First-Year Student FAQs
Who will be my academic advisor?
You will have the opportunity to meet your dean, department chair, and a
faculty advisor at Orientation. They
will assist you to understand university and academic program policies and
procedures, important information related to your major or area of interest,
and to register for your fall courses.
You may be assigned a new advisor once the semester begins. When you declare a major, you are assigned a
faculty advisor within the academic department. Until you declare a major, you are assigned a
faculty advisor through the Office of Undeclared Students. If you change
majors, you will be assigned a new advisor. If you do not know who your advisor
is, or if you want to change advisors, see the chair of your major academic
department. If you have not declared a major, go to the Office of Undeclared
Students in Horton Hall 112.
What can I study at SHIP?
SHIP provides undergraduate studies leading to
- Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)
- Bachelor of Science (B.S.)
- Bachelor of Science in Business Administration
- Bachelor of Science in Education (B.S.Ed.)
- Bachelor of Social Work (B.S.W.)
- 75 undergraduate programs
- Pre-professional, allied science, and accelerated
- Honors program
Many of our programs are nationally accredited and
recognized as premier in their fields.
At SHIP you will have opportunities to
- Explore your areas of interest
- Acquire the knowledge and develop the skills to reach
your personal, academic, and career goals and to make significant contributions
to your world
- Engage in exciting research activities with faculty
At SHIP, learning is not confined to a
classroom, lab, or library.
- Service learning projects
- Internships and hands-on work experience
- Study abroad and travel abroad programs
More information on SHIP’s exciting academic
programs is available at: http://www.ship.edu/Academics/Programs/Undergraduate_Programs/[Top]
How many credits must I earn to graduate from SHIP?
Regardless of your major, you must earn a minimum of 120
credits to graduate. Some majors may
require more than 120 credits, and students who take developmental-level
courses will complete more than 120 credits since developmental-course credits
do not count toward graduation credits.
Each course is assigned a “credit” value that typically
identifies how many hours each week the class meets. A 3-credit course meets 3 hours a week. Some courses may be 4 credits and would meet
4 hours each week. So, to graduate from
SHIP, you will take around 40 courses.
The 120 credits will consist of:
- General Education Courses – 48 credits
Major Courses – varies according to major
Minor or free
elective courses - varies[Top]
How many courses should I take in my first semester?
The standard course load is 15 credits (five courses) per
semester. However, it is important to
remember that graduation is the goal and not a race. The key is for you to
determine the best course load for you. There
are no prizes for finishing early or penalties for taking longer. Reduced loads may be desirable if you
participate in sports, are on academic probation, have learning difficulties, work,
or have other significant responsibilities.
- To maintain full time status, you must enroll in a minimum
of 12 credit hours each fall and spring semester. This is important to maintain financial aid,
NCAA eligibility, and if you are on your parents’ insurance policies.
- If you have earned developmental placement in reading,
you will be limited to take 4 courses (including developmental reading) in your
- To register for more than 5 courses in your first
semester, you would need to request permission through your dean’s office. This is generally not a good idea for first
What courses should I register for in my first semester?
Your first fall schedule will
consist primarily of general education courses necessary for graduation. Some majors may require specific courses in
the general education categories or require courses to be taken in a certain sequence,
so it is critical that you register for the appropriate courses. You may also
schedule required developmental-level courses or introductory courses for your
major or area of interest. At
Orientation, you will be assisted by your department chair and academic advisor
to identify your options for course selection.
In addition, each academic department has created sampleschedules
for each major. You can review these in
the Colleges & Majors section of the GPS.[Top]
How should I arrange my class schedule?
One of the big differences
between high school and college is the way classes are scheduled. Instead of spending 6 hours each day in class
with back-to-back classes, in college you may only be in class 3 to 4 hours a
day with your class periods spaced throughout the day. The amount of time you spend in class will be
determined by the credit hours for the course and how many days a week it
meets. When you look at the schedule of courses, you will note:
M = Monday; T = Tuesday; W =
Wednesday; R = Thursday; F = Friday
(MWF) classes are usually 50 minutes long with 10 minute breaks between them
- Tuesday /
Thursday classes (TR) are usually 75 minutes long with 15 minute breaks between
- MW classes
starting at 2 pm are 75 minutes long
- Evening classes may
meet one evening a week for 2 ½ hours
It is generally best to balance
your semester schedules with MWF and TR classes, not schedule your most
difficult courses back-to-back, and not schedule more than one evening
course. You should schedule your courses
when you are at your mental and physical peaks.
If you are not a morning person, try to avoid 8 a.m. classes when
How will I schedule my first semester courses?
You will register for your courses at Orientation. Your
department chair and academic advisor will assist you to identify appropriate
courses. Then you will be assisted in a
computer lab to build your schedule. You
will do this online through Banner Student Self-Service. You will only have access to the course
registration during Orientation. [Top]
What if I need to change my schedule of classes after Orientation?
After Orientation, you will not have access to the course
registration system. Any request to
change your schedule would need to be directed to your dean’s office. [Top]
Why do I have to take General Education courses?
To graduate with a bachelor’s degree from SHIP, you must earn a
minimum of 120 appropriate credit hours. 48 of those credits,
regardless of your major, will come from the General Education Program. If you are a new, first-semester student,
your first semester schedule of courses will consist primarily of appropriate “Gen
Ed” courses. To satisfy your Gen Ed requirements, you will have the option
of choosing from a variety of courses from various disciplines. These courses are a vital part of a broad,
well-rounded education. They are
- broaden your knowledge of the world and your place within
- help you develop skills essential to succeed in an
increasingly diverse world—ability to think logically, read critically, write
clearly, and verbalize ideas in a succinct and articulate manner.
- provide you the opportunity to explore and discover new
areas of interest.
- assist you to select or confirm your choice of a major
and potential career options.
You can review the General Education Program at http://www.ship.edu/cas/General_Education_Requirements/[Top]
What if I want to declare or change my major before the
It is important that you attend the Orientation date
designated for your declared major or for undeclared students if you are
- If you desire to change your major before Orientation,
you should contact the Office of Admissions prior to June 1. The Office of Admissions will verify if you
meet the requirements to declare the new major and will assist with
rescheduling your Orientation date.
- If you decide to change your major while attending your
Orientation, you will be directed to a representative from the Office of Admissions
- If you decide to change your major after Orientation,
contact the Office of Admissions prior to the beginning of fall classes.
If you desire to
declare or change your major after the beginning of fall classes, contact your
assigned academic advisor.
If I am undeclared, when will I be required to declare a
Undeclared students are
encouraged to declare a major as soon as they are confident of their
choice. If you do not declare earlier,
you must declare a major early in your third semester. It is OK to be undeclared. Being undecided
places you in the position to explore and investigate your areas of interest
and educational and career goals. But, keep in mind that postponing the
decision to declare a major may cost you additional money and delay your
graduation date. So, your academic advisor will assist you to declare your
major as soon as you are ready.[Top]
What are minors and do I have to declare one?
University offers approximately 30 different minors. An
academic minor is a structured group of courses that can enhance your
educational experience by complimenting your declared major, broadening your
knowledge and skills, or allowing you to pursue study in an area of
interest. A minor usually consists of 18
to 21 credits from one or more disciplines outside your declared major. Some majors may require you to declare a minor
or concentration and other majors may strongly recommend that you declare a
major. Even if you are not required to
declare a minor, you may choose to invest “free elective” credits into a minor.[Top]
What are free electives?
free does not mean that you do not have to pay for them. Free electives are any course(s) that do not
satisfy general education, major or minor requirements. Most majors allow a designated number of free
elective credits for degree completion.
Free electives give you the opportunities to take additional courses in
your major or minor, to take courses to gain desired knowledge or skills, to
explore a potential major, or to take courses just for the fun of it. It is a wise strategy to reserve most of your
available free elective credits until later in your degree progress.[Top]
Do I have to take a foreign language course?
The best answer is—it depends.
Students enrolling in Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)
degree programs must satisfy the modern language requirement. This would
include the following majors:
Art & Design International
Communication Journalism Interdisciplinary Arts
English Modern Language
History Political Science
Human Communication Psychology
The Modern Language Requirement
can be fulfilled by:
- Completing 3 years of the same
language in high school.
- An AP score of at least 2.
- Completion of a 103-level
- The number of foreign language courses you may need to
take would be determined by the number of years you have already completed in
the language. Your academic advisor will explain the placement policy for
students who completed less than 3 years of the same language in high school.
Majors in Bachelor of Science degrees (B.S., B.S.B.A.,
B.S.Ed., B.S.W.)do not require a foreign language. You may elect to take
a foreign language as either a General Education
Category B or free elective course.
- 1 modern language course may be
used to satisfy General Education Category B requirements.
- If you take more than 1 course,
the additional hours will count as Free Electives.[Top]
What should I do if I earn placement in a developmental course?
If you earn placement in developmental math,
reading or writing, we strongly encourage you to take the appropriate
developmental course through SHIP, your local college, university, or community
college this summer. The Placement
Testing Office can assist you to identify appropriate courses.
When you take the developmental course(s) will be
determined by what is most appropriate for your academic progress. You will be assisted in registering for
appropriate developmental-level course at Orientation.
Basic Writing (ENG050) should be completed during the
Developmental Reading and Study Skills (RDG050) should be
completed during the first semester.
The scheduling of a
developmental math course will be determined by your choice of a major or areas
Credits earned in developmental
courses are included in determining a student’s class standing, and the grades
are computed in the student’s quality grade point average; however, these
credits do not count toward the total number of credits required for
graduation. Placement into
developmental-level courses is determined by the university’s placement testing
must I make to remain in good academic standing?
To remain in good academic standing, you must maintain a minimum
cumulative grade point average of 2.0 ("C"). Your quality cumulative GPA is an average of
all of the course grades you earn at SHIP.
If you fall below 2.0, you will be placed on academic probation. You can still schedule classes and return the
next semester to give you a chance to raise your GPA. If you do not raise your GPA and remain on
academic probation 2 semesters in a row, you may be academically dismissed from
the university. Be aware that some majors might require a higher GPA to declare
and satisfy program requirements. So, making
good grades should be your number one priority from the very beginning.[Top]
What grades do I have to earn to make the Dean's list?
A dean's list is published
at the end of each semester to recognize students who earn at least a 3.5 or
better semester GPA. In addition,
students who consistently perform at the highest levels are given special
recognition at the end of each academic year and at graduation.[Top]
How much time should I plan to study each week?
answer to that question, you should ask a successful
student. Most successful students will
- They study
2 hours outside of class for each hour in class. So, if you are registered for 15 credits, you
may anticipate having to study around 30 hours per week.
- There are
some courses (such as Principles of Biology) for which students say they have
to study 20-25 hours each week for that one course.
Being a successful student demands a full-time
class attendance mandatory?
will hear various truths and myths in answer to this question, depending upon
whom you ask. Some professors will
require attendance and others may not.
However, it is important to understand that there is no substitute for
attending class. Various professors may
factor class attendance in the final grade, or they may have a policy that
after so many absences a student automatically fails the course. Professors will
present material in class that won’t be found in textbooks, and it’s up to you
to obtain that information. A high correlation exists between
class attendance and academic success. Put
simply, if you want to pass, go to class every period. If you must miss a class period, be sure to
contact your professor.[Top]
First Day Attendance Policy:
There is a university policy that if a student misses the first day of class
(in any semester) the professor may elect to drop the student from the
When should I purchase
books for my fall courses?
Many professors will
expect you to have your textbook on the first day of class. Please keep in mind, the course schedule you
create at Orientation is tentative. We recommend that you buy your books for the
first day of class AND that you purchase them in the SHIP bookstore. The bookstore will ensure that you have the
proper text and edition for the course.
ALSO, keep the receipt and do not open any plastic wrapped books or make
any markings in the books until you are sure that you need them. This will you will be able to return them to
the bookstore. If you decide to purchase
textbooks online, remember that it may take several days to receive the books
AND there may be a risk in not being able to return an unneeded book.
The University Store
will be open at Orientation; however, textbooks will not be available for
purchase at this time. Dates for textbooks availability will be posted on
the University Store website http://bookstore.shipstudents.org. [Top]
Where can I go if I
need help with coursework?
- Your first step should be
to visit your professor during his/her posted office hours.
- Free tutoring is
available through the Learning Center.
- Many academic departments
also offer free tutoring.
- Students with documented
disabilities should contact the Office of Disability Services.
- Student athletes should
contact the Coordinator of Academic Support for Student Athletes.
- ASP students should
contact their ASP counselor.
- Your academic advisor can
also help you identify available resources. [Top]
key is to take advantage of academic support services before you get into
academic trouble rather than wait until after you have received poor grades.[Top]
Where can I go if I don’t know where else to go for
Academic Dean’s Office is there to assist you, so if you have questions
about your credits, your academic standing, or anything else related to your
academic experience at SHIP don’t hesitate to ask.
academic advisor will direct you to the available resources to assist
Us Anything is a central desk in the library where you
can literally ask them anything.[Top]