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faq - deciding @ UMD

Frequently Asked Questions and Commonly Used Academic Terms

Replacing myths with facts for undeclared student. Questions ? Just Ask…

What does undeclared mean? This does not mean that the student is undecided or indecisive. Students enter college undeclared for one of many reasons and each is at a different point in their decision making process. The word "undeclared" means the student has not yet declared a major. It is simple as that. In addition, according to national research, undeclared students are more likely to graduate from college and will be happier with their major once chosen. One reason cited is that undeclared students are more likely to be open to trying new courses and exploring thier options, before making the committment.

Where do I go for academic advising while I am undeclared? All students are assigned an academic advisor. A student's advisor will often be a professional advisor, with some students assigned to faculty advisors. You can find your advisor's name by viewing your APAS report, going to "register for classes" at the bottom of UMD's home page, or by using your portfolio for your information resource. If you are have further questions or would like to go further in depth to see how your major interests fit with your personality, temperament, strengths and values, feel free to contact Michele Hatcher, Undeclared Coordinator for further conversation.

Since I do not have a major yet, how do I know which classes to take? When students enter UMD undeclared, they have some time to explore and take courses before committing to a major. However, students should be thoughtful in their course selections. Choose Liberal Education courses that align with interest areas, try courses within major areas, and explore area not considered before.

Liberal Education Requirements; do I take all of these courses? No matter which college a student enters on campus, all UMD undergraduate students are required to complete 1 course within liberal education categories 1 through 10. Exceptions to this would be in categories 4 and 5, and in categories 9 and 10. For example; if a student chooses to take two lab science courses in category 4, they will not need to complete a category 5 course. Likewise, if a student chooses to enroll in two different category 9 courses, they will not be required to enroll in a performance based category 10 course. Each category offers students many course options to choose from. It is in the student's best interest to check the online course schedule to verify when the courses will be offered.

While I am undeclared how do I know that I will be on track for a degree? The 30-60-90 Student Success Roadmap offers a student success plan for meeting milestones along your academic career.

Where do I go to get help with choosing a major? Begin by getting to know yourself well. Research majors and careers on campus and the academic requirements involved. Do the majors you are considering fit your values, interests and abilities? Talk with your parents, peers and professional in the field to gain more information. Meet with Career Services and use the tools and resourses within this site to gain more knowledge. Then set a time to meet with your advisor or the coordinator for Undeclared students, Michele Hatcher to further discuss your plan or gain more knowledge.

When am I required to declare my major? When students enter UMD undeclared, they have some time to explore and take courses before committing to a major. However, students should be thoughtful in their course selections. Choose Liberal Education courses that align with interest areas, allow your to try courses within major areas, and explore area not considered before. It is recommended that declaration take place by at least 45 credits, generally in the fall of the second year.

How do I declare my major? Students at UMD can declare a major within any one of the 5 Colleges on campus. If the student is declaring a major within the college they enrolled in when entering UMD; they will complete a graduation plan for that major and submit it to their individual collegiate student affairs office. (CLA students will find their contact information within, "How do I? at:

If the student is declaring a major in another college other than the one enrolled in; complete a graduation plan for the entire major and submit the "printer friendly version" of the planned APAS of this major within graduation planner. Also complete the "Change of College" application. Submit both forms to the collegiate unit the major is being declared in. *LSBE declarations will need only complete thier Grad Plan which includes remaining liberal education courses along with the "pre business lower division requirements" (planning for the full major is not required).

Use these tools and forms to declare: Graduation Planner , Application for Undergraduate Change of College and Supplemental Instructions for Change of College within UMD

Should I attend job fairs or do an internship to help me decide on a career/major? Definitely, attending job fairs gives students the opportunity to know first hand what employers are looking in terms of skills, educaiton and knowledge. The experience will also help students to develop social skills in navigating the job market and making connections. Gaining internship experiences enable student to further develop areas of knowledge in a particular employment area or field of study. Students can create valuable connections and possible full time employment through internship experiences.

Managing Common Pressures....? It is normal to face various pressures once entering college. It is the first time for living on your own, living with a room mate, mananging finances, and taking care of your own health, wellness, laundry and food. These are new changes all at once. UMD offers many resources and people to talk with about any one of the concerns you may face. The FYE (First Year Experience Program) office has a wealth of information on their website. UMD Health Services offers ongoing workshops, seminars, groups and individual sessions for students. Your Resident Assistant in your dorm can also provide contact and resources for students to find answers to many of the common questions or concerns a student encounters. The Multicultural Center is an excellent resource for any student and Disabilities Resources can assist with many questions about academic strengths. Don't go it alone, you are in the same place as many other students. Make a contact with one of the above resources and find the answers you are looking for.

Commonly Used Academic Terms

Academic year-A period of time in which students enroll in course work beginning from the start of the fall semester, throught the completion of the spring semester in June. Student will also have opportunity to take additional course work during a January term, May term or summer session.

Articulation Agreement- An agreement between community and four-year colleges that indicate the acceptability of ourses in transfer toward meeting specific degree requirements. Please refer to the UMD Transfer Manual to see how previous course work taken may be applied to UMD programs of study.

Bachelors (Baccalaureate) Degree- An academic degree awarded for an undergraduate major or course of study that generally lasts four years with a minimum of 120 semester units.

Bachelor of Arts (BA)- The Bachelor of Arts degree provides a broad distribution of learning between the major and related fields that develop critical thinkg and communication skills crucial to success in almost any future career. In some cases a student may choose between a BA and a BS course of study in the same subject at UMD.

Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA)- is a specialized degred awarded for courses of study in the fine and /or performing arts. This degree iis awarded through the UMD's School of Fine Arts. A BFA is usually referred to as a professional degree, whose recipients have generally received four years of study and training in their major field.

Bachelor of Science (BS)- The Bachelor of Science implies a more applied and focues orientation in study as immediate preparation for a specific career in medicine, science, or technical career such as engineering. In some cases a student may choose between a BA and a BS course of study in the same subject at UMD.

Change of College Application- A form that is completed by the student who is intending to declare a major that is not presently within the college that they originally enrolled in. This form should be completed a minimum of two weeks prior to registering for the next semester's coursework. Student will also need to complete a Graduation Plan and submit it along with the change of college of the major being declared.

Concentration or track- A certain number of credits/coures in a major program of study that is more specialized that the general degree program. A concentration is a special emphasis within a degree program and is noted on the diploma.

Electives- Are courses that are not used to meet specific major, general education, or graduation requirements, but can be used to complete the total units required for a degree.

Grade Point Average (G.P.A.)- Grade point average is the average of all grades received and can be determined for a particular semester, major and also in terms of cumulative G.P.A. At UMD, this does not include transfer courses taken outside of the University of Minnesota system. At UMD, a minimum of 2.00 is required to be a student in good standing. However, pay attention to major requirements, as some require a specific G.P.A. higher than 2.00. Calculate your G.P.A.

Lower Division- Courses offered for freshman/sophomore credit that are typically numbered at 1000 and 2000 levels.

Major- A program of study that leads to a degree. A student can declare a major or double major within any one of the five UMD Colleges on campus. A student may also double major, within one college or two colleges.

Minor- A secondary program of study outside of the major field. Most degrees require a minor, however, there a few larger majors that do not.

Pre-professional- Undergraduate coursework which is recommended or required for enrollement in professional schools such as medicine, pharmacy, dentristy, veterinary medicine, law programs or other health science related pre-professional programs.

Prerequisite- A course or courses that must be successfully completed before a student can enroll in the next-level course or more advanced courses.

Semester- Typically a 15 week term that marks the beginning and end of classes. There are two semesters (fall and spring) in an academic year.

Upper division- Courses offered for junior/senior students at the 3000 or 4000 level.. These courses are not offered by community colleges, and they often require completion of prerequisite courses. Typically, upper division courses emphasize study within the major concentration.