Advisement and Tips for MAJOR Success

College of the Arts


Students who thrive in the College of the Arts tend to utilize the services designed to help them achieve.  Below are some Tips for Major Success and Quick Link Resources for all arts students.

What to Know About your Major

The College of the Arts’  Departments and Programs web pages include an overview of your major plus program guidelines, links to curriculum, respective job titles and faculty contacts.

Why “Advising”?

While students are responsible for the proper completion of their degree, we urge you not to go it alone.  Meeting with an advisor will help you clarify your goals, choose the right courses, track your progress, and make decisions supportive of graduating on time.  Checking in each semester makes good common sense (and necessary, if you are a freshman, before you can register.)

To determine your advisor –

Before the meeting –

Like anything else, preparing for your advisement meeting will help ensure that you will get what you need.  Here’s the preliminary research you should do:

  • Step One:  Review the curriculum and choices for your program. The University Catalog contains the most-reliable information (navigate to your major.) and the Degree Requirements page shows how General Education fits in with your degree. Past catalogs are also online, displaying the curriculum in effect when you started the program. 
  • Step Two:  Review your “Analysis of Academic Progress” (also referred to as “the audit.”)  The Analysis lists:  (a) courses you’ve already taken; (b) total credits you’ve earned; and (c) required courses you have yet to take.

  • Step Three: Lastly, if you are an undergraduate, review the Four-Year Graduation Plan for your major which includes an eight-semester “example” for fulfilling the program’s requirements.  Bring this plan to your advisor to review how it may apply to you.  Ask when the remaining courses you need to take are generally offered (fall, spring, summer?) so that you can plan ahead. 

Read this article aboutHow to Graduate in Four Years.


Life as an Artist

Planning for--and living--your life as an artist has no doubt been ongoing for quite some time. The College of the Arts Career Services and University Career Services are here to help you shape its future.  Together these offices provide one-on-one advising, career-planning workshops, internship help, resume guidance and online tools to help you with professional exploration.  See what you can be doing each year as you progress towards graduation.

Quick Links for Academic Support

There is a wealth of links on the University website intended to help you succeed as a student.  Below are some academic-support links which may be particularly useful.

Academic-Support Service

What You Will Find

University main page for
Student Services

Clearinghouse for many University services –
an essential resource for students.

Academic Advising

Services to support student achievement, including:


Academic Calendar

Key dates including semester sessions, holidays and exam periods.

Academic Success and Retention Programs (ASRP)


Description of retention initiatives and a
“Road to Graduation” blog.



A communications tool containing content relevant to your coursework.

Center for Advising and Student Transitions (CAST)


Info about services for freshmen, sophomores and military students, including learning communities, peer mentoring and honor societies.

Dean of Students Office

Info about services that promote the psychological, physical, intellectual, occupational, spiritual and ethical wellness of students. Includes:

Disability Resource Center

Info on services for students with physical, sensory, learning, psychological, neurological, and chronic medical disabilities, including Documentation Guidelines for accessing classroom accommodations.

Educational Opportunity Fund Program (EOF)

Info on services for state residents from under-represented populations who meet income criteria and exhibit potential for high achievement.

Four-Year Graduation Plans

Two-Year Plans

Course-sequence examples that would enable a student to graduate from his/her major in four years.  Two-year plans (for transfer students) are also available for some programs.

General Education and Degree Requirements

Overall degree requirements  for the BA, BFA and B Mus. ,including:

Center for Adult Learning

Info on orientation, advisement and programming for non-traditional adult students.

Registrar’s Office

Tel: 973-655-4376


Info on course scheduling and registration; academic records maintenance; grades processing; official transcripts; final audit for graduation and certification; curriculum administration; and maintenance of the University's degree auditing system.   Includes:

Student Accounts

Tel: 973-544-4177

Administrative center for processing student payments, credits, refunds and charges (which appear on the Student Account Summary via WESS).

Student Handbook

Definition of student rights, responsibilities, standards, codes of conduct, policies, complaint procedures. (Essential reading.)

Tutorial Services

Tel:  973-655-5425

Resource including the  walk-in-tutoring schedule for various subject areas.

Part of the Center for Academic Development and Assessment (CADA)

University Catalog    l   Past Catalogs


Listing of curriculum and other requirements for all academic majors, minors and concentrations.

(Curriculum in effect at the time you entered the program may be found within the Past Catalogs link.)

Undergraduate Admissions


Tel: 973-655-4444

Information for all MSU undergraduate applicants including guidelines for university-accepted transfer credits, credits earned at other institutions, and credits earned through examination.

University Webmail

Interface for accessing your University email

WESS Login

Portal to register for classes; access your schedule, get grades, and review your financial account.