Advising FAQs

General information

Why do I need an advisor?
Advisors help students develop plans for majors, match personal strengths and interests with opportunities in the university curriculum, understand and complete requirements, avoid or overcome administrative issues, and develop a sense of purpose in their undergraduate education.

Who is and how do I meet my advisor?
Incoming freshmen and transfer students starting during fall semester receive advising at Alive! New Student Orientation by a department academic coordinator. See our Academic Staff and Prospective Students page to be directed to the correct advisor.

Degree requirements

How do I choose a major?
Choosing a major can be one of the most difficult decisions you will need to make during your college education. You will need to think about what is important for you in an occupation, explore the options available to you, and do a self-assessment of your values, abilities, and interests. Once you have done this, you will be in a better position to make a decision.

At the SDC, our integrated first-year curriculum exposes students to a strong foundation in the design and construction disciplines, while our experienced advising staff will provide you with information and resources that can assist you in making an informed decision when applying for major certification.

Why am I taking general education requirements?
General education is intended to accommodate needs and objectives not adequately served by academic specialization. The University Common Requirements (UCORE) is the center of the undergraduate curriculum. While the majority of courses of study will be devoted to major fields, the UCORE curriculum provides a degree of balance between the narrow focus of the major and the broader traditional objectives of higher education.

How do I earn a bachelor’s degree?
University requirements for the baccalaureate degree have been established by the faculty as an expression of the common degree expectations for all Washington State University graduates. The faculty has established minimum standards in terms of credit hours, grade points, and distribution requirements within the General Education Program.

  • Hours and grade points: A minimum of 120 semester hours with a grade point average of 2.0 or better.
  • Upper-Division (300-400-level): A minimum of 40 semester hours.
  • The University Writing Portfolio (Mid-Career Assessment): Successful completion of the University Writing Portfolio is a requirement for graduation at WSU. Students must satisfy this requirement once they have earned 60 credit hours. To complete the Junior Writing Portfolio, students must submit three papers they have written as a result of previously assigned college coursework and take a Timed Writing Exam consisting of two writing exercises. Upon completion of 60 credit hours, students are given two semesters to satisfy the Junior Writing Portfolio. The Junior Writing Portfolio should be completed before a student enrolls in an [M] course (see below). Visit the Writing Portfolio page for more information.
  • Writing in the Major [M]: Two courses identified as writing in the major [M] must be included in coursework taken to meet departmental requirements. Consult the requirements in the department in which you intend to major.
  • UCORE: All students, regardless of major, must fulfill the minimum requirements of WSU’s University Common Requirements.
  • The award of a degree is conditioned upon the student’s good standing in the University and satisfaction of all University graduation requirements. “Good standing” means the student has resolved any unpaid fees or acts of academic or behavioral misconduct and complied with all sanctions imposed as a result of the misconduct. The University shall deny the award of a degree if the student is dismissed from the University based on his or her misconduct.

Please contact the specific department for more information.

What is a degree audit?
A degree audit is an automated record that shows a student’s progress toward completing an undergraduate degree in a particular major. It is one of several tools intended to help understand what requirements have been satisfied and what needs to be accomplished to complete a degree program. In concert with an advisor, a student can use this report to keep track of his/her progress toward attaining a degree. The report does not replace the importance of academic advising; rather it promotes a more sophisticated approach to academic and career counseling.

An automated degree audit details the progress toward degree by itemizing degree requirements and by showing the completion status of each requirement on the report. In addition to allowing the student and the advisor to see which requirements are incomplete, the report also shows which courses may be used to satisfy requirements. This helps the student choose the best courses to take in future semesters. The report also shows requirements for graduation that are not met by taking courses, such as completing the junior writing portfolio or maintaining a certain grade point average.

The degree audit report can be requested through myWSU by clicking on “Student Center” and then on “Academic Requirements.” “What If” reports can also check to see how a student’s courses would fit into other degree programs. When a student has applied for graduation, the degree audit serves as the final check for degree clearance. For further information on degree audits, the student should contact his/her academic coordinator.

What is the writing portfolio?
The Junior Writing Portfolio is a mid-career diagnostic to determine if student writing abilities have advanced in ways that can handle the writing demands of upper-division courses and courses in their majors. Successful completion of the Junior Writing Portfolio during the junior year is a requirement for graduation at Washington State University. The Writing Portfolio identifies students who demonstrate a need for structured writing support with upper-division writing requirements as well as recognizes the standard of writing expected of all WSU graduates.

What are the certification requirements for each program?
Architecture, Construction Management, Interior Design, and Landscape Architecture.

What type of computer will I need as a student in the SDC?
Computer specifications are located here.

Are there special fees I will pay as a student in the SDC?
Students that are a certified major or graduate student in one of the design programs at the SDC are charged a student computing fee of $80/semester ($160/year). Certified construction management students are charged $60/semester ($120/year). Fees are applied to student accounts at the beginning of each semester and support the cloud-based software and computing environment at the SDC. The fee reduces personal computing software and hardware requirement costs incurred by students.

Students that are a certified major or graduate student in one of the design programs at the SDC are charged a shop fee of $55/semester ($110/year). Fees are applied to student accounts at the beginning of each semester and provide access to high-quality equipment and supplies for both digital and traditional model-making, prototyping, and large-scale fabrications.

In addition, some courses have special course fees that pay for goods, services, or travel, depending upon the course.

Am I required to travel as a student in the SDC?
Travel experience is integral to the SDC curriculum and contributes to a transformative education, as indicated in strategic plans for both the SDC and WSU. Undergraduate students will complete a minimum of one required “study tour” course. Graduate students will complete a minimum of one required “travel experience.” Students participating in study tours and courses involving travel will pay fees commensurate with travel expenses. More information is available here.

What other information should I be aware of as a student in the SDC?
The School of Design and Construction seeks to educate students in architecture, landscape architecture, interior design, and construction management in an atmosphere of mutual respect, fairness, civility, and collaboration. The information described or linked in our comprehensive policies and procedures manual outlines faculty, staff, and student responsibilities towards these ends. Please take time to familiarize yourself with this document.

Help with classes

What can I do if I’m having trouble with my classes?

  • Academic Success Workshops – Free workshops  designed to help you develop and refine the skills you will need to succeed in your classes and college.
  • Tutoring Center – Take advantage of college-sponsored peer tutoring. Peer tutoring is a great resource for freshmen, especially, helping them get through their challenging first year of classes.
  • Writing Center – At the heart of the Undergraduate Writing Center is a free, walk-in, para-professional, peer tutoring service that serves all undergraduates with any type of writing at any stage of the writing process. All students are welcome and no appointments are necessary.

Registration

When do I register for classes?
Please refer to the Registrar’s Office for the priority registration dates for each semester. Your specific registration date and time are available through your Student Center on myWSU.

I have an advising hold on my registration. What must I do to get it removed?
Please reference the SDC’s Advising Syllabus and Advising Homework for more information about the advising process.

What classes are available?
You can view the schedule of classes online. This will give you a list of all the classes that are offered during a specific semester. If you would like to see a list of all the classes that are offered at WSU please refer to the General Catalog.

How do I add a class?
Students may add classes through the 5th day of the semester using myWSU if there are still seats open in the courses. (NOTE: If the course is being added pass/fail, additional approval is required.) After the 5th day of the semester, students may add classes only with the permission of the instructor or the department designee.

What if the class I need is full?
For some courses, the instructor has the ability to add students above the course limit. The department offering the course can submit an electronic request to the registrar’s office to add a student to a full class.

How do I drop a class?
A student may drop a course without record up to the end of the 30th day of the semester in which the course is offered or according to a prorated schedule for shorter academic terms (i.e., summer sessions). The course can be dropped through myWSU.

Will I be dropped from a class if I stop going?
Students who have not attended class and laboratory meetings during the first week of the semester MAY be dropped from the course by the department. Students should not assume that they have been dropped without verification from the department or Registrar’s Office. If you stop attending a class, it is your responsibility to drop the class through myWSU (link is external) before the drop/withdrawal deadline.

Students who believe that they have extenuating circumstances which prevent their attendance during the first week of classes should contact all their instructors and alert them to the situation. Instructors shall determine whether to accept the excuse, waive the absence, and permit make-up work.

Should circumstances arise that prevent a student from further attending a class or completing the course, it is up to the student to officially withdraw from the class. Course withdrawals can be completed using myWSU. If a student is unable to withdraw using myWSU (e.g., past the deadline or maximum withdrawal limit has been reached), it is in the student’s best interest to contact their academic advisor for assistance and to explore the options available.

What is the difference between dropping and withdrawing from a class?
A student may drop a course without record up to the end of the 30th day of the semester in which the course is offered or according to a prorated schedule for shorter academic terms (i.e., summer sessions). A student may, with the payment of a service fee, withdraw from a course between the 5th week and the end of the 9th week with a grade of W. The number of total withdrawals is limited.

When is the last day to withdraw from a class?
Rule 68: Withdrawal from a course

What if I need to drop all my classes?
Students who wish to withdraw completely from the current semester should confer with their academic advisor to explore all options available and understand the impact of cancelling enrollment for the term. If the decision is made that cancellation of enrollment is in the best interest of the student, the process can be completed online at www.cancel.wsu.edu. Students seeking to cancel their enrollment after completing one or more courses may petition for an exception to the academic calendar deadlines in the event of extraordinary circumstances.

  • Students canceling their enrollment during the first four weeks of the semester will have their permanent records marked “withdrew (MM/DD/YYYY).” (Individual course enrollments will not be recorded.)
  • Students canceling their enrollment after the fourth week through the last day of instruction (end of the 15th week) will have their permanent records marked “withdrew (MM/DD/YYYY),” and a grade of W will be recorded for each course enrollment.

What if I become ill or have to drop a class after the deadline to drop a class?
Students may petition for exceptions to the academic calendar deadlines (e.g., withdrawal after the deadline) or petition for withdrawal from an individual course after the student has used the maximum number allowed. Petitions are considered only in the case of extraordinary circumstances such as a medical emergency and require supporting documentation.

Grades and transcripts

What is the policy on repeating courses?
Students may repeat a course in which they have received a grade of C- or below, or a withdrawal (W), or when a course may be repeated for additional credit. Students may enroll more than once in the same course in any given term (fall, spring, or summer) provided that the particular periods of enrollment do not overlap and that other conditions for allowed repeats are met.

Repeating courses graded C- or below. To attempt to improve the cumulative grade point average, a student may repeat courses in which a C- or below was received. When such a course is repeated, only the last grade contributes to the grade point average and total hours earned. Students may repeat a course graded C- or below one time at WSU.  Additional repeats are allowed at WSU by special permission of the academic unit offering the course.  Repeats are allowed as transfer credit from another institution.  However, the series of repeats and grades is retained on the student’s academic record.

  • Only courses identified as acceptable equivalents according to the appropriate department, the Transfer Guide, or the Admissions Office are treated as repeats. If courses deemed equivalent in content differ in credit hours, the credit hours of the repeat course supersede the credit hours of the original course.

Repeating for additional credit. Some courses have been approved for repeat credit, i.e., the student may re-enroll in the course during a subsequent term and credit may be accumulated. Such courses are designated in the WSU catalog as “May be repeated for credit” and will list the maximum credit limitation.

  • Courses which have been approved for repeat credit, such as topics, may offer multiple sections of a course during any one term. Students may enroll in more than one section of these courses in any one term provided that the specified particular topics and titles differ.

What is an incomplete?
An incomplete is the term used to indicate that a grade has been deferred. It is for students who for reasons beyond their control are unable to complete their work on time. All outstanding incomplete work (including grades of I, X, and blank/no grade) must be completed and posted to the official transcript prior to the conferral of the degree. It is strongly recommended that students who are granted an Incomplete limit their total number of credits to 18 credits (including credits for the Incomplete course and any new courses) during the semester when they are finishing an Incomplete. Students who receive an I grade have up to the end of the ensuing year to complete the course, unless a shorter interval is specified by the instructor. If the incomplete is not made up during the specified time or the student repeats the course, the I is changed to an F. (See Rule 34.) Faculty are required to submit an Incomplete Grade Report (IGR) to the departmental office with every I given. The IGR must specify conditions and requirements for completing the incomplete, as well as any time limitations less than one year.

Which classes can I take pass/fail?
Courses designated as meeting UCORE for graduation may NOT be taken pass/ fail by any undergraduate. No more than two courses may be taken on a pass/fail basis during any given semester. A student may change a pass/fail enrollment to a regular letter-graded enrollment, or vice versa, during the first three weeks of classes. After the third week and through the last day of instruction in a semester (end of fifteenth week), only a pass/fail enrollment can be changed to a letter-graded enrollment. Courses offered only as pass/fail cannot be taken for a letter grade under any circumstances.

How do I calculate my gpa?
Input your final class grade and the class credits and this calculator will tell you what your final grade point average will be. A very handy tool for the academically-minded student.

How do I order a transcript?
You can print an unofficial copy of your academic record from your Student Service Center in myWSU. To obtain an official copy of your transcript, visit transcripts.wsu.edu.

How do I apply for graduation?
Application for a bachelor’s degree can be made through your myWSU account upon earning 90 semester credits and should be made no later than the 8th week of your final semester.  A graduation fee must be paid at the time of application.

What is academic deficiency?
An undergraduate student who at the end of any one semester has failed to maintain a 2.00 semester and/or cumulative grade point average is considered academically deficient.

How do I get reinstated?
The student must complete an application and an interview through the Academic Success and Career Center or the academic department for students certified in a major. Reinstatement will be considered based on the application and interview. A certified major who has been interviewed and reinstated may be decertified by the department.

Graduate Students

What if I am a prospectivegraduate student and have questions about the admissions process? 
Prospective graduate student information. Graduate academic coordinator.

What if I am a current graduate student and have questions about advising or degree requirements?
Current graduate student information. Graduate academic coordinator.

Transfer Students

How do I know which classes will transfer to WSU?
Tranfer Your Credit information and application deadlines. If you are currently enrolled in an approved articulation program, please contact the academic coordinator assigned to your intended major.

Parents and family

How does advising work at the SDC?
The School of Design and Construction (SDC) is committed to your student’s success at WSU and beyond. While our role is chiefly that of academic advising, we seek to encourage students in all areas of university life. Moreover, we strive to be a key source of information as students consider their future careers or post-baccalaureate studies.

We are here to provide tools, advice, encouragement, and direction for students. However, students are ultimately responsible for creating their schedules, making decisions about coursework, deciding their academic tracks and majors, pursuing steps in career-building, and being informed of key policies and requirements at WSU. Additionally, students are considered adults, in all senses, by WSU and by the staff of the SDC. As a result, students are afforded the privileges of privacy, and the expectation that they can operate autonomously. We are fully committed to the idea that our students are responsible young adults who, with guidance, can make sound academic decisions.

We fully understand the often difficult position parents are in when considering their student’s future and their student’s academic track. We encourage parents to be actively engaged in the process of decision making, research, and planning. The flow of information, and any discussions concerning the specifics of a student’s academics, should take place between the student and the parent. This reinforces our position that the student is capable of making informed decisions, and furthermore, is capable of articulating and communicating the reasons for their decisions.

What is FERPA?
The SDC is committed to honoring your student’s right to privacy as laid out in the directives of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), which transfers rights to education records to the students once they reach the age of 18 or begin their post-secondary education. To learn more about our obligations and students’ rights under FERPA, you may view the U.S. Department of Education’s summary and complete text of FERPA. Because of our commitment to privacy, parents cannot communicate with us concerning the specifics of their student’s academic progress or planning absent written consent, or the presence of the student. Parents can, of course, communicate with us concerning general questions surrounding policy and procedures, however we cannot reveal the specifics of a student’s record or case without consent from the student.

The parent-student relationship is an important one. Even though we cannot discuss private matters with parents, we still encourage parents to be actively involved by maintaining lines of communication with their student, and providing support. Being familiar with what the SDC has available to offer students, in terms of support and services, can often be very helpful.

What kind of support is available for my student?
If you feel your student is struggling, we have various means of support at the SDC. Feel free to familiarize yourself with services by exploring the links below:

  • Academic Advising – academic advice, guidance, and mentoring
  • Counseling Services – provides support and assistance to students
  • Access Center – ensure equal access throughout the university by arranging services and academic accommodations for students with documented disabilities.
  • Student Diversity – mentorship, resources, scholarship, and events
  • Student Resource Center – provides academic advising for pre-major and undecided students, provides success workshops, education abroad information, supplemental instruction (SI), tutoring program, career services

Where can I get general information?
If general, policy, account, aid or enrollment questions arise, various administrative units are available to assist:

  • Student Accounts – student billing and accounts
  • Financial Aid – financial aid, FAFSA applications, scholarships, FAQs, links
  • Registrar – tuition, final exam schedule, academic calendar, schedule of classes, commencement and steps to graduation, residency, Student Handbook, Catalog, transcripts

Do parents routinely receive copies of student grades?
No. Grades are available on-line through myWSU. Freshman and new transfer students also receive midterm grades.

Is class attendance mandatory?
The instructor is responsible for determining the attendance policy and for making decisions regarding the policy, including the consequence of missed classes, within guidelines established by the academic unit. The instructor is responsible for communicating the policy to the students, both in the classroom and on the course syllabus. Students are responsible for ensuring that they attend all class meetings and complete all in-class and out-of-class work as assigned by the instructor. Students are also responsible for communicating with the instructor should they need to be absent. It is our experience that students who attend class regularly perform better than those who do not.

How many credits are required for graduation?
A minimum of 120 semester credits is required to graduate.

Should my student have health insurance? What is available through WSU?
Student Medical Insurance Plan

Where can I find out about crime and safety on campus?
Public Safety information.

What about parking and transportation on campus?
Transportation Services information.

My insurance company needs verification that my student is enrolled in college. How do I provide this verification?
Enrollment verification for insurance companies and other purposes is available 24/7 on the Web through the National Student Clearinghouse.

How can I track my daughter’s or son’s progress?
We encourage parents to be supportive of students and to talk with their daughter or son about their progress at WSU. We also recognize that college is an important time for students to realize their independence and a sense of personal responsibility. Due to confidentiality laws we are unable to share personal academic information with parents unless the student has given you access to their information. Although students may choose not to share all aspects of their academic life with their parents, students and parents alike often find the University experience is an exciting time for mutual growth and discovery.

How do undecided students know what classes they should take?
Many first-year students are not sure about a major. The college experience is an important time for students to explore and discover new interests, strengths, and possibilities. We have a wealth of resources available to help students determine which academic path will best serve their interests and goals.

Advising tools