Carnegie Mellon University

Frequently Asked Questions

Covering topics from registering for classes to opportunities available for humanities students, browse the Academic Advisory Center's frequently asked questions to better inform and prepare yourself for a career as a Dietrich College undergraduate student. 

Jump to: Academics | Around Campus | For Families | Preparing For Dietrich College 


Academics | Around Campus | For Families | Preparing For Dietrich College 

First year students can declare their major at any time during the second semester of their first year. Students must declare before March of their sophomore year.

A rising trend in companies is the desire to hire students with strong communication and critical thinking skills, which are a focal point of our humanities majors: English, History, Modern Languages, and Philosophy. Learn more about the benefits you gain as a student in the Dietrich College of the Humanities and Social Sciences, as well as other advice on managing the transition into college.

Students are encouraged to meet with advisors outside of the Academic Advisory Center (AAC) to gather more information about specific majors and minors. The AAC advisor will help students transition from high school into college and advise them on introductory courses to take based on their interests. The AAC will work with students until they officially declare a major and then become General Education advisors for the student. When a student declares a major in a department, they will get assigned a primary departmental advisor who will advise them on courses they should take for the major.

A typical schedule for first year students is 5 academic courses that range between 9-12 units per course. Each semester a student typically takes between 45-50 units to stay on track for the 360 units they will need to graduate.

You should find and register for a back-up course that is open. You can remain waitlisted for your first-choice because there may be a chance you will get into the course. If this is the case, someone from the department to which the course is out of will email you. If this happens, you can always drop your back-up course.

Courses are reserved for students who are declared within the major so you will likely get moved off the waitlist and into the course if you are declared. If you are a freshmen and are not yet eligible to declare, there is no guarantee you will get into this course. This does not mean you are behind in the major. Other students who are further along have more of a priority to get into the course, but in the mean time, search for another course.

The official academic calendar is located on the HUB’s main page.

Student are allowed to have more than one major and minor. Students can find the Dietrich College majors available on the Dietrich College website.

In the Scheduling Classes section, students can also find two-year plans for each major with the recommended courses to stay on track with the major requirements.

It's important to discuss your major plans with your Academic Advisor to determine the amount of time to complete all major and Gen Ed requirements.

Students can take up to 5 courses outside of Carnegie Mellon University once enrolled. They can transfer courses in as General Education requirements, major/minor requirements or elective units towards graduation. If a student wants to bring in major/minor requirements, they must check with the departmental advisor to get approval. For General Education requirements or elective units towards graduation, they must get approval from their Academic Advisory Center advisor.

Learn more by visiting the Transfer Credit Guidelines.

Students can take time off from an academic term by filling out a Leave of Absence form. This form must be completed in its entirety and have both the Academic Advisor and Associate Dean's signature. This form is filled out if the student is planning on returning to Carnegie Mellon University at a later date.

Students also have the option of withdrawing from the university. This is done when a student indicates they have no intent of returning to CMU to resume their studies. The withdrawal form requires a signature from the student's Academic Advisor and the Associate Dean. 

Visit our Leave of Absence section to learn more.

Around Campus

Academics | Around Campus | For Families | Preparing For Dietrich College 

Students can get involved in a variety of activities on campus. Every semester there is an Activities Fair where student organizations showcase what they have done, recruit new members and publicize upcoming events. Students can also learn more by visiting the Office of Student Leadership, Involvement, and Civic Engagement (SLICE).

Students can find support for a learning disability at the Disability Resources Office. Students will meet with the Manager of Disability Resources, to help determine if any accommodations are necessary. Confidentiality is highly valued so it is the student's responsibility to self-disclose their accommodations to faculty and staff.

Students can apply for different scholarships and fellowships through the Fellowships and Scholarships Office. There, students will find both national and international scholarships which they can apply for.

Students can go to the Career & Professional Development Center (CPDC) on campus to learn more about internships. They can also find internships and jobs both locally and nationally on Handshake after setting up an account. Students can learn more about internship opportunities by talking with departmental advisors in their specific area of interest as well as career counselors in the CPDC dedicated to Dietrich College students.

Students can visit the Office of International Education to get more information on where they can study abroad and learn more about how to transfer courses back to CMU for credit.

For Families

Academics | Around Campus | For Families | Preparing For Dietrich College 

Parents do not have access to student’s grades. We encourage students to talk with parents or guardians about their academics but it is up to the student to determine how much information they would like to disclose. If parents or guardians contact an advisor about a student, we must first obtain permission from the student to share any information.

Parents can partner with advisors by encouraging the student to come in and meet with their advisor. Since you know your child best, please provide us with any important information that you feel we need to know to help make your child’s education as successful as possible.

Please contact the AAC by calling the main line at 412-268-2924 or by searching for a specific advisor. If you are unsure who the advisor is, please call and we will be happy to assist you.

The university adheres to a federal law called the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (also called FERPA or the Buckley Amendment) that sets privacy standards for student educational records and requires institutions to publish a compliance statement, including a statement of related institutional policies. Carnegie Mellon has created a brochure for parents which provides detailed information about FERPA.

  1. For the families of First Year Students, sign-up for the quarterly newsletter, featuring updates and relevant information.
  2. Follow Dietrich College on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.
  3. Contact your student’s academic advisor.

Preparing For Dietrich College

Academics | Around Campus | For Families | Preparing For Dietrich College 

Yes. The AAC has established guidelines and details on how to transfer in previous credit completed. Once admitted, work with your assigned AAC Advisor to begin the process of having your credit reviewed.

Although a few introductory courses are required regardless of a student's prior experience, certain academic areas offer placement exams to allow assessment of appropriate course levels for students to begin with.

Note: Some placement exams have limitations based on who is eligible to take them.

In addition to the professional academic advisors in the AAC, there is a dedicated team of Peer Advisors who will be available during the summer and new students’ first year on campus. This team of peer advisors is available to discuss and give advice on a wide range of topics, such as questions about life at CMU and in Dietrich College. New students will begin to hear from peer advisors in early summer prior to the start of the academic year.