Advising and Registration Information
Each student registered in a B.S. in Biological Sciences degree will be assigned an advisor through the Department of Ecology. A student's advisor can assist in choosing classes for registration, discuss internship and job opportunities, and talk about potential for undergraduate research work or future work after graduation.
You may view degree requirements (requirements for all students seeking a degree) in the current issue of the MSU Catalog; The requirements for your specific major option are in the B.S. in Biological Sciences section of the catalog. You can also view the departmental curriculum worksheets on the Ecology Academic Resources page. If you have questions about your requirements, please contact your Advisor. (See more info on Advisors below.)
All first-year freshman and new transfer students are assigned to visit with Elizabeth Walsh, Natural Sciences Academic Advisor in the College of Letters and Science, before they can register for classes for the next semester. The Department of Ecology Academic Coordinator will assign faculty advisors for returning freshman, sophomore, junior, senior, and post-baccalaureate students. Current MSU students who change their major to Biological Sciences will be assigned an advisor as part of the Change of Curriculum process.
Once your advisor is assigned, their name will be in the top left corner of your DegreeWorks worksheet. To find it, go to MyInfo>Student Services>DegreeWorks. To find their contact info, search their name in the search bar at the top right-hand corner of any montana.edu page.
To request an advising meeting, most of our faculty prefer their advisees to email them to schedule. Feel free to also call or stop in their offices during their posted office hours. Students assigned to Natural Sciences Advisor, Elizabeth Walsh, may make appointments through the appointment scheduler by searching her name, or by following the link on the CLS Advising Center site.
Advising for registration of the next term officially begins around mid-semester of the previous term, and registration opens up several weeks after. (Ex: Advising for Fall 2016 Course Registration began March 21, 2016 and actual Course Registration opened March 28, 2016 for Seniors.) Registration Dates and other deadlines are available in the Academic Calendar of the Registrar’scurrent term handbook or on the Registration page. The Registration timetable shows the date by which students can register. First days to register are based on your total earned credits, which can be found at the bottom of your unofficial transcript, available to you on MyInfo in the Student Services tab. If you are a returning student who is assigned to an advisor other than Elizabeth Walsh, your first date of registration will also be listed with your PIN in your DegreeWorks Notes section.
You may also wish to schedule a meeting with your advisor if you are unsure that you’re in the correct major, if you have questions about internship possibilities or job opportunities in this major, or if you have questions or concerns about your courses. To schedule with a faculty advisor, simply email them or stop in during their open office hours. Students may schedule appointments with Natural Sciences Advisor, Elizabeth Walsh, on the CLS Advising Center site.
The Department of Ecology requires first-year freshman and new transfer students to meet with advisor Elizabeth Walsh before registration for the next semester, but does not require returning freshman and sophomore through senior students to meet with their advisor before registering. We do encourage advising conversations, as our advisors are great resources for choosing classes or asking academic and professional questions. If you wish to structure your own course work, paper curriculum worksheets are available in the Ecology Office that can be used as a checklist along with your DegreeWorks worksheet on MyInfo. Note: Many of our required 300- and 400-level courses are only offered in select semesters, and may have a required sequence based on prerequisite offerings. Please take planning your courses seriously, and meet with your advisor if you have questions.
To request an advising meeting, most of our faculty prefer their advisees to email them to schedule. Feel free to also call or stop in their offices during their posted office hours. Freshman and transfer students may schedule appointments with Natural Sciences Advisor, Elizabeth Walsh, on the CLS Advising Center site.
In order to register on or after the date registration opens for you, you will need a Registration PIN. Freshman & Transfer students will get this PIN from advisor Elizabeth Walsh during their advising meetings, and Sophomore through Senior students will find their PIN on DegreeWorks, in the Notes section at the bottom of the worksheet. Scroll to the bottom of your worksheet and you’ll see “Fall Semester 20xx - ######” – this number is your Registration PIN for the registration period; The PIN changes each semester. The date that registration opens for you will also be listed. If you cannot find your PIN or think you don’t have one, please ask your advisor.
Registration Dates and other deadlines are available in the Academic Calendar of the Registrar’s current term handbook or on the Registration page. The Registration timetable shows the date by which students can register. First days to register are based on your total earned credits, which can be found at the bottom of your unofficial transcript, available to you on MyInfo in the Student Services tab. If you are a student who has a faculty advisor listed (a name other than Elizabeth Walsh), your first date to register will also be listed with your PIN in your DegreeWorks Notes section.
CatCourse is an efficient course schedule planning tool, available in your MyInfo>Student Services>Registration>CatCourse. It allows you to choose your required courses for that semester, then shows you all available schedule options. You then pick the best option for you, and register from that schedule. If you need help, instructions on how to use CatCourse are on the Registrar’s website.
For students who are familiar with registering with CRNs, this option is still available to you. You may use the Schedule of Classes to search available times, create a schedule on your own, write down the CRNs (a 5-digit number associated with each section), then plug the CRNs into the boxes at MyInfo>Student Services>Registration>Add/Drop Classes. This method may also help you to add or drop a single course after you have registered for your courses from CatCourse.
See section below "Where do I get my Registration PIN?" for department-specific information on receiving your Registration PIN. More information on Registration is available on the Registrar's website.
In order to register on or after the date registration opens for you, you will need a Registration PIN. First-year freshman & new transfer students will get this PIN from their advisor Elizabeth Walsh during their advising meetings, and Sophomore through Senior students will find their PIN on DegreeWorks, in the Notes section at the bottom of the worksheet. Scroll to the bottom of your worksheet and you’ll see “Fall Semester 20xx - ######” – this number is your Registration PIN for the registration period, and changes each semester. The date that registration opens for you will also be listed. If you cannot find your PIN or think you don’t have one, please ask your advisor.
There are a handful of reasons that you could receive a registration error. MyInfo will tell you a brief reason for the error for each section that does not allow you to register. Common errors are:
Class Restriction - Some of our courses restrict registration to Juniors and Seniors only. If you're still at Sophomore class standing, you will get this error. Occasionally instructors may allow an override of this requirement (ex: if you're just a few credits under the next class standing). See instructors on a case-by-case basis to discuss errors.
Consent of Instructor - This restriction is placed on courses for several different reasons. You must contact the instructor directly (or you may contact the main departmental office) in order to receive instructions on how to register for the class.
Linked Class Required - Many courses include a lecture and lab, both sections of which must be registered for at the exact same time. If they are not registered together, you will get this error reminder.
Major Restriction - A course is restricted to only students in certain majors, and does not include your major.
Prerequisite error - You either have not passed the prerequisite, or you took the course at a transfer institution and must have the instructor okay use of that transfer course as a prerequisite.
Time Conflict - Two of your courses overlap in time by at least several minutes. You'll need to choose a different schedule.
If you are unsure about what an error means or why you're unable to get into a class, you may contact the Ecology Academic Coordinator or discuss the error directly with the instructor. The Schedule of Classes lists instructors for each course section. If no instructor is listed, you can contact the main department that manages the course (listed on the left side of the schedule table). If the instructor of an Ecology course is willing to give an override and let you into their class, they must provide written permission to the Ecology Academic Coordinator who will help you register in the course. Instructors for courses in other departments will communicate with you about how to register for the course. After the deadline for adding courses online, students must use an Add/Drop form (available in the Ecology Office or on the Registrar's website) instead of registering for Ecology courses with the Academic Coordinator.
Internship credits are available to Ecology students who can develop a suitable program of experience and study off campus. Students earn Internship credits through courses WILD 298 or 498 for students in the Fish & Wildlife Ecology & Management option, or BIOE 298 or 498 for students in the other three options of the Biological Sciences major. The 298 courses are available to freshman and sophomore students, and the 498 courses are available for students at junior or senior status.
The program must contribute to intellectual growth and development, have approval of Ecology faculty, include structured supervision by the employer, organization, or individual under which it is developed, and provide progress and final reports. Packets of information and forms to complete for each course are available in the Ecology Office, and are linked below.
Before the internship, students must find an Ecology instructor who will oversee their work, and get permission from their work supervisor (“collaborator”) to get credit for their work. Students must turn in several forms to the Ecology Department in order to be registered for credits by the Department. Students and Ecology instructors will work out together how many credits will be granted for the internship and will discuss specifics of reporting, evaluation, and grading. Students then interact with their instructor through bi-weekly progress reports. Once the internship is over, three evaluations must be completed: the student evaluates their own work, the on-campus instructor evaluates the student, and the collaborator evaluates the student. Once these evaluations have been turned in, the instructor submits a Pass or Fail grade for the student’s course.
Students may earn credit in Undergraduate Research toward one of four courses: BIOE 290R, BIOE 490R, WILD 290R, or WILD 490R. Requests for credit must be accompanied by a written proposal describing the exact activities to be engaged in for the credits. The proposal must be presented to an instructor for review. If approved by the instructor, a statement must be attached by the instructor indicating the process to be used for evaluation of the student's achievement and assignment of letter grade. Proposal and evaluation methods are then submitted to the Department along with Request for Offering Undergraduate Research form (available in Ecology Office and linked below). After receiving Department Head approval, the Academic Coordinator will register the student in the course.
You can find more Ecology student resources on our Academic Resources page. If you have questions on any of the above or other advising questions after viewing those resources, please contact the advisor assigned to you (see "Who is my Advisor?" section above). If you do not yet have an assigned advisor or are having trouble reaching them, you may contact the Ecology Department Academic Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org or 406-994-2911.
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