Students may choose their own major adviser, and may have one adviser for each declared major. During approximately the last two years of undergraduate study, when a student is acquiring depth of knowledge in a major field, studies are guided by a specialist in that field. Once a student has declared a major, he or she meets with the major adviser each semester until graduation.
The College of Arts and Science offers 48 majors, as well as individualized contract majors. A substantial percentage of the students in Arts and Science graduate with two majors. Every fall semester, the College of Arts and Science sponsors a majors fair where students can familiarize themselves with the requirements for individual majors.
Major Advising offers the opportunity for students to develop mentor-mentee relationships with faculty. Many of these relationships persist long beyond the student's graduation, and become instrumental in the student's choice of career or admission to graduate schools. Profound advising relationships are often among the most satisfying aspects of academic life for professors. Thus, students are encouraged to engage proactively with their faculty advisers in order to take advantage of the disciplinary expertise that each professor possesses, and to enourage an advising relationship that proceeds beyond the perfunctory. The advising relationship is also a dynamic partnership between students and faculty that trains students for many of the realities of graduate and professional school, as well as the workplace. Part of the experience for students involves understanding the individual responsibility of each partner in the advising relationship. While faculty advisers are responsible for advising students accurately and in a timely manner, and ensuring that their schedules are designed to include sufficient time for their advisees, students are responsible for responding promptly to communications from their advisers, adhering to institutional deadlines for registration, informing themselves about the College of Arts and Science academic regulations, and for respecting the adviser's schedule.
Faculty advisers balance their teaching and research with advising. Generally, they delineate specific hours during which they are available for advising. These hours increase during registration periods and at the beginning of each semester. Students should know how to contact their advisers by email and telephone, as well as where the adviser's office is located. This information is available on the homepage of the adviser's department or program.