complete one full year at Emerson (32 credits) and they must complete their final 16 credits at Emerson or at an Emerson external program.

All students must submit a Graduation Application with the Registrar and must make an appointment for a senior credit evaluation before the last semester of attendance in order to be cleared for graduation.

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Transfer and Study Abroad Credits

I took a course at another school. Does it count?

To transfer credits taken at another school into Emerson, an official transcript from that school will need to be sent to the Registrar. The Registrar will evaluate the credit and, if eligible, apply it to your record. Visit the Registrar’s Office for more information about transferring credits »

I want to spend a semester at Kasteel Well and/or the Los Angeles Center. What should I do?

More information about these Emerson programs is available at the International Study and External Programs Office, located at 120 Boylston Street. It’s also wise to meet with an advisor to look ahead at how these programs can fit into your overall academic plan.

I’m considering studying abroad for a semester through another college, but I’m coming back to Emerson. What should I do?

The International Study and External Programs Office is available to offer guidance and counseling to students regarding accredited study abroad programs offered by other colleges and universities. You will also want to have all courses that you plan to take elsewhere pre-approved for transfer credit by the Registrar’s Office. Speak with your academic advisor to ensure that studying abroad fits within your overall academic plan.

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