Frequently Asked Questions
How do I find out the name of my adviser?
You can check the Adviser Information application on eLion.
How do I schedule an appointment with an adviser?
Please visit the following website: http://www.la.psu.edu/advising-appt/
How and when do I declare a major?
In most cases, majors are declared during your fourth semester through a process known as Entrance to Major (ETM) on eLion. If you need or want to declare your major earlier and have a minimum of 27.1 credits and 2.00 overall and major GPAs, schedule an appointment with a department adviser to complete an entrance-to-major form. If you are interested in PSYCH or ECON, there are specific ETM requirements you must meet. Please contact an adviser in your major of interest for details.
How and when do I declare a minor?
Once you have a declared major, you would have your adviser approve a minor application, which you would submit at the department offering the minor. If you have questions, contact the department that offers the minor for details.
How do I change my major?
Make an appointment with the adviser in the major you are planning to enter or contact the college that has your intended major (if it’s not Liberal Arts).
How do I add a second (or third) major?
Begin by seeing your current adviser. They will start the process and refer you to the appropriate next step which includes meeting with an adviser in the major/department you are interested in declaring your second or third major.
What is the difference between Other Cultures and IL courses? Can I use one course to satisfy both?
Other Cultures courses focus on areas of the world other than the US, western Europe, & Australia, while IL courses include them. One course may not be used to satisfy both requirements. You can find information for these courses under Degree Requirements.
What is the difference between ENGL 202A, B, C, D? Do I have to take a specific one?
ENGL 202 deals with writing in various disciplines: ENGL 202A, social sciences; ENGL 202B, humanities; ENGL 202C, technical; ENGL 202D, business. Some majors specify which one students must take; otherwise, students can choose based on their area of writing interest.
What is the difference between CAS 100A, B, C?
CAS 100A has an emphasis on public speaking & presentations. CAS 100B focuses on group problem solving & group presentations. CAS 100C involves message evaluation and analysis. Students should select the one that best suits their interests and skills.
What courses can I take to satisfy the GN lab requirement for Liberal Arts?
The list of approved GN lab courses for Liberal Arts students can be found online: List of Approved GN lab courses for Liberal Arts Students
How do I find courses to fulfill specific requirements?
Under degree requirements, click on any requirement listed and you will be able to view what courses qualify under the specific requirement you chose.
In addition, on the Schedule of Courses, using the Advanced Search option, you will be able to choose from general education requirements, writing intensive courses, US Cultures, International Cultures, and Other Cultures, etc. The Schedule of Courses will display the courses available that meet the criteria you selected.
What do I do when the course I want is full?
Use the Course Watch List. This eLion function monitors sections of full courses for openings. You may select up to ten sections per semester for your course watch list. If space becomes available in a section on your list, you will be notified via e-mail (to your Penn State account) and/or text message. When notified, you can attempt to add the section. Seats are filled on a first-come, first-served basis.
Please note: you will not be automatically added into the section just because you have placed it on your course watch list. You must add it via eLion.
Keep checking the Schedule of Courses. A new section of the course may be added, or someone might drop the course. Be sure to click on "Refresh Seats" for updated availability.
Call or stop by the department* offering the course to ask:
- Is there any way I can schedule this course?
- Is it possible that more sections will be added? If so, when?
- Is there a waiting list? (If so, get your name on it!)
- What's the name of the instructor? (Call, e-mail, or stop by during the instructor's office hours to ask, "What would you recommend if I really want/need this course?")
*Tip: Department phone numbers and office locations are on the Schedule of Courses.
Schedule a course that would be a good alternative. (Be sure to review all of your course selections with an adviser.) Please note: it is not recommended that you send your schedule or course selection ideas to an adviser through email for review. Please stop by during walk-in advising hours or schedule an appointment instead.
Wait until the semester begins. Many courses will have space available within the first week of classes. If it's okay with the instructor, attend the class, even if you can't add it at that point. That way you'll be sure you really want the course, and you won't have missed anything if the course does open up.
Ask the course instructor to sign a registration drop/add form giving you permission to enroll (even though the class is full). If the instructor signs this form, take it to the department that offers the course for approval and processing. (If the department does process the “override,” double-check your schedule to be sure the course you added doesn't conflict with other courses already on your schedule.)
For more information, please visit:
How and when can I add and/or drop a course?
Courses can be added and/or dropped during the regular Drop/Add period, which is during the first ten calendar days of the semester. You can either fill out a Drop/Add form and submit it to the Registrar's Office or go through eLion. If a course is dropped during the regular Drop/Add period, it will not show up on your transcript.
Courses can be dropped during the Late Drop period, which is from the eleventh day of the semester to the end of the twelfth week of the semester. If a course is dropped during the Late Drop period, it will show up on your transcript as a withdrawal grade. Contact your adviser for details.
Read more about drop/add on the LAUS Blogs: Making the Most of the Drop/Add Period
Course adds occurring after the tenth day are considered late adds. A late add requires the signature of the course instructor on a registration drop/add form. The student takes the completed form to the department offering the course for processing.
What is the difference between the regular Drop/Add period and the Late Drop period?
The Late Drop period for a course begins with the first calendar day after the regular Drop/Add period ends, and ends on the day when 80% of the duration of the course is attained. During this period, you can only drop courses, but you are limited as to how many courses you can drop. This is based on the number of Late Drop credits you have. All students are given a certain amount of Late Drop credits they can use during their entire time enrolled at Penn State. Associate (2-year degree), Provisional (PROV), and Non-Degree (NDEGR) students are given ten, while baccalaureate (4-year degree) students are given sixteen. Once you use them, you lose them, in that you can't get any more. When you Late Drop a course, instead of a regular grade, a WN grade will appear on your transcript. Go to Advising @ PSU for more information.
What is an Administrative Course Cancellation?
An administrative course cancellation resolves a registration error and results in the removal of a course (or courses) from the student's academic record. It is appropriate only if the student never participated in the course. If this procedure is used, drop or late drop of the course is not necessary. If this procedure results in the cancellation of all courses on a student's current semester schedule, the student must re-enroll to resume degree candidacy.
How do I transfer a course from another college and/or university to Penn State?
Use the Transferring Credits Tool to review courses from other universities that have already been evaluated that may be direct equivalents to PSU courses. Other transfer courses not listed here can be reviewed. Please see your academic advisor for an appropriate referral.
If the course transfers to Penn State, have the college or university send an official transcript to:
201 Shields Building
University Park, PA 16804
Note: The final grade of the course must be a "C" or higher and it must be taken for a grade (not as a pass/fail) at the other institution in order to transfer. Also, grades of transfer credits do not count towards your PSU GPA.
What is a Degree Audit?
The Penn State Degree Audit Report is a computer-generated report that matches the degree requirements of an undergraduate degree program with a student's course work taken. The audit identifies those graduation requirements completed as well as those requirements needing completion prior to graduation. The purpose of the audit report is to provide each student and his/her adviser with a degree progress monitoring tool to assist in academic planning and appropriate course scheduling each semester. Students can obtain an audit of their current major or explore other majors by seeing how their completed course work matches with the requirements of other majors. Degree audits can be obtained from eLion.
What grade do I need to get to count towards my major, minor, or general education requirements?
Students are required to earn a “C” or better in their major and minor courses in order for them to count towards graduation. Students must earn a “D” or better in general education or Bachelor of Arts requirements to count toward graduation. The minimum requirement for entry to a major and for graduation is a 2.00.
What do I do when I want to have an adviser look at my schedule to make sure I’m on target to graduate?
Please see your adviser’s schedule for walk-in hours. Walk-ins are an appropriate time to have an adviser take a quick look at your schedule and make any suggestions. You can also schedule an appointment to see your adviser. It is not appropriate to send your schedule via email for adviser “approval.”
How and when do I file intent to Graduate?
You should file your intent to graduate through eLion during the first two weeks of the semester in which you plan to graduate. You can find the exact dates by looking at the academic calendar through the Registrar’s website. Note: You must still activate your intent in order to graduate, even if you participated in a previous ceremony.
What if I want to “walk” in the commencement ceremony?
Your request to "walk" in the ceremony will typically be approved if you have less than 8 credits left to complete your degree requirements. Please understand that an approval to "walk" in the ceremony is merely an approval to attend the ceremony. Your name will not be in the commencement program until the semester in which you activate your intent and complete all your degree requirements. Please see an adviser to complete a "Request for Permission to Participate" form.