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Political Science Advising – Everything you need to know!

As we enter spring advising season, we wanted to make your lives as easy as possible with regard to advising, degree plans, and registration.  Every student will need to be advised to lift their registration hold, so that you can register for courses (you do not want to be running around right before your registration day/time, looking frantically for someone to clear your hold, worrying about whether the course that you have your heart set on will fill up!)
Formal PSC advising will open on Monday, October 4.  Any first-year PSC major should be advised by Student Services (click here to make an appointment).  Any other PSC major should be advised by the Department.  The primary advisors for the PSC major are Dr. Linken, Jack Corso, and Chris Akor.
Hours for all advisors are found on the PSC Advising page, and are listed below for convenience:
  • Dr. Linken – MWF 10-10:45, 12-12:45, 2-3:15 (in ten Hoor 342); T 9:30-11:30 (by Zoom, at this link).  All appointments can be made through Calendly, here (email aelinken@ua.edu if there are any issues)
  • Jack Corso – M 12-3; T 1-4, Th 9-12 (Click here  for appointments)
  • Chris Akor – M 10-2, T 11-1, F 10-2 (Click here for appointments)
  • Drop-in advising – you’ll see emails in the coming weeks for these sessions
Here’s what we’ll be looking for:
  • progress to graduating!  What semester are you thinking of graduating in?  How many credits per semester do you need to accomplish that plan?
  • progress to major/minor/gen ed completion
  • courses that can double count (as gen ed and major, for example; courses can not double count as a major and a minor course; writing courses can count for both major and writing course requirements)
Here’s what we’ll need:
  • access to your DegreeWorks.  We can’t advise you if we don’t know where you’re starting off.  If you are meeting in person, please know your CWID and/or have a printout of your DegreeWorks available (you can save your DegreeWorks as a pdf – image below).  If you are meeting through Zoom, you may be asked to screen share your DegreeWorks.
  • a list of courses that you want to take.  Be as specific as possible and be prepared, potentially with some alternates.  We’ll talk with you if you have questions on any course or requirement, but we want you to have some idea of what you want to take before the advising starts.
  • we’ll serve as a double-check for this, but think about if you want to add a major/minor or enroll in an Accelerated Master’s Program, or how to become more prepared for what you want to do after graduation.
  • to know if you are interested in summer/winter courses, to ensure that we clear your holds for those terms and to talk about how credits taken in those terms affect tuition, etc.
Common issues:
  • not seeing exciting, new courses – For courses that are not part of the permanent catalog, we assign them temporary numbers (PSC 321 and PSC 421) until they are a part of the permanent catalog.  Often times, these courses are ones that our professors are newly developing on cutting-edge issues/topics/problems.  The list of courses that are PSC 321 and 421 are available here.  Two quick thoughts – you can only take four (4) PSC 321 courses over your entire time at UA and 421 courses also have a writing designation to them (and can count for writing courses).  These courses can be seen by going through DegreeWorks, but you won’t see the full description of them, which can be examined through the link, above.
  • what is the field requirement?  Graphic below, for convenience.  In addition to the number of credits to complete the major, there needs to be a distribution of courses (that is, you can’t take all of your courses in comparative politics or international relations). We require that everyone take at least 1 course from at least 3 of the 5 field requirements (on the bottom part of the graphic).  This is usually accomplished without trying, with you just taking courses in the major, but it’s something that we look for.
  • what is the distribution requirement?  From the graphic, above, everyone needs to take 2 of our courses between 202-206 (202, 203, 204, 205, or 206).  You can take more, if you want (and they can apply to the PSC electives (PSC 100-499).
  • what is the upper-level course requirement?  For any major in the College of Arts and Sciences, a certain number of upper-level (300+) credits are needed (graphic, below).  These credits can come from the major, but they do not have to.  As you see below, our sample PSC major has taken upper-level credit in History, Chemistry, and Communications, and they are all counting for the requirement of having 36 upper-level credits.  Usually this is satisfied between your upper-level courses in your major and minor, but it is something to keep an eye out for.
  • needing prerequisites – this is rare for PSC, though a few courses have some prerequisites.
When do you register?:
  • The University recently published the registration dates/times for Spring 2022.
  • You will register based on how many credits you currently have (not how many you will have at the end of this semester)
We will send out updates for new group/drop-in advising sessions, but we’re trying to keep all the information you need in this email and we encourage you to be ahead of the curve and not wait for something that is being planned.  We’re looking forward to working with you to make the most of your time at the Capstone and within the Department!