Advising Cycle

Sophomores declare their major spring term and inform the Registrar’s Office. The Registrar sends names of new majors to the department chair, along with the department’s current advising load. By May, majors are assigned to advisers, with no more than 18 majors per adviser.

Assigning Advisees

  • When assigning advisees, chairs look at who will be teaching introductory classes likely to enroll first-year students fall term, leaving room in their major advising assignments for new students. Chairs may contact Director of Advising and Faculty Diversity Recruitment Yansi Pérez at x4311 to discuss strategies for fairly assigning advisees.
  • Often it is neither possible nor desirable for the chair to advise all majors. It is important for students to have the opportunity to express a preference. In Political Science, for example, all majors have the opportunity to request a specific adviser to the department assistant before assignments are posted.
  • Conversely, in smaller departments, sometimes it is quite successful to have the chair advise all the majors. This allows for greater consistency and efficiency in advising, and the centralized tracking of student progress toward fulfilling requirements.
  • Chairs must advise a number of students who plan overseas programs, seek approval for particular courses or plan to matriculate in foreign universities. The chair may be involved in negotiations over the satisfaction of college or major requirements. Make sure the Registrar’s Office is notified of any waivers or substitutions. Also be prepared for colleagues calling for information and advice.

Although students are ultimately responsible for completing all requirements on time, departments have a major role in ensuring students are on track.

First-year faculty never advise. Faculty on continuing appointments of half-time or more may choose to advise. Check with the Director of Advising if you have questions.


“Major” Decision Worksheet (PDF format)
“Major” Decision Worksheet (Word format)