Advising Goals

  • To help orient students to college life and to the expectations of MSU-Bozeman and the curricula of the Department of Psychology, and to learn about the teaching and research interests of the faculty.
  • To assist students in the selection of appropriate classes that meet their educational goals and help assure timely progress toward degree completion.
  • To advise students on career and graduates school opportunities and how to best achieve their career goals.

Advising Policy

General: University and Department policies require that all students consult an advisor prior to registration each semester. Beginning this semester (Aut. '96) many advisors are requesting that students make contact with them via e-mail.

New undergraduate students: All new students enter the program in 'Pre-advanced Standing' status. Prior to any advising, the Department Head provides general orientation to the Department and its curriculum. During the Pre-advanced Standing period, one faculty advisor and an Administrative Assistant advise all students (typically, freshmen and sophomores) on University CORE requirements, Psychology course prerequisites, and career electives. During this period students are expected to select one of three Options: Psychological Science, Applied Psychology, or Communication. Based on the student's interests and abilities, Pre-advanced Standing advisors assist in the preliminary selection of an appropriate option. Options may be changed at any time. Pre-advanced Standing advisors also assist the student in preparing a formal application for admission to Advanced Standing and in selection of an Advanced Standing advisor. When questions of a technical nature arise, having to do with career planning or course selection, students in Pre-advanced Standing may be referred to a specific faculty advisor for consultation.

Advanced Standing undergraduate students: Once a student has successfully met the requirements for admission to Advanced Standing, he or she is assigned to or selects a faculty advisor. This advisor remains responsible for this student until graduation or until the student changes advisors. The first duty of the advisor is to call a meeting with the student and one other faculty advisor. During this meeting the student's past accomplishments and future goals, including career goals, are discussed. This meeting provides student and advisor an opportunity to discuss departmental expectations for graduation, problems in the student's past record, and the student's future goals.

Transfer undergraduate students: All students meet initially with the Department Head for general orientation. The Administrative Assistant does a preliminary evaluation of CORE and Psychology transfer credits, before referral to an appropriate faculty advisor. Depending on the student's level of transfer credit, the student may immediately apply for Advanced Standing and thus to a specific faculty advisor or the student may remain in Pre-advanced Standing, in which case he or she is treated the same as a new undergraduate student.

Graduate students: The graduate program coordinator advises all incoming graduate students and provides general orientation to the graduate college and to the curriculum and expectations of the Department's MS program in Applied Psychology. A temporary faculty advisor is assigned until such time that the student selects a permanent advisor. Typically during the first or second semester in residence the student selects a permanent advisor from among the tenured or tenure-track faculty members of the Department. This person also serves as the Thesis or Internship advisor, until such time as the student completes the MS degree or selects a new advisor. The advisor and the student collaborate in the selection of a graduate committee, prior to the end of the second semester in residence, and the committee provides advising concerning course selection and submission of an approved graduate program.

Advising times: All students are expected to meet with their advisors at least once each semester, typically during the pre-registration period for the subsequent semester. Advisors are available during regular office hours and at scheduled times for advising meetings.

Recent Changes and Future Plans

To Improve Quality of Advising

The entire Psychology curriculum was revised for the 1996-98 catalog. New options were introduced at the undergraduate level and the graduate catalog was updated. Revisions of the undergraduate curriculum were accompanied by the development and implementation of a new advising form. This form has simplified advising and made it easier for students to track their progress in any of the 3 options.

Pre-advanced Standing advising was first implemented during the 1994-95 academic year. This has reduced the advisee/advisor ratio for Advanced Standing students, however, it has also increased the load on Pre-advanced Standing advisors. However, since Pre-advanced Standing advising is more routine, this has led to an overall improvement in advising quality.

End of semester survey of all students, via student mailboxes, will be implemented beginning Aut. '97.

A Psy 200 seminar on careers is being planned that would address the request by students for earlier career and graduate school advising information.

To Improve Accessibility of Advisors

We are planning to put much of our routine advising information on the Departments WWW Home Page. Since all students have ready access to the WWW via the Psychology Department's Student Computer Laboratory, this will allow easier access to information and provide a method for students to offer feedback and suggestions.

By the beginning of Spr. '97, weekly schedule cards will be placed on all faculty office doors showing the advisor's availability for scheduled meetings outside of regularly-scheduled office hours. Students are being encouraged to use e-mail to stay in close contact with their advisors.