David R. Smith, Associate Dean for Advising and Executive Director, DUS
As the academic home for students exploring multiple academic programs, the Division of Undergraduate Studies (DUS) enrolls nearly one-quarter of all new incoming first-year students across Penn State. Working with primarily first- and second-year students as they decide on a major and college to enter, DUS provides robust academic advising aimed at helping students to make informed decisions to shape meaningful educational opportunities that enable their success while at Penn State. DUS provides a supportive and welcoming environment for students as they begin their studies with the University as well as for advanced students who need to make transitions prior to graduation. DUS prides itself on providing exemplary academic advising for students with interests across all of Penn State’s varied academic programs. Our advisers work carefully with students, making sure that their questions are answered and also posing thoughtful inquiries to students to help them through challenging academic decisions and planning. Through intentional conversation, academic advisers in DUS provide students with the context to understand the following:
- the purpose and value of various degree requirements
- the need to make thoughtful and well-informed decisions regarding their education
- the connections between personal interests, life goals, and academic opportunities
- the need to think critically and question common assumptions about majors and careers
- the policies and processes that shape and inform educational decisions
- the steps needed to find meaningful educational opportunities such as study abroad programs, research assistantships, leadership activities, and internships
- the foundation for articulating the value of higher education, regardless of major
Mission and Goals
The Division of Undergraduate Studies facilitates student exploration, engagement, and academic success by delivering exemplary academic advising, guiding institutional policy and procedure, and promoting the scholarship of advising.
Exploration is a key part of the values of DUS. By encouraging our students to make intentional decisions and evaluations, DUS promotes the independence of our students as they decide what is best to study. Questions related to higher education, strengths and influences, information gathering and engaged scholarship will all be asked by the adviser in critical conversations with the students. The goal of DUS is to help students who are uncertain about what they want to study to take time and use all of the resources available to make important decisions about their educational future.
A student who fails to earn a 2.00 cumulative grade-point average will be placed on academic warning. A student placed on academic warning will have a hold placed on registration and will be required to meet with an academic adviser in order for this registration hold to be removed. To remove academic warning, the cumulative grade-point average must be 2.00 or higher.
Students in Academic Warning should complete and submit the Academic Reflection Activity which will be sent to your DUS adviser. When you meet with your adviser, you will review your self-reflection and set academic goals for your future success. Email your adviser or call the DUS Advising Center at your campus location to schedule an appointment.
A student in academic warning who fails to maintain a semester grade-point average of 2.00 or higher will be academically suspended. A student who has been academically suspended may not schedule courses at the University for two consecutive semesters. (Note: Summer session is equal to one semester.)
The first step to return to Penn State after suspension is to contact your DUS adviser and let them know you plan to return. Your adviser will help you develop an action plan to accomplish while you are on suspension. If you don’t know who your DUS adviser is, call the DUS Advising Center at your campus location.
Change of Major into DUS
There are three student populations for which a change of major into DUS is appropriate:
- students who are enrolled in a major/college in which they no longer have interest and are unsure of their new academic goal.
- students who want to change out of their current major/college and have decided on a new major/college but do not yet meet entrance requirements.
- Students who have changed their academic goal to a Smeal College of Business major and can feasibly meet the entrance to major requirements within the required credit window.
No student may be approved for a change of major into DUS without an advising interview in which Penn State curricular goals and University status are discussed.
Change of Campus for DUS Students
Undergraduate degree-seeking students admitted to the University as a first-year student may begin at one of twenty Penn State campuses.
Changes to University Park
- DUS approval for Change of Campus to University Park prior to completing four semesters at another location is typically granted when required courses for the student's intended major are not available at the current campus. Students cannot be denied because of their grade-point average.
- Early change- of- campus to University Park for non-academic (i.e., health, personal) reasons will be considered when the DUS Programs Coordinator at the campus (or other appropriate personnel who have direct knowledge of the personal circumstance) provides support for the change- of- campus. These exceptions will be examined on a case-by-case basis. Approval will be determined by the documentation and/or verification of the extenuating circumstances, as well as verification of a realistic academic goal.
- If the student qualifies for entrance to the desired college at University Park, the student should request a change of major via Update Academics first and then submit the change-of-campus request through Update Campus, both in LionPATH.
Changes to Locations Other Than University Park
- A request to change to DUS at any campus other than University Park must be discussed with a DUS adviser at the receiving campus, as well as with a DUS adviser at the student’s current location to determine the appropriateness of the request.
- A Student can makes an official change-of-campus request through Update Campus in LionPATH.
Students enrolled in the Division of Undergraduate Studies (DUS) are permitted to be enrolled for a maximum of one year after they complete their first year at the university (Senate Policy 39-50). Accordingly, for students who start enrollment at Penn State in DUS, they are allowed to be enrolled in DUS for the first two academic years before declaring a major at the university. There are certain special populations of students who are permitted to be enrolled in DUS for longer than two years. It is also permissible to request an extension to maximum time of enrollment following discussion with a DUS adviser to make sure that it is an appropriate request. However, that request must be approved by the executive director of DUS for a student to remain longer than allowed. It is critical that students be in discussion with their advisers regarding how long they may remain in DUS. If a student extends past their maximum time of enrollment in DUS without extension, a registration hold will be placed on a student’s record.