Frequently Asked Questions



General Questions
What is a major?
What is a minor?
What is a limited access major?
How do I declare or change my major?
What is mapping?

Questions About the Exploratory Option
Can I select “undeclared” as my major?
What is an Exploratory major?
What is the difference between choosing an Exploratory and a departmental major?
What if I think I know my major but am not sure?

Questions about University Policies and Requirements

Where can I find my course schedule, student profile, financial aid information and other personal information?
Where can I find a list of liberal studies courses and requirements?

What is the Gordon Rule requirement?
What is the oral competency and computer literacy requirement?
Can I take a Computer Skills Test to become exempt from the computer literacy requirement?
How do I become exempt for the oral competency requirement?
Am I required to complete foreign language classes in order to graduate?
Can I take courses at another institution?
What is the Summer Residency Requirement?
When can I register for classes?
Will I be charged a fee for late registration?
Will I lose by Bright Futures Scholarship if I take less than 12 hours of credit per semester?


General Questions


What is a major?
A major is a student's primary field of study and requires a concentration of courses within an academic area.  Students choose their major based on a variety of reasons including interest areas, past academic achievement, or the desire to prepare for a specific profession.  The number of credit hours required to complete a major varies and can range from as little as 30 up to 90.  The courses within a major begin with the fundamentals of the discipline and progress to greater depth and advanced study.  Some majors begin in the first semester while other majors do not begin until the junior year.

What is a minor?

A minor is a student's secondary field of study within another academic area.  The number of credit hours required to complete a minor is significantly less than the number required to complete a major and range from 12 to 25.  Many students select their minor based on personal interests or to gain additional skills, making them more marketable to future employers.  Some departments require a minor to graduate and others do not.

What is a limited access major?

A limited access major is a major that requires formal acceptance before students are fully admitted into the academic program.  These majors often require an additional departmental application, the completion of specific classes, or a minimum grade point average.  It is important to identify special admission requirements and application deadlines which can be found by visiting the University's departmental websites.  The following limited access majors require acceptance prior to the freshman year: Theatre B.F.A. programs , Dance , Motion Picture, Television and Recording Arts , Music, and Nursing.


How do I declare or change my major?
Most Freshman and Sophomores:
In order to begin your major change process, you must speak with an advisor from the department for the major you wish to change into to have a major change form completed. Once you have a completed major change form (signed by your academic advisor), you can then take your major change form to Advising First (UCA 3200) for processing.
Juniors and Seniors:
You must visit the academic dean’s office for the major you wish to change into to have a major change form completed. The major change form must be signed by both your academic advisor and your academic dean. You can then take your completed major change form to the Registrar’s office (UCA 3900) for processing. If you are unsure about your major selection, please visit our Advising First Center for Exploratory Students in Room 213, Eppes Building, or call to make an appointment at 645-2847. You may also call the main Advising First office at 644-3430.

What is mapping?
Academic mapping provides a clear timeline of major requirements and has been established by Florida State University to ensure graduation in four years.  Every department has an academic map listing a sample schedule and specific milestones for each academic term.  Students are expected to be familiar with their academic maps and build their schedules based on the map's contents.  Maps for every major can be located by visiting the Academic Program Guide .


Questions About the Exploratory Option

Can I select “undeclared” as my major?
Florida State University no longer offers “undeclared” as a major choice.  In its place the University now offers the Exploratory major option.   

What is an Exploratory major?
The Exploratory major is designed for students who are not yet ready to select a specific departmental major. Recognizing students who are Exploratory require additional information, assistance, and support from a staff of experienced academic advisors, The Advising First Center for Exploratory Students has been established to offer these services and regulate student’s progress until a departmental major has been selected. It is our expectation that by fully engaging in the advising process, students will be able to move from Exploratory into a departmental major by the end of Term 3.

What is the difference between choosing an Exploratory and a departmental major?
When students enter the University in an Exploratory major, the assumption is that they are uncertain of their academic major.  The Exploratory advisors work closely with these students and guide them through the major selection process.  Students in an Exploratory major will complete coursework from the Liberal Studies curriculum associated with their interest areas.  Students may also begin taking early coursework based on the academic maps from the majors under consideration.

When students enter the University in departmental majors, the assumption is that they are comfortable with their academic direction.  Coursework will reflect this decision and will be based on the academic map for the major.    

What if I think I know my major but am not sure?
Unfortunately, the answer to this is: it depends.  Students who are comfortable that the major they are considering is likely to be the major from which they will graduate, but are not 100% sure, should go ahead and declare that major.  They will then be in an excellent position to see if it is a good fit for their interests and talents.  However, students who are less certain, who are seriously considering two or more majors, or whose “favorite” major changes frequently, should select the Exploratory option.  Please visit the Exploratory Advising Center in Room 213, Eppes Building (645-2847) to speak with an advisor regarding your decision.


Questions about University Policies and Requirements

Where can I find my course schedule, student profile, graduation check, financial aid information and other personal information?
Students can access their personal information online at https://cas.fsu.edu/cas/login?service=https%3A%2F%2Fmy.fsu.edu%2Fc%2Fportal%2Flogin">

Where can I find a list of liberal studies courses and requirements ?
A list of courses that satisfy liberal studies requirements can be found by accessing http://cfprod.ais.fsu.edu/anr/CourseRequirementsView/index.cfm

Simply select the box next to the liberal studies requirement you wish to fulfill and click on submit to find a list of courses that meet the requirement. You can check course availability by clicking on the course id.

What is the Gordon Rule requirement ?
All students are required to complete the Gordon Rule requirement as part of their liberal studies education. The Gordon Rule Requirement consists of six hours (2 courses) of liberal studies mathematics and six hours (2 courses) of freshman English coursework. In addition, you must select four other courses in the liberal studies listings that are identified by a “w” after the course number. Your history and literature course will be two of these four. A minimum grade of a C- must be earned in each course in order to satisfy the requirement. 

What is the oral competency and computer literacy requirement?
Before graduating, FSU students must demonstrate competency in computer literacy and public speaking. These requirements may be met by taking coursework such as Public Speaking (SPC2600), Fundamentals of Speech (SPC 1016), Computer Literacy (CGS2060) or Microcomputer Applications for Business (CGS2100). Some majors have other required courses that fulfill these requirements. Be sure to check with an academic advisor to determine which courses are appropriate for you.

Can I take a Computer Skills Test to become exempt from the computer literacy requirement?
No, students are required to complete coursework in order to satisfy this requirement.

How do I become exempt for the oral competency requirement ?
Students who have earned a B or higher in a high school oral communication or speech class or who were part of a high school debate team are eligible for exemption. Students can also be exempt if they have taken a public speaking course at another college. Please see the Office of Undergraduate Studies in Room 3400 University Center A or call them at (850) 644-2451 if you think you have satisfied this requirement.  

Am I required to complete foreign language classes in order to graduate?
Some majors do require their students to complete a foreign language up to the intermediate level. Please check your major requirements in the academic program guide or contact your academic advisor to determine if foreign language courses are required of you.

Can I take courses at another institution?
Yes! FSU students can take courses at community colleges or other universities. Students are considered a transient student, which means they intend to take courses at another institution for a semester and return to FSU the follow semester. Information on becoming a transient student can be found at http://www.fsu.edu/undergrad/instruct.html . Courses taken at other schools must be evaluated by Florida State to determine their equivalency to FSU courses. Students can contact their academic advisor or the Office of Undergraduate Studies regarding this protocol. Please note that students who do NOT take courses at Florida State for TWO CONSECUTIVE SEMESTERS must reapply to FSU. 

What is the Summer Residency Requirement?
Students who have entered a university in the State of Florida, Division of Colleges and Universities, with fewer than sixty hours of credit in the fall of 1976 or any time thereafter are required to earn at least nine hours prior to graduation by attendance in one or more Summer terms at one of the State University System institutions. The University President may waive the application of this rule in cases of unusual hardship to the individual. Students wishing waivers submit written requests giving the details of their hardships through their academic deans to the Vice President for Faculty Development and Advancement. Prior to 2011, students who had earned nine semester hours of credit through approved acceleration methods (AP, IB, CLEP, and approved dual enrollment courses) were exempt from the summer residency requirement. Effective 2011, this exemption is no longer available.

When can I register for classes?
Students register for classes based on how many credits they have accumulated. To check your registration window please see http://registrar.fsu.edu/ . Note that registration dates are based on earned credit, NOT on hours taken currently. If you are not sure how many credit hours you have earned you can find that information online at http://www.studentsfirst.fsu.edu.

Will I be charged a fee for late registration?
If you have not registered for any credit hours during the pre-registration period, you will be charged a $100 late fee.

Will I lose by Bright Futures Scholarship if I take less than 12 hours of credit per semester?
No. Students who receive the Bright Futures' Scholarships are required to earn 24 hours per academic year, or a prorated number of hours based upon the number of hours for which Bright Futures' funds have been disbursed per term. For more information please call 1 -888-827-2004.