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Advising Overview

The goal of advising is to help students maximize their undergraduate experience through a journey of exploration that leads to transformation and informed decision making about academic and extracurricular opportunities.  It is an ongoing process that takes a holistic approach to helping students discover their educational, career, and social goals, and then designing a meaningful plan for achieving those goals. Advising is the collaboration and responsibility of both student and advisor.  In the School of Public Policy, advising is mandatory, so students are required to schedule at least one advising appointment per semester.  As the first point of contact, students are encouraged to meet with an advisor regularly to help navigate UMD and answer any questions that may arise along the way.

Below are some of the topics you may wish to discuss throughout the semester and over the years:

  • Developing an academic plan
  • Selecting courses
  • Understanding policies and procedures
  • Enhancing the UMD experience through study abroad, internships, career exploration, etc.
  • Exploring UMD resources and extracurricular opportunities that promote social and emotional growth
  • Reviewing registration blocks

Scheduling an Advising Appointment:  You can contact the Public Policy undergraduate advising office by clicking the link to schedule an appointment, e-mailing plcyundergrad@umd.edu, or calling (301) 405-2370. Short, quick questions, concerns, and updates can also be handled during walk-in advising hours (Wednesdays and Thursdays 2-5 p.m.). 

Advising Policies

School of Public Policy students are expected to complete the General Education Fundamental English and Math requirements by 30 credits at the University. Failure to complete this requirement will result in a registration block and you will be directed to the Office of the Registrar to register in person.

Advising is mandatory and students should not wait until the last minute to schedule their appointments. The midpoint of the semester is a good time to check in with your advisor regarding course planning.  Notification of early registration will be sent out by the Office of the Registrar, but it is students’ responsibility to find their specific registration appointment time and date by logging on to Testudo.

Advising appointments are scheduled to last 20 minutes.  This is so there is enough time for discovery, designing, and implementing through intentional conversation.  Students are encouraged to drive the conversation by bringing a list of topics or issues they want to address.  

Exception to Academic Policy Requests

If you are requesting an exception to policy, please click one of the following:

  • Academic Exception - Level 1
    • Register with credit overload

    • Concurrent enrollment

    • Repeat course at another institution

    • Register for restricted course

    • Permission to drop/withdraw

  • Academic Exception - Level 2
    • Register with a time conflict

    • Drop after withdraw period

    • Drop after schedule adjustment (without a "W")

    • Drop more than one course

    • Drop required English or Math

    • Register after schedule adjustment

    • Register for course third time

    • Register for graduate-level course

Learning Outcomes

Advising sessions will serve as an environment where both student and advisor can learn through relationship building.  Through regular sessions, advisors want students to:

  • Choose courses in the General Education Curriculum that align with academic goals and interests
  • Know where and how to access appropriate support services to accommodate their unique needs
  • Become actively engaged in the UMD and communities
  • Develop rapport with faculty, staff, and peers
  • Explore career and experiential learning opportunities (internships, study abroad, and service projects) 


As a student, you can expect your Academic Advisor to:

  • carefully listen to your questions, thoughts, and concerns
  • act as an advocate who connects you to other campus resources and services
  • respect your confidentiality and promote a safe environment to meet any academic, motivational, social, and financial challenges to success
  • track your progress and communicate when it does not meet program/major expectations
  • respond to you within 24 hours during the work week Monday-Friday by email or phone

As a student, your Academic Advisor expects you to:

  • Come to advising sessions with an open-mind
  • Accept responsibility for your personal and academic decisions
  • Arrive to appointments on time and be prepared to discuss your academic and personal goals, interests, and concerns.  If you are 10 minutes late, you may be asked to reschedule.
  • Bring copies of relevant documents (i.e. General Education Checklist) to discuss with your advisor
  • Be proactive, don’t wait for your advisor to reach out