AT PLNU, academic advising helps you to experience the meaningful education you desire. Faculty and Undeclared Advisors are available to assist you from your first year at the university to graduation and beyond!
Academic advisors are the point of contact for personal assistance in a variety of areas, including: declaring or changing an academic major, minor, and concentration; identifying your faculty advisor; planning your schedule, developing strategies for selecting classes, completing transfer course work at your local community college; online web registration; and more.
Questions? Check below to see if we can answer them for you or contact your advisor for an appointment.
What are the differences between a major, a minor, and a concentration?
PLNU offers Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Music, Bachelor of Science in Nursing, and Bachelor of Science degrees. With more than 60 majors, many of the majors offer concentrations, or areas of emphasis. See the Course Offerings and Descriptions section of the PLNU catalog for detailed information on majors, minors, and concentrations offered by the university.
What's the purpose of the general education program?
The purpose of the general education program is to provide a common educational experience, to develop essential skills, and to provide broad cultural background for personal and professional growth. The curriculum is listed under a four-fold division. The divisions, although not mutually exclusive or all-encompassing, organize similar themes relevant to faith and learning. Each complements the others and, in each, conscious efforts are made to reveal connections, develop perspectives, and build synthetic thinking skills.
General education at PLNU is divided into the following categories (review the catalog online for a list of courses):
- Responding to the Sacred
- Developing Cognitive Skills
- Exploring an Interdependent World
- Seeking Cultural Perspectives
Do I need a major to graduate?
Yes! While undergraduate students all share certain general requirements for earning the baccalaureate degree, graduation depends on the fulfillment of general education coursework and lower and upper division requirements in an academic major. For a complete list of graduation requirements, refer to the PLNU catalog.
Graduation requirements include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Satisfactory completion of the general education program
- Completion of an approved program of study in a major area with a cumulative grade-point average of 2.00 unless otherwise stipulated
- Satisfactory completion of a minimum of 128 semester units (numbered 100 and above) with a cumulative grade-point average of 2.00
- Residency at PLNU during the final 24 units of study
- Completion of all academic and institutional requirements
What about the math requirements?
To graduate from PLNU, students must demonstrate ability in mathematics by submitting an adequate SAT score as defined by faculty policy, by successful performance on a department placement examination (e.g., Math Placement Exam), or by completing the required course for establishing these competencies. These abilities must be met prior to junior classification.
Review the “Mathematics Competency” section of your Advising Guide. Work with your advisor to develop and implement a plan to complete math requirements for your major and graduation. Many lower division courses have MTH 099 as a prerequisite. Don’t wait until your junior year, as that may be too late for many academic majors.
For more information about Math Competency (or MTH 099), contact the Department of Mathematical, Information and Computer Sciences (619) 849-2219.
When is the best time to declare a major, if I am undeclared?
Some students already know which major they would like to declare. Some students choose to take more time exploring and working on General Education coursework. Students who have not chosen a major by the end of their sophomore year will have very few General Education courses to select from as juniors. In addition, some majors have “sequential coursework,” so it becomes critical that you start work on lower division requirements right away. If you are undeclared, it is in your best interest to select a major and declare no later than the second semester of your sophomore year if you plan to graduate in four/five years.
How many times can I change my major?
You can change your major as many times as you want. However, changes should be made infrequently and very carefully. Depending on the new major, you may be adding more time to your college career. Before changing majors, make an appointment to talk with your advisor and with a faculty member or department chair in the academic department you are considering. The Records Office will help you change your major when you are ready. A new faculty advisor will be assigned to you which you can review in the student portal. It is highly recommend that you begin to work with your new advisor as soon as possible.
How can I plan for graduation?
Strategic scheduling is one of many tools that can assist in the completion of General Education and academic major requirements. Strategic scheduling is also extremely helpful if you need to improve your academic performance (i.e., semester and cumulative GPA).
Goal accomplishment is the focus of strategic scheduling. By defining your academic and career goals, you can develop scheduling strategies to help achieve your goals. Accessing on-campus services, carefully selecting classes, and managing your time are important factors to keep in mind when creating a strategic schedule.
Depending on your needs, your strategy can be as simple or as complex as you desire. However, simple strategies are very effective in minimizing stress levels and also make re-evaluation of your plan a manageable task. Remember to review your strategy with your advisor before online registration and make adjustments as necessary.
Here are a few suggestions for developing an effective strategic schedule:
- Make a four to five-year timeline
- List long-term and short-term academic goals
- Use a printed copy of your Advising Guide to list general dates for completing coursework. Check off classes as they are completed
- Evaluate your overall use of time. With 168 total hours in a week, list all your activities (i.e., classes, family, studying, sleeping, etc.); remember that academic, social, and spiritual balance is the goal. Use your activity list to help you reasonably plan your time so that you can achieve your goals. List the services that you will access on campus such as:
- Tutorial Services (peer tutoring and review sessions, test taking strategies, time management, note-taking, and organization strategies)
- Offices of Strengths and Vocation (personality and career assessments, internships and more!)
- Spiritual Development
- Faculty Advisors (check your student portal to review your advisor assignment)
- Wellness Center (counseling, health and nutritional services)
- The Advising Guide and your online Catalog are powerful tools for selecting courses toward graduation. Use both to develop a list of all the classes you have to complete for General Education, lower division and upper division courses for your major (and minor if applicable).
- Some of the course work in the General Education program is duplicated in certain academic majors (e.g., ECO 101 and ECO 102 are lower division requirements for the Business Administration Degree). If you already know which major you will declare or are considering a particular major, select courses that will complete both Gen Ed and major requirements. If you are still unsure about your major, select courses that will complete the Gen Ed program. In either case, you will continue to move toward graduation if you always use your Advising Guide in conjunction with your catalog as a tool for selecting course work.
- Always use your catalog to check course descriptions, and don’t forget to consult with your advisor or faculty member if you have questions about a specific course before registering for the course. This will save time and help you make wise choices as you develop your class schedule and continue your progress toward graduation.
How do I register for classes?
Continuing students have two opportunities to use the student portal to register for classes during the academic year. Spring courses are normally selected during the fall semester, while fall courses and summer courses are selected during the spring semester. Students are assigned a time to register on the portal based on the number of units completed. Priority is given to students with the most number of units completed (e.g., seniors would register first, then juniors, etc.).
While online registration is the final event in the process, two important activities precede online registration. The first activity involves “information gathering.” Department Chapel and Advising Day Chapels are designed to give you an opportunity to ask questions, interact with colleagues and faculty while getting information from department faculty about your major.
Advising Week follows Advising Day Chapel and provides students with an opportunity to meet one-on-one with faculty advisors to discuss any concerns and review course selections and scheduling plans. You should plan to attend all of the academic chapel activities and interact with your advisor well in advance of Advising Week.