Planning Your Academic Career


Progress Toward Your Degree
Academic Load
First Year (Freshman)
Second Year (Sophomore)
Third Year (Junior)
Fourth Year (Senior)
Special Notes for Transfer Students

Beginning Your Studies

Making Choices as a Student
You have many academic decisions to make. You will choose a major and possibly a minor, and enroll for courses which lead toward a desired degree. Students enrolled on the Mt. Pleasant campus will be required to complete an authorization for a major or sign a statement of intent to major by the time they earn 56 hours of credit. Some students have already made these choices when they begin their university studies, but most appreciate the opportunity that CMU offers to sample many areas of study through the University Program portion of the General Education Requirements. The University Program is required of all students and is explained later in this Bulletin. While taking University Program classes, you are preparing yourself to make career and life choices from a broadened perspective, as well as fulfilling needed General Education requirements for graduation.

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Your Advisors
As a freshman or a transfer student, you will receive individualized advisement on course selection during academic orientation. The registration process is computer assisted to help you obtain preferred courses. The Academic Advising and Assistance Office (Ronan Hall 250; 989-774-7506) offers general advising in the areas of the University Program, Competencies, and Degree Requirements. When you are ready to consider a major, arrange an appointment with a faculty advisor in the department teaching courses of interest to you. You may want to visit with faculty in several departments, but once you have selected a major, you will be assigned a faculty advisor in that department.

There are additional offices to help you and offer professional assistance in career decision making.:

  • The Career Services (Ronan Hall 250, 989-774-3068)
  • The EHS Center for Student Services (EHS 421, 989-774-3309)
  • Business Student Services (Grawn 113, 989-774-3124),
  • The Undergraduate Academic Services area of the Registrar’s Office (Warriner 123, 989-774-3504) provides a number of services. Personnel evaluate academic credits earned at other schools, provide academic counseling for degree and graduation requirements, and audit students’ records for graduation.
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Your Schedule
Academic programs and course offerings of the university are in a constant process of change and revision in response to advancements in knowledge, and to changing student needs and societal demands. In accordance with this process, academic programs and courses may be changed, deleted, or rescheduled. The time you will need to complete a degree depends, of course, on your decisions concerning such variables as the academic load you will carry, whether or not you will attend summer sessions, and how well you use academic advisement services. You may complete a bachelor’s degree in less than four years or it may take you longer. Conditions producing high demand for certain courses and programs where resources are limited may require some students to take more than the estimated minimum of time to complete their programs. There may also be special requirements for certain degrees and major and minor programs. These requirements may include a particular grade point average, specific demonstrated competencies, or other prerequisite experience as specified in the Bulletin. You should be aware that students who have entered academic programs may be dropped or suspended from these programs for unsatisfactory academic performance or for other program-related problems.

You are urged to discuss your progress toward a degree periodically with your academic advisor as you continue your program of study at CMU.

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Progress Toward Your Degree
The rate at which you move toward completion of your degree and how economically you progress depend largely on the decisions you make. Making use of the academic advisement services available on CMU's main campus is strongly recommended. The advisors can help you clarify your plans, as well as help you plan the most efficient route toward your degree. Top of Page

Academic Load
The following is a typical academic load for a CMU undergraduate:

Semester/Session - Typical Academic Load:

  • Fall Semester: 14 -18 credit hours
  • Spring Semester: 14 -18 credit hours
  • 3 weeks of Summer Session: 3 credit hours
  • 6 weeks of Summer Session:  5 -7 credit hours
  • 12 weeks of Summer Session: 12 -14 credit hours

In order to graduate within four years with a degree, which requires a minimum of 124 hours of credit, a student must average at least 31 hours of credit each year. Some degrees and majors have minimums above 124.

Abilities and circumstances of students vary greatly. Each student should weigh carefully these factors when deciding the number of hours to carry during a semester or session and the length of time to be expended in fulfilling requirements for a degree. Some will carry lighter loads and take longer to fulfill the requirements. As a guideline, freshmen are advised to take no more than 15 hours of credit during the first semester on campus.

No undergraduate student will be permitted to be enrolled in more than 21 credits per semester. Exceptions may be granted with approval of the dean or his/her designee.

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First Year (Freshman): (0-25 cr. hrs.)
Meet with your General Academic Advisor during your first semester to clarify requirements on the University Program, competency, or any other questions you have encountered since academic orientation. Review your Bulletin carefully.

If you are undecided about a major, minor, and degree:
At CMU, several advising services, classes, and self assessment instruments are available to assist you in your academic and career decision making. Some suggestions include:

  • Talking to CMU advisors in academic departments, Academic Advising and Assistance, or Career Services regarding academic programs that interest you.
  • Considering taking CED 101 (1 credit) Career and Self Exploration.
  • Participating in various self assessment exercises designed to match your interests and abilities with academic and career opportunities. CMU offers the following personalized and computerized self assessment exercises: Focus Program and Strong Interest Inventory (see Career Services website.

If you are interested in Business:
Contact the Office of Business Studies Services, Grawn 105, 989-774-2124, for information regarding the College of Business Administration or to schedule a meeting with a business advisor.

If you are interested in a preparatory program (pre-law, pre-med):
Talk with the appropriate pre-professional advisor. See Class Schedule for advisors.

If you are interested in teaching:
Visit the EHS Center for Student Services, EHS 421, (989-774-3309) to learn more about teacher certification programs, and schedule a meeting with a teacher education academic advisor.

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Second Year (Sophomore): (26-55 cr. hrs.)
Continue your search for a major and/or minor.

If you have decided on your major and/or minor, consult with the appropriate departmental advisor(s) to authorize the major/minor and define requirements for graduation.

Continue coursework on the University Program, competencies, and major/minor. Competency requirements must be completed by 56 credit hours. Review your progress on completion of the University Program and competency requirements with your general academic advisor. Search for a study abroad or an internship opportunity by contacting CMU's Office of International Affairs (Ronan Hall 330, 989-774-4308) or an internship coordinator in the Career Services office (Ronan Hall 250, 989-774-3068). Your academic department of choice may also have advice for you.


  • Follow the procedures for admission to the Teacher Education Program.
  • Schedule an appointment with your academic advisor.
  • Visit the Center for Student Services website for admission information.


  • Complete the requirements for admission to the College of Business Administration outlined in this bulletin.
  • Meet with a College of Business Administration advisor in Grawn 105, 989-774-3124;
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Third Year (Junior): (56-85 cr. hrs.)

Authorize your major and/or minor in the appropriate department(s) if you have not done so.

Once you have your major and/or minor authorized, schedule a pre-graduation audit appointment in Undergraduate Academic Services, Warriner 123, 989-774-3504. An Assistant Director will review your individual course of study and determine remaining graduation requirements. Register with Career Services (Ronan Hall 250, 989-774-3068.


  • If you have completed Cycle I, and if you plan to student teach during the following fall semester, apply for student teaching in January (see Standards Leading to Teacher Certification).
  • Follow the procedures for admission to the Teacher Education Program.
  • Schedule an appointment with your academic advisor.
  • Visit the Center for Student Services website at for admission information.

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Fourth Year (Senior): (86-124 cr. hrs.)
Once you have earned 86 credit hours, apply for graduation at the Undergraduate Academic Services Office, Warriner 123, 989-774-3504 (see Requirements for Graduation). Questions about graduation requirements should be referred to this office.

Complete graduation requirements as indicated on your Graduation Audit. Develop skills for your job search at Career Services (Ronan Hall 250, 989-774-3068). Skill development workshops and information are available regarding job search techniques, interviewing skills, and portfolio development.

If you are interested in attending graduate school, you should talk to faculty members in the field you would like to pursue. They will have information on how to go about selecting, applying to, and preparing for graduate school.​