Frequently Asked Questions
Our advisors have a crafted a curated list of their most frequently asked questions from their advisees, separated by category. To view each category’s questions and answers, click “READ MORE” under each category. Click “READ MORE” again to minimize the category’s questions.
Advising in C&IS
Who is my academic advisor?
All undergraduate students are assigned a professional or faculty advisor. Students can find this person’s name in the “advisor” section at the top of DegreeWorks. Advisors are assigned during the first week of class each semester. Students with 0-60 earned hours are advised by the professional academic advisors in Tisch Student Services. Students with 60+ hours are advised by a faculty member in their department.
How do I determine my student classification?
There are five classifications of undergraduate students:
Freshman: 0-30 hours
Sophomore: 31-60 hours
Junior: 61-90 hours
Senior: 91+ hours
Post-graduate: Any student who has previously completed an undergraduate degree and is taking courses towards another undergraduate degree or who is taking courses as a non-degree seeking student.
How do I make an appointment to meet with my academic advisor?
Students assigned to advisors in Tisch Student Services (0-60 earned hours) will use the online scheduling system here. Students advised by a faculty advisor (61+ earned hours) should e-mail their advisor to discuss signing up for an advising time slot.
When do I meet with an advisor to register for next semester?
We strongly encourage students to come in early each semester to get advised for the following semester. Ideally, students will begin seeing advisors in September for Spring advising and in February for Summer/Fall advising. Our advising staff is available to meet with students to discuss general concerns year-round.
Students assigned to a faculty advisor in their major department will need to work with that advisor to determine their appointment schedule. The best way for students to do so is to e-mail to their faculty advisor requesting an appointment.
All incoming freshmen and transfer students are advised during Bama Bound summer orientation.
Is advising required each semester?
No, advising is not required each semester unless the student is an athlete, has been placed on academic warning, or has been reinstated from suspension. However, students are strongly encouraged to seek advising each semester.
Where do I go for career advising?
Students’ academic advisors can answer general questions about which major might best suit their career interests, but a variety of services are offered by the Career Center at C&IS, located in Reese Phifer Hall. Services include resume and cover letter critiques, mock interviews, career exploration, and personality/interest assessments. You can set up an appointment with our Career Center staff here.
Majors and Minors
What undergraduate majors are housed in the College of Communication & Information Sciences?
There are five undergraduate majors in C&IS – Advertising, Communication Studies, Creative Media, News Media, and Public Relations. Four of these majors – Advertising, Creative Media, News Media, and Public Relations – are considered mass communication majors. Communication Studies is more focused on the liberal arts.
What are some popular minor options to consider with a C&IS major?
Almost any minor can be paired with a C&IS major. Below are some of the more popular minor options that our majors choose to pursue. However, this is not an all-inclusive list, and students should speak with their academic advisor if they have questions regarding minor selection. When selecting a minor, remember that if you are majoring in News Media, Creative Media, Advertising, or Public Relations, you cannot choose any of our 5 mass comm minors (Sports Media, News Media, Creative Media, Advertising, Public Relations).
· Advertising: Art, Communication Studies, Computing Technology & Applications, General Business, Psychology
· Communication Studies: Advertising, Computing Technology & Applications, Public Relations, General Business, Psychology
· Creative Media: Communication Studies, Creative Writing, Computing Technology & Applications, Art, Theater
· News Media: Communication Studies, Creative Writing, Political Science, English, a Foreign Language
· Public Relations: Communication Studies, General Business, Computing Technology & Applications, Political Science, Psychology
If I declare a double major, do I still have to have a minor?
No, students pursuing two majors are not required to complete a minor. Keep in mind that students can’t double major or minor in the four areas of mass communication – Advertising, Creative Media, News Media, or Public Relations. For example, a Public Relations major cannot minor in Advertising.
How do I change to a major in a different college at UA?
Students will need to meet with an advisor in their desired college before they can officially change their major. Visit the Undergraduate Majors page for a list of available majors at UA.
How do I change my major within the College of Communication & Information Sciences?
Students with fewer than 45 earned hours may log in to myBama and click the Change Major/Minor button on the Student Tab to make this change. Students who have completed more than 45 hours of coursework will need to speak with an advisor in the specific department to change their major.
Where can I find a Letter of Transiency and an official transcript?
The Letter of Transiency is in the “Student Services” box on the Student tab in MyBama. We recommend that students who plan to take courses outside of UA complete a Letter of Transiency prior to starting the course. This lets the student know how their credit will be received by UA, and some institutions require a copy of the letter as part of their transient admission process. Note: Students must request to have their official transcript sent from the outside institution to UA in order to receive credit.
An official transcript can be ordered through the “Student Services” on the Student tab in MyBama. Official transcript requests are processed by the Registrar’s Office.
How can I be sure what credit I will receive for a course taken away from UA and transferred back in?
Check the Transfer Credit Equivalency Tables located on the Registrar’s Office website.
I’m transferring to a different school. What are my next steps?
If a student is planning on leaving UA and transferring to another institution, they are responsible for contacting the other institution to see how their credits will be received. They may need to submit an official transcript to the other institution which can be found on the Student tab in MyBama.
I’m considering studying abroad. What are my next steps?
Students who wish to study abroad will need to meet with a study abroad advisor in the Education Abroad Office to discuss options for studying in a different country. Study abroad advisors can discuss available programs to see what best fits the student’s needs.
I am planning to study abroad. How do I make sure my courses transfer back?
Students can access the Study Abroad Course Equivalency Database on the Education Abroad website to see courses that have been previously approved. Note that after acceptance into a program, students must still complete the credit approval process. The online Course Equivalency Form is to be completed by the student, and the student must include course descriptions for all courses selected on the form. The form is then sent to each department chair in the major the course is housed for review, and once an equivalency decision is made, the student is notified. The course equivalency evaluation process generally takes 4-6 weeks to complete. Please be aware that academic advisors in Tisch Student Services cannot review course descriptions for equivalency. International transcripts can take up to 3 months to receive; therefore, we do not recommend students to take study abroad courses their final semester because the transcript most likely will not be received in time for graduation.
Registration and Add-Drop
When can I register for classes?
Registration dates fluctuate from semester to semester, so visit the Registrar’s website or check registration dates through the Student tab of MyBama. Click Student tab > Academic Services box > Registration Status. Registration for current students usually begins in March for the upcoming summer and fall semester and October for the upcoming spring semester. Incoming freshmen and transfer students register during Bama Bound orientation.
When are courses offered at UA?
Beyond the typical Fall, Spring and Summer terms, UA offers courses during Winter Interim in January and May Interim in May. Fall II and Spring II are 10-week long sessions within the traditional Fall and Spring semesters. Course offerings for Fall II and Spring II are listed under regular Fall or Spring semesters in MyBama. You can search for courses offered in a specific part of term by using the advanced search feature and selecting the desired term in the “Part of Term” field.
How do I use DegreeWorks?
Students may access DegreeWorks through the Student tab in MyBama or degreeworks.ua.edu. For more information on DegreeWorks, including FAQs, visit the Registrar’s site.
What classes should I take?
You can use DegreeWorks to help you determine which classes you need to take. Look for components that are red. Those are the ones you still need to complete.
We typically recommend 2 major classes, 2 minor classes, and 1 general education class each semester (assuming you are planning to take 15-16 hours). If you plan to take fewer than that, focus on getting any major classes that are prerequisites completed. You can find course prerequisites by searching the course prefix and number at https://catalog.ua.edu/ or by clicking the hyperlink for a course in DegreeWorks.
If you know what courses you would like to take and would like an advisor’s approval, please submit an e-advising form here.
If you have questions or need assistance selecting courses, please schedule an appointment with your advisor to discuss your options.
How many hours do I have to be registered for in order to be a full-time student?
An undergraduate student must be registered for at least 12 credit hours in a regular fall or spring semester in order to be considered a full-time student. 16 credit hours is considered a full load. Any hours over 16 are assessed an overload fee. Students may not exceed 18 hours in a semester without advisor and C&IS Registrar approval.
How do I drop a class?
In order to drop a course, a student will need to go to the Add/Drop button in the Student Services box on the Student tab of MyBama. To drop the course, select “Drop/Delete” from the drop down menu next to the course to be dropped and click “Submit.”
Students may add or drop courses during the first week of each semester without penalty. The last day to withdraw from a course with a “W” falls around the 10th week of classes. During interim and summer sessions both intervals are considerably shorter. Consult the UA academic calendar for specific dates.
How do I get a PIN cleared for registration?
If a student has an academic advising hold, or a PIN, on their record, it must be cleared by their assigned advisor. Students should contact their advisor to schedule an appointment in order to have their PIN lifted.
How do I use Schedule Builder?
Schedule Builder can be found by going to the Student tab in MyBama. For assistance using Schedule Builder, please check out these two links:
I have an Office of Veteran’s Affairs advising form. What is the process for having my form signed?
Students for whom this applies may email thier VA advising to email@example.com or their academic advisor for a signature. Students should then follow the instructions here to submit their form.
Registration Error Troubleshooting
What do I do if the class I want to register for is full?
If the course is a C&IS class, you can fill out a course permit request here. If the class is outside of C&IS, you will need to contact the college it is housed in to seek permission. Advising locations and contact info can be found here.
What does a “campus code” error mean?
You are trying to sign up for a section of the class that is restricted to distance learning students. When registering for classes, be sure to check that the class has a campus code of “MA” or “OLM”, otherwise you won’t be able to register for it.
What does a “course link” error mean?
You are trying to sign up for a section of the class that requires a lab or recitation section. You must register for both the lab or recitation and lecture section simultaneously. You can generally find additional information and instructions in the “title” column. Lectures generally have a “3” in the credit column while labs and recitation sections typically have a “0” listed.
Why is the class I want not showing up in Schedule Builder?
Double check for the course on MyBama by going to “Look up classes” or “Add/Drop Classes”. If the course still does not show up, this either means the class is not offered in the upcoming semester, or it is full. Additionally, be sure to double check the dates the course is offered to determine whether it will be offered in the full term or part of term.
What do I do if I meet the prerequisites for a class but get an error when I try to register?
Double check to be sure you meet the prerequisites (see them at catalog.ua.edu). If you do, you can contact the department that houses the class directly for information about obtaining a permit.
I’m getting close to graduation. How do I ensure that I have completed my requirements?
The semester before a student’s anticipated graduation term, students will automatically receive a degree audit posted on their DegreeWorks. This will ensure that they know exactly what they have remaining, and they can register accordingly to prepare for graduation. If a student does not have any audit, they can request one through the CIS website. Students may email their faculty advisor with any questions.
What are the steps to apply for graduation?
Students will begin receiving e-mails to their Crimson e-mail account from the Registrar’s Office in the semester they will complete degree requirements and graduate. Graduation applications are available through MyBama, and students must submit their fees and application by the stated deadline.
What are the qualifications for summa cum laude, magna cum laude and cum laude?
The honors designation announced at commencement are based on a student’s UA GPA earned at the end of the semester prior to the semester of graduation. Once all final grades are received, the Latin honors designation may be updated and will be reflected on the student’s final transcript. The honor designations are based off the following GPA ranges:
· cum laude: 3.5-3.69
· magna cum laude: 3.7-3.89
· summa cum laude: 3.9-4.0+
For further information, visit the UA Registrar’s graduation page here.
GPA and Academic Standing
What’s the difference between my “overall GPA” and my “UA GPA?”
The overall GPA combines a student’s transfer GPA and their UA GPA, whereas the UA GPA is solely based off the work completed at The University of Alabama. Academic standing is based off the UA GPA. Coursework taken elsewhere and transferred back to UA will not impact the UA GPA, only the Transfer and Overall GPAs.
What does “academic standing” mean and are there different types?
There are four standings a student can be placed in based on their UA GPA. The University of Alabama uses the Satisfactory Progress Standard (SPS) to determine a student’s academic standing.
· Good Standing – any student with a UA GPA above 2.0
· Academic Warning – any student with a UA GPA below 2.0 but above the Satisfactory Progress Standard (SPS)
· Academic Suspension – any student that has not met the SPS based on their overall hours after at least one term on Academic Warning
· Reinstated from Suspension – any student that has earned a suspension but has been reinstated to their college
Why have I been placed on academic warning?
An academic warning serves as an alert that a student’s GPA is close to the threshold for academic suspension and is placed on any student whose UA GPA falls below 2.0 but remains above the Scholastic Progress Standard (SPS). For more information about the Scholastic Progress Standard and academic status, warning and suspension, click here.
If I’m suspended, can I take summer classes to raise my GPA?
Yes, but those courses must be taken either on-campus or online through UA in order to impact a student’s academic standing. Taking courses away from UA in summer will not impact a student’s UA GPA, which is what academic warning/suspension is based on.
What is academic bankruptcy?
The UA catalog defines academic bankruptcy as “a student’s request to retroactively withdraw from one academic term of study because of extreme personal, emotional or financial circumstances so devastating that it was impossible for the student to perform academically at a level approximating the usual record of achievement.” If a student finds themselves in this situation, they can appeal for Academic Bankruptcy. Click here for information on how to file for academic bankruptcy within the College of Communication and Information Sciences.