Checklist for Completing a Major in Political Science
Interesting and Important Information About Advising
I'm thinking of choosing political science as a major/minor? Do I need an advisor?
- YES!!! And it's of great benefit to you to have one with whom you can communicate and work well.
- All active, full-time members of the Political Science Department faculty participate in student advising.
- If you believe you will be choosing political science as a major, or even if you think you are interested but are
not yet ready to declare a firm major, you should contact a department faculty member as early as possible.
- Each political science major should have an advisor within the department so as to have available guidance in
long-term and short-term curriculum planning. Political science minors are encouraged to unofficially choose
an advisor within the department.
Why is it important to have a departmental advisor?
- They are available for all types of student-oriented questions and concerns, and can be the "point person"
who can point you toward the campus resources needed to resolve your questions and concerns.
- Advisors are prepared to assist in schedule writing and other types of academic planning, including the
fulfillment of general education and major/minor requirements, internship and other outside opportunities, and more.
- Department faculty members will have current information regarding future class scheduling as well as
changes in the curriculum that occasionally may occur.
- For instance, a course you may be planning to take next year, or the next, may not be available because
the faculty member who teaches that course will be on academic leave, or for other reasons may not be
planning to teach it in the same semester as in the past. Or, you may be thinking of taking an off-campus
semester in a year or two and need to carefully plan your remaining semesters at Muskingum to fit in other
courses you will need to graduate.
- Faculty will also provide guidance for career choices and opportunities, as well as other post-graduate
How do I go about getting an advisor in political science?
- The choice of an advisor within the department is usually left to the student.
- Frequently that choice is made during or after the student has taken a course from that professor. Additional consideration should be made, however, of the special expertise each faculty member has in certain areas of
the discipline and in careers and professions.
- The department chair must approve all advisor selections and may choose another advisor than the one
suggested by the student, most often based on interests, schedules, and activities of the faculty members.
- The necessary paperwork must be properly completed (including signatures), and can be obtained from
the Office of the Registrar in Montgomery Hall.
What if I've got another major with an advisor in that department?
- Double majors who choose to continue with a formal advisor in the other discipline are, nevertheless,
expected to have a political science advisor and should choose one as early as possible after the decision
to double major in political science is made.
When must I visit with my political science advisor? When should I? When may I?
- Students are required to meet with their advisors at least once each semester for pre-registration consultation.
- All students are encouraged to meet their advisors when they find a need to do so.
- Remember, the better the relationship between you and your advisor (including how well he/she knows
about you, your studies, your campus activities, etc.), the more help he/she will be when you need them.
What are my responsibilities, in terms of advising?
- Each student is responsible for keeping a record of all the courses he or she has taken, a record of the
grades achieved, and to know what university and department requirements have been fulfilled, and what
still remain to be completed.
- Keep a strong and sustained working relationship with your advisor whenever possible, and always
make an effort to keep the two-way lines of communication open.
- If you need to "catch up" with this task, each faculty member has an academic file for each student that
he or she advises. Within that file are records of all courses taken and status reports from the registrar
regarding requirements still to be fulfilled. The faculty advisor will aid the student in scheduling courses
for the coming semester and academic year, and making more long-term course scheduling.
Can my advisor get me into closed classes? Drop general education requirements? Guarantee me a 4.0?
- Advisors are not miracle workers, and cannot be expected to be capable of bending rules or breaking
regulations for the benefit of an advisee. Departmental, university-wide, and other rules and regulations
are in place for the common good of all involved, and must be followed whenever possible.
- A good example of this is when some (or, occasionally, all) of the courses one would like to take in
any particular semester may not have available space.This is particularly the case in courses required
by the general education portion of the University curriculum. Advisors cannot be expected
to get students into these classes. Instead, student and advisor together should work on a long-term
plan which both recognizes the need for required coursework and the campus-wide demand for these
- All that said, Advisors are usually a great source of information and advice on overcoming difficulties
such as these. He/she may know of recent adds/drops to a particular course, or may be able to suggest
alternative plans of action that haven't been considered.
What else should I know about working with my advisor?
- It is important to recognize that advisors advise, not decide. The basic choices of course scheduling
and other concerns must be made by the student, and the student is ultimately responsible for those
choices. Student decisions made without or in spite of faculty advice are not the responsibility of the
advisor or the department.