Understanding Academic Advising

As a Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences student, you are assigned an academic advisor. During your individual advising appointments, your advisor will help you:

  • Explore and clarify your academic interests and career goals;
  • Match your interests and goals with an appropriate academic focus;
  • Develop a greater sense of independence and problem solving;
  • Connect with the many resources and opportunities that the University offers;
  • Declare a Dietrich School major or apply for admission to a program in another University of Pittsburgh school, such as the College of Business Administration, the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, the School of Social Work, or the School of Information Sciences.

How Advising Works

At least once each semester, you must meet with your academic advisor to discuss your academic goals and progress towards these goals.

  • By the third week of the semester, you will receive an e-mail from your advisor instructing you to schedule an advising appointment.
  • Go online to schedule your appointment. IT IS IMPORTANT TO MAKE SURE THAT YOU SCHEDULE YOUR ADVISING APPOINTMENT FOR A TIME PRIOR TO YOUR ENROLLMENT APPOINTMENT DATE.
  • Be sure to record your appointment day and time.
  • Attend your scheduled appointment.
  • During the appointment, you and your advisor will create a list of suggested courses for the upcoming semester.
  • After this meeting, your advisor will remove the registration hold which is placed by the Office of the University Registrar.
  • BE SURE TO REGISTER FOR COURSES ON YOUR ASSIGNED ENROLLMENT APPOINTMENT DATE.

We strongly encourage you to meet with your advisor more often or contact them via e-mail or phone, especially if questions arise or problems occur. After you officially declare a Dietrich School major or are admitted into a professional school, you will be advised through that program.

When to Declare your Major

For most majors, if you can answer “yes” to the following questions, you are ready to declare. But if you have questions, please contact your advisor.

  • Have you completed a minimum of 24 credits in college (not counting AP credits) and at least two required courses in the major with a C or better? NOTE: Some majors have more specific requirements for declaring. Go to the majors and minors page and review requirements.
  • Do you have a solid understanding of your General Education Requirements?
  • Do you know how to check course description information and to get details on majors, minors, certificates and other academic enhancements?

If you have answered yes to most of these questions, then you are probably ready to declare.

How to Declare Your Major

Come to the Advising Center, 201 Thackeray Hall, and fill out the appropriate form at the reception desk, at which time you will be given a “Welcome Letter” from your new department.

NOTE: Major programs in other schools within Pitt ( e.g., Pharmacy, Library and Information Science, Nursing, Engineering, Education, Business Administration, Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, Social Work) cannot be declared in this way. Students must follow the application procedure outlined by the school.

Next Year's FAFSA Available Now

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) became available on October 1, 2016 for the 2017-18 academic year. This is the most important form to complete in order to qualify for almost all types of financial aid. Visit the Federal Student Aid Web site to access the online application and find many helpful tips.