Frequently Asked Questions

We would like to thank the Academic Advising Office for their assistance with this web page. The Academic Advising Office is located in Moorhead Hall 132. If you have any additional questions, please feel free to contact us.

General Education
  How do I know which courses fulfill the General Education Requirements?
  Can I use a course from my major or minor in the GER?
  Which courses fulfill the category "J" GER electives requirement?
  May I take a GER course on a Pass/Fail basis?
  Can I get Freshman Composition, Introduction to Literature, and/or Foundations of Speech waved?
  What is the foreign language requirement?
  As a result of my Foreign Language Placement exam, I was placed beyond Level 1 but found it too difficult. May I begin with Level 1?
  I was placed beyond Level IV of a language. What is my requirement?
  If I am fluent in a language other than English, do I still have to fulfill the foreign language requirement?
  Is there more than one kind of GER Social Science courses?
Basic Skills
  What is the Basic Skills requirement?
  Do Basic Skills courses count toward graduation?
  When must I complete my Basic Skills courses?
  How do I know which Basic Skills courses I'm required to take?
Transfer Credits
  How can I get permission to take a course at another university?
  If I change majors, must I have my  transfer credits re-evaluated?
  How many credits must I take at Montclair State if I'm a transfer student?
Grades and Credits
  How many credits can I take in one semester?
  How do I get permission for a course overload?
  What happens if my GPA falls below 2.00?
  What happens if I get an "F" in a course?
  What happens if I get a "D" in a course?
  How do I arrange to get an incomplete grade in a course?
  How can I earn credit through CLEP?
Other Academic Requirements and Regulations
  Are there any special requirements I need in order to declare certain majors and concentrations?
  How do I declare or change my major or minor?
  What is the Multicultural Awareness Requirement and can I include it in my major or GER?
  What does filing for graduation mean?
  What is the residence requirement?
  If I want to stop attending a class, must I withdraw officially?
  How do I know who my advisor is?
  What do I do if I want to be certified to teach?
  What is Independent Study?
  Is there something that I can do to become more informed about all these rules and regulations?

General Education

Q. How do I know which courses fulfill the General Education Requirements (GER)?
A. The Montclair State University catalog lists all courses approved for the GER by category. The Schedule or Courses booklets GER courses offered during a particular semester. Please note that certain majors have specific courses required in the GER. Consult your faculty advisor for further information.

Q. Can I use a course from my major or minor in the GER?
A. Yes, except that courses from your major department may NOT be used in Category "J" GER electives.

Q. Which courses fulfill the category "J" GER electives requirement?
A. Three categories of courses may be used to fulfill that requirement: (i) Any approved GER course except physical education. (ii) Any 100 or 200 level courses from the School of the Arts, the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, or the College of Science and Mathematics. (iii) Courses from Creative Expression or Personal/Professional Issues. Please note that some majors are required to take specific (collateral) courses that are used in the "J" category.

Q. May I take a GER course on a Pass/Fail basis?
A. No. Only free electives may be taken Pass/Fail. Applications to take courses Pass/Fail are available in the Registrar's Office and must be submitted by the deadline in the Schedule of Courses book.

Q. Can I get Freshman Composition, Introduction to Literature, and/or Foundations of Speech waived?
A. There are a variety of ways to test out of Freshman Composition and Introduction to Literature. Contact the coordinator of Freshman English for a detailed statement of exemption criteria. Contact the Speech Communication Department for information regarding the Speech Challenge Program.

Q. What is the foreign language requirement?
A. Students must take two semesters of the SAME language in sequential order. All students continuing a language studied in high school must take the Foreign Language Placement Exam in order to determine at which level to begin.

Q. As a result of my Foreign Language Placement Exam, I was placed beyond Level 1 but found it too difficult. May I begin with Level 1?
A. Not without permission from the department chair.

Q.  I was placed beyond Level IV of a language. What is my requirement?
A. You must take either an advanced course in that language or "Structure of American English" offered by the Linguistics Department.

Q. If I am fluent in a language other than English, do I still have to fulfill the foreign language GER?
A. Yes, however, there are many ways for you to earn foreign language GER credits. Please contact Academic Advising to find out about New York University's foreign language proficiency testing and CLEP subject matter exams.

Q.  Are there two kinds of GER Social Science courses?
A. Yes. In addition to American/European History (3 cr.) and Non-Western Cultural Perspectives (3 cr.), all BA/BS candidates must take a "Survey" (3 cr.) and a "Topic" (3 cr.) course.

Basic Skills

Q.  What is the Basic Skills requirement?
A. All freshmen are required to take the Basic Skills Placement Test prior to enrolling in courses at Montclair State University. The scores from this test determine if you have the required skills to do well in university level courses. Testing covers reading, writing, computation, and algebra.

Q.  Do Basic Skills courses count toward graduation?
A. Only ENGL 100 (Basic Composition) carries graduation credit. Other Basic Skills courses DO NOT COUNT toward the minimum 128 credit graduation requirement. Basic Skills courses appear on your transcript in the column for credits earned, and they are also used to determine enrollment status and financial aid eligibility.

Q.  When must I complete my Basic Skills courses?
A. Full-time students must enroll in required Basic Skills courses in their first semester and finish them during their first year. Part-time students must enroll in Basic Skills courses in their first semester and continue each semester until these courses are completed.

Q.  How do I know which basic Skills courses I'm required to take?
A. It depends on your test scores. Students who score below the established "cut off" score are required to take courses in reading, writing, computation, and elementary algebra. You will be advised of your scores and requirements by the Academic Needs Assessment Office a short time after you take the test.

Transfer Credits

Q.  How can I get permission to take a course at another university?
A. Obtain and complete the form "Request for Work at Another Institution" available in the registrar's office. Follow the instructions on the form regarding required approvals. Only credits and not grades transfer from other institutions. Students must earn a grade of "C-" or better in order to receive credit at Montclair State University.

Q.  If I change majors, must I have my transfer credits re-evaluated?
A. Yes. Contact Academic Advising to set up an appointment for a transfer credit re-evaluation.

Q.  How many credits must I take at Montclair State University if I'm a transfer student?
A. A minimum of 32 credits must be earned at Montclair State, of which 12 credits must be 300 (junior) or 400 (senior) level major courses if you have advanced standing credit in your major. Some departments require more than 12 credits of upper level major courses. Check with your faculty advisor.

Grades and Credits

Q.  How many credits can I take in one semester?
A. Full-time students can register for a maximum of 19 credits without special permission. The maximum for part-time students is 9. In summer sessions students can take one course in each of the pre and post sessions but no more than 9 credits can be taken during the regular summer sessions.

Q.  How do I get permission for a course overload?
A. If you are a full-time student with sophomore, junior, or senior standing and either a minimum 3.00 cumulative GPA or a 3.00 GPA for the previous semester you may apply for a course overload, upon the approval of the dean of the college/school that offers your major. The "Course Overload Application" is available in the Registrar's Office. Follow instructions on the form to determine registration procedures for the overload and any additional required signatures.

Q.  What happens if my GPA falls below 2.00?
A. All students with a cumulative or a semester GPA below 2.00 are automatically placed on academic probation. Students must stay above the retention level to avoid academic furlough, suspension, or dismissal. Students who have earned between 0-57 credits may not fall below 1.60; between 58-89, 1.80; and 90 or above 2.00. In addition, you must have a minimum 2.00 GPA and a 2.00 in your major to graduate.

Q.  What happens if I get an "F" in a course?
A. You must repeat the specific course if it is required for graduation. You may also choose to repeat any course in which you receive an "F". Please note that a course in which you received an "F" may only be repeated twice. Exceptions to this rule must by approved by the dean of the school/college of your major. Undeclared students must see the dean of the school/college offering the course.

Q.  What happens if I get a "D" in a course?
A. You may choose to repeat any course in which you receive a grade of "D+", "D", or "D-". Repeat course cards must be filed for those courses in which "D" grades were received prior to the Spring 1989 semester. Repeat course cards are available in the Registrar's Office.

Q. How do I arrange to get an incomplete grade in a course?
A. You are required to complete a written contract with the instructor on a form available in the Registrar's Office. It is the student's responsibility to ensure that the faculty member submits the completed contract to the Registrar's Office.

Q.  How can I earn credit through CLEP?
A. You may take CLEP General Examinations no later than the end of your first semester in attendance at Montclair State. You may take the CLEP subject matter exams at any time except within your last 24 credits. If you are seeking credit for a major or collateral course you must obtain prior written approval from your department chair.

 Other Academic Requirements and Regulations

Q.  Are there any special requirements I need in order to declare certain majors and concentrations?
A. Some academic programs such as Broadcasting, Business Administration, Business Education, Communication Studies, Computer Science, Dance, Dietetics, Family and Child Studies/Early Childhood Education, Fine Arts, Music, and Theater have specific requirements for admission. Please refer to Academic Advising's brochure "Entrance Criteria for Restricted Majors and Concentrations" for further information.

Q.  How do I declare or change my major or minor?
A. For entry into programs that do not have specific admission criteria or for programs that do not require departmental approval, you may come to Academic Advising to fill out an "Undergraduate Change of Major/Minor Form" (refer to Academic Advising's brochure "Entrance Criteria for Restricted Majors and Concentrations"). Please note that special permission from the provost is required for adding a major or minor once you have filed for final audit.

Q.  What is the Multicultural Awareness Requirement and can I include it in my major or GER?
A. The purpose of the Multicultural Awareness Requirements is to ensure that all graduates are acquainted with the life, history, and contributions of one of the following: Africans, African-Americans, Asian/Pacific Islanders, Latinos, Women, or Native Americans. Courses that fulfill the Multicultural Awareness Requirement may be used in any part of your undergraduate program, where applicable.

Q.  What does filing for graduation mean?
A. In order to graduate you must file an "Application for Final Audit" available in the registrar's Office. This application must be filed according to the following deadlines: October 1 for the following May graduation, march 1 for the following August graduation, and June 1 for the following January graduation.

Q. What is the residence requirement?
A. Students must complete a minimum of 32 credits at Montclair State in order to earn an Montclair State University degree. At least 12 credits of 300 (junior) or 400 (senior) level major courses must be taken at Montclair State University if your are a transfer student with advanced standing credits in your major (some departments may require more). The last 24 credits must be taken in residence at Montclair State University and cannot be acquired through transfer except in rare circumstances and with the written permission of the Director of Academic Support.

Q. If I want to stop attending a class, must I withdraw officially?
A. Absolutely. You may withdraw up to the midpoint of the semester by completing a course withdrawal for in the Registrar's Office, by submitting written notification to that office, or by faxing your request to withdraw. If you fail to withdraw officially, you will receive an "F" grade. Please check the Schedule of Courses book for course withdrawal deadlines.

Q. How do I know who my advisor is?
A. Matriculated students with majors are assigned a faculty advisor in their major department. Contact the faculty advising coordinator in your department to find out to whom you have been assigned to. Coordinators are listed in the Schedule of Courses book each semester. Undeclared matriculated students are advised by Academic Advising.

Q.  What do I do if I want to be certified to teach?
A. If you select a major for which teacher certification is available you must apply for admission to the teacher certification program upon completion of the appropriate preparatory sequence of courses. Contact the center for Pedagogy or the teacher education advisor in your major department.

Q.  What is Independent Study?
A. Independent Study is a formal arrangement between a student and a faculty member to study a topic that does not require formal classroom attendance. A course taken on an Independent Study basis must be approved and completed under faculty supervision. Obtain the "Independent Study Application Form" from the Registrar's Office and obtain the necessary approvals.

Q.  Is there something that I can do to become more informed about all these rules and regulations?
A. Yes, and we're glad you asked. The Montclair State catalog and each semester's Schedule of Courses book, as well as the student handbook, outline many applicable University policies and procedures. An informed student takes the time to read and become familiar with all academic rules and regulations.