How does advising in the psychology major work?  Here are the answers to many frequently asked questions and concerns:

  • Q:  I do not have an advisor listed on SPIRE.  Does that mean I don't have an advisor?  How do I find out who my advisor is?
    • A:  SPIRE does not have a mechanism to list advisors in large majors like psychology.  But, yes, you do have an advisor!  You have 3 advisors!  Prof. Rahhal, Prof. Cave, and Ms. Pahl are all available to consult with psych majors on a walk-in basis at Tobin 501.  Hours to see a faculty or staff advisor vary from semester to semester as teaching schedules vary, so check the schedule on the advising page for when specific advisors are on duty.
  • Q:  Do I need to make an appointment to see a faculty/staff advisor?  
    • A:  No, when advisors are on duty (see schedule on the advising page or posted at Tobin 501), you can see them on a walk-in basis.  Be aware that during busy times (add/drop or pre-registration) there may be a wait.  If your question can be answered during a less busy time, we can spend more time with you and you will be less likely to have a wait.
  • Q: What if I have a question when a faculty/staff advisor is not on duty?
    • A:  The advising center is genrally open 9-5 Mon-Thur and 9-3 Fridays.  The advising center is staffed by knowledgeable and friendly student peer advisors during those times.  They are all trained psychology majors who can answer many of your questions.  You can also email faculty/staff advisors with your questions.  Bear in mind that it is often easier and more productive to have a face-to-face conversation about complex questions than to try to get them answered by email.
  • Q:  What if I start with a student advisor and then it becomes clear that my question needs a faculty/staff advisor?
    • A: Whenever a faculty staff advisor is on duty, you are always welcome to see us for whatever question you may have.  We are happy to help!
  • Q:  What kinds of questions can the student advisors help with?
    • A: Our terrific student advisors can answer lots of questions:
      • psych major requirements
      • questions about psych classes
      • How to use SPIRE and understand your ARR
      • general questions about general education requirements and classes
      • general questions about college (CNS) requirements (e.g., foreign language requirement or course requirements for the BS in psych)
      • opportunities in the major -- being a TA or a research assistant (RA), general questions about internships or study abroad
      • Student advisors may refer you to a faculty/staff advisor or another resource office for detailed questions.
  • Q:  When do I need to see a faculty/staff advisor?
    • A:  Except for registering for your first semester at UMass, as a psychology major, you are not required to see an advisor to choose courses, but we strongly encourage you to check in with an advisor periodically to check your progress and to determine that you are taking the appropriate courses.  Otherwise, you should see a faculty/staff advisor for the following:
      • if you have questions about how courses are appearing in your ARR on SPIRE or you think you need a course moved in the psych major portion of your ARR
      • if you have received approval for an exception to a psych major course that is a pre-requisite for other courses and you need to register in those other courses
      • if you need a psych course pre-approved for transfer from another school (bring the course description for the course you hope to transfer)
      • if you need psych courses pre-approved for study abroad or domestic exchange (bring the course descriptions)
      • if you are nearing graduation and you want to check your degree progress
      • if you have an academic advisor hold on your SPIRE registration
      • if the academic dean asks you to get information from your major advisor about your degree progress (e.g., if you have been on probation, or you have been at UMass for more than 10 semesters)
      • If you need advice about an internship, concerns about life after college, or other advice
      • ANYTIME you have a question or need advice that you would like to receive from a faculty/staff advisor
    • Q:  There is an advising center in the College of Natural Sciences Dean's Office (Morrill II rm 220).  When do I need to go there?
      • A:  Most students will not need to visit often with the college academic dean, with a few exceptions:
        • Every freshman will be required to attend a group meeting with the Dean during the fall semester of the freshman year.  This meeting covers very important information about registering, requirements, etc. and is REQUIRED.  Please go to one of these meetings, or you will not be allowed to register for your spring semester classes.
        • If you are pursuing the BA in psychology and have questions about the foreign language requirement, you can find these answers at CNS advising.  In particular, if you have high school language credits that you would like to have evaluated for fulfillment of the college language requirement, this is done in the dean's office.
        • Otherwise you will need to go to the dean's office for issues with complex questions about general education requirements or college requirements, probation, academic discipline, late adds or late drops from classes, requests to repeat a class more than once, requests to take more than 19 credits per semester (this request is done online), dean's holds. 
        • Requests for credit overloads are handled through the Dean's office as are requests for late withdrawals.  Both of these are initiated online at:http://www.cns.umass.edu/students/academic-advising/forms
    • Q:  Can the advising office talk with my parents or others about my academic record?
      • A: Because of federal privacy laws, advisors can only speak to students about academic records. If you would like for your parents or other individuals you designate to have access to your academic record, then you must complete the academic information release form available at the advising office (Tobin 501).  That form must be on file at the advising office before we can speak to anyone other than the student about academic information. 
    • Q: Are there mandatory meetings for Freshmen in the fall prior to spring registration?
      •  A: Yes.  Psychology Advising holds MANDATORY advising meetings to help you with information you will need prior to registration for your spring classes.   All freshman psych majors are required to attend ONE of these meetings.  There will be a hold on your spring registration until you attend one of these meetings.