Academic Advising

What is the recommended workload for a journalism student?

1) You need at least 12 credits to be considered a full time student. 2) You need to complete at least 180 credits to earn a degree. If you’re trying to do this in four years without taking summer school, that’s 180 credits over 12 quarters, which is equals 15 credits per term.

Your recommended workload depends on you and whether you’re juggling commitments outside school, if you’re trying to gain residency, if you’re taking a combination of classes that dictate a lighter load and/or whether you have a learning style that is conducive to a lighter or heavier load.

If you are primarily a full-time student who maybe works 10 or 15 hours a week, you can likely handle a 15 to 18-credit load. If you work 30 hours or more each week, you may want to look at a 12 to 14-credit load. This may cause you to graduate later than you expected, but there’s no point paying for 16 credits if you’re just going to withdraw from classes or worse, fail them.

You need to decide what works best for you, but keep in mind that whatever you decide to do will affect you in the long run. Also remember that you can adjust your schedule at the start of a term. If you’re not sure how many credits you can take on, consider registering for four classes (approx. 16 credits) initially, evaluate the workload after a few days in the class and then make a decision about whether or not you want to keep your 16 credit workload or change to 12 credits before the deadline to drop a class (usually the second Monday of the term).

I’m almost complete with my requirements. What do I need to do to graduate?

If this is the term in which you plan to finish your degree requirements and earn your diploma, you need to apply for your degree. Log on to DuckWeb and select “Apply for Undergraduate Degree” under the Student Menu. This lets the University know that you’re finishing up and prompts the registrar’s office and your major/minor departments to check that you’ve completed your requirements. This application must be submitted by the fourth week of the term. If you miss the deadline, you will need to go to the registrar’s office in Oregon Hall for a late application.

Participating in SOJC’s Commencement in June is a separate event entirely. It’s a celebration of all our senior students. In the commencement program, we automatically include the names of all students who received their degree in the previous fall and winter and all those students who have applied to receive their degrees at the end of spring term. Students who will not complete their graduation requirements until summer or fall are welcome to participate, as well. Those students who wish to “walk in spring” even though they have outstanding degree requirements should: 1) apply for graduation for the appropriate term (i.e., the term in which you will finish your requirements) and 2) request that their name be included in the spring commencement program. All seniors are sent information about this during spring term.

How do I best use my faculty advisor?

When you become a full major in the journalism school, you will be assigned a faculty advisor. You would use this advisor to learn more about the field you’re pursuing, the job and internship prospects and the different ways you might contribute to this field. Your faculty advisor is the person you work with if you need to get credit for an internship or if you want to do an independent study project.

Can I take online courses to fulfill my requirements?

Yes you can. A variety of departments at the University of Oregon offer online courses. However, at this time, the School of Journalism and Communication does not.

Since online courses are taken online, you are not limited to courses just offered by the university. You can take any course offered online by an accredited institution. If you look off-campus, you’ll likely find a wider range of course options. Online courses transfer in just like regular credits do. However, as with other courses you take at another school, it’s a good idea to check beforehand to see how a potential course will transfer in. You want to make sure it fits the requirement you intend for it to fulfill before you spend the time and money on the course.

Some online courses are taught completely online. Others have an on-campus testing policy. In other words, although most of the course is online, you have to be on campus to take whatever tests are part of the course. If you are taking an online UO course that does have this test policy and you’re taking the course from an off-campus location, you don’t have to travel to Eugene just to take this test. As part of the course, you’ll get access to instructions on how to schedule an off-site test. Chances are you’ll have a chance to take the test at an approved location close to where you happen to be.

There are several downsides to online courses. First, online courses have to be self-directed. You have to set the pace and be your own teacher. This type of learning isn’t for everyone. Second, because the class isn’t scheduled at a particular time of the week, it’s easy to put it off. And before you know it, you’re three weeks behind.  Lastly, if you are having trouble with the course, you may not have access to an instructor who can offer adequate support.

If you are going to take an online course, we advise you set aside a specific time in your week to devote to the course, and stick to that schedule. Whether it’s late at night, early in the morning or over your work lunch break, make that time your online course time and try not to deviate from that schedule.

What is the maximum number of credits I can transfer in from another school?

There are two types of students who will have credit from other colleges and universities on their transcripts. The first are UO students who started as a traditional freshman who may have college credit completed through a program through their high school. These students may have also decided to take classes over the summer at a school close to home and have those credits to transfer in. These students usually don’t have to worry about this type of credit limit.

The second type are UO students who started their college education at another school but then transferred their credits to UO with the intention of completing their degree here. This is the population that is most likely to be affected in this case.

If the transfer credits are from a two-year college, sometimes called a community or junior college, the limit is 124 credits. If the transfer credits are from a four-year institution, there is no limit. However, UO has a residency requirement (which is discussed in another one of the frequently asked questions) that must be satisfied.

If you have more than 124 transfer community college credits the excess credits are deducted. However, if any of the excess credits fulfill specific graduation requirements, they are still allowed to complete the requirement. For example, after completing 124 credits, you take GER 203 for another four credits. You’ll end up completing 128 community college credits. Only 124 credits will count toward the total number of credits you have. The extra four credits will be deducted. But, GER 203 will still count toward the Bachelor of Arts requirement and will complete that requirement.

This is important because you should be careful with how many community credits you transfer in. This restriction is in place to ensure you don’t neglect your 62 upper division credit requirement. The other, perhaps less obvious, lesson is that there’s a line fine between attending community college to save money and transferring after you’ve completed two years worth of credit. At some point, it does not become cost-effective anymore because loading up on credits at the community college will not necessarily shorten the time you spend at the four-year institution. If you’re trying to figure out when the best time to transfer in is meet with an advisor in our office.

How do I choose a minor?

A minor is a formal course of study in a particular subject. Because they typically require 24-32 credits in a subject, they do not go into as much depth or detail as a major would. The U of O offers about 70 different minors, including the SOJC’s minor in Media Studies.

Students do not need a minor to graduate, but minors are encouraged to help diversify your education, skills and knowledge base. SOJC students may choose any minor except for the Media Studies minor.

Students usually choose a minor for one of two reasons: 1) they may choose something that will complement their major or long-term goals. For example, a public relations student interested in non-profit work might choose a non-profit administration minor, or an advertising student interested in design might minor in multimedia. 2) They may simply be passionate about a subject and want to take courses in it.

You declare a minor through the department that houses that minor. For example, go to the Psychology department to declare the PSY minor, English department to declare the Creative Writing minor, etc. There may be paper or electronic forms you will need to fill out. You should also meet with an advisor in that department to make sure you understand the requirements.

If you decide not to complete a minor, be sure you drop it through the appropriate department so it doesn’t impede your graduation.

If I'm a journalism major, does that mean I can't double major?

The School of Journalism and Communication has no objections to our students double majoring. In fact, in most cases, we encourage it. Remember, we like well-rounded communicators. That’s why we have so many non-major requirements.

Combining journalism with a major in the College of Arts and Sciences is fairly straight-forward. Remember, as a UO student with one major, you have two sets of requirements to fulfill. You first have your general education or your Honors College requirements. Then you have your major requirements. If you tack on a double major, you’ll add a third set of requirements to this equation.

The key to doing this all in a reasonable amount of time is to try and overlap requirements as much as possible. Work with your advisors regularly and aim to double-dip or triple-dip requirements whenever you can. Because the journalism school has lot of College of Arts and Sciences requirements, overlap is possible. With proper planning and a good understanding of all three sets of requirements, you should be able to complete both majors in a timely manner.

Combining journalism with a major in one of the university’s other professional schools – business, education, music and dance, or architecture and allied arts – is trickier. There isn’t a lot of overlap. Completing two professional majors is possible (and has been done!) but students often sacrifice graduating in four years to pursue this. If you decide to do this, work very, very closely with your advisors in both professional schools. Plan to visit them every term to check on your progress.

Another option you might be considering is double majoring within the SOJC. The term “double majoring” in this case is misleading. You’re really not double majoring, you’re double emphasizing. Or, because we call our majors “sequences,” you’re double sequencing. You may complete more than one sequence in journalism – advertising and media studies, for example. However, you still only have one major – journalism – with a double sequence in advertising and media studies. Using this example, if you’re an advertising major, you’ll need to complete just 20 more media studies credits to add media studies as a second sequence. You don’t need to double-up on any other journalism requirement in order to do a second sequence.

I took a class at another school this summer. How do I transfer this to UO?

For the UO to know about these credits, the UO registrar’s office must receive your official transcript from the other institution. There are two ways you can make this happen:

1) Contact the registrar’s office at the other school. Tell them you are a student at UO and that you’d like to transfer your credits. You may have to fill out a form and/or pay a processing fee, but the school will then send your transcript directly to the U of O. Many schools will allow you to complete this request process online.

2) Have the other school give you an official transcript. Again, forms and/or fees may apply. This official transcript comes in a sealed envelope. DO NOT open it. When you’re back on campus, hand-deliver it to the UO registrar’s office in Oregon Hall.

Once these credits have been processed, you’ll see them on DuckWeb under the Transfer Evaluation Report and on your Degree Guide. You can find more information about transferring credits on the registrar’s website.

Do I have to study a foreign language?

It depends on the type of degree you’re getting, what your major is and it depends on you.

If you are pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree, you are required to complete up to two years of college level foreign language. The important words in that sentence are “up to” and “college level.” To clear the requirement, you have to complete the third course of the second-year series in a foreign language. For most foreign languages at UO, that means completing the 203 class.

If you are continuing a language you’ve already studied, a placement test will determine what level of that language you need to begin on the college-level. For example, it may tell you, you need to begin your college-level study of the language at the 201 class. In that case, you’d only need to do 201, 202 and 203. If you are starting a new language, you’ll have two full years to complete: 101, 102, 103 and 201, 202, 203.

If you are pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree, you don’t have a foreign language requirement as part of your general education requirements. However, you may still need a language as part of your major or minor requirements.

A couple of key things to know about studying a foreign language: First, please take a placement test if you are continuing a language you’ve already had exposure to. The university intends for the 101 class to be for true beginners. If you didn’t take the placement test at orientation, contact the testing center to find out how you can arrange to take a placement test now.

The journalism advisors are often asked if a journalism major should pursue a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science degree. The journalism program offers both and, interestingly enough, our students are split 50-50 between the two types of degrees. We can talk to you about the pros and cons of either choice. We may even admit to you, we’d love for you to do both language AND math. But, ultimately, the choice is yours.

Do I have to take any math courses?

The easy answer is, “Not unless they choose to.” The SOJC does not have a math requirement. However, it does allow its students to choose between a Bachelor of Arts degree or a Bachelor of Science degree. If they opt for the B.A., they have to do up to two years of foreign language. If they opt for the B.S., they have to do up to a year of college-level math or selected computer science courses.

In summary, if you are a SOJC student and you go the B.A. route, you do not have a math requirement. However, the journalism school does have an economics requirement. The UO economics department recommends that students take MATH 111: College Algebra before they take EC 201: Microeconomics, but this is not a requirement.

What are prerequisites?

Prerequisite translates very simply as “something that is necessary.” If A is a prerequisite for B, you must have A before you can have B. In a college setting, this usually translates to class registration. If a class has a prerequisite, you must meet it before you can register for the class.

Class prerequisites can be different things or a combination of things. Some classes require a prerequisite class before you can take that class. J452, for example, has J352 as a prerequisite. Notice that these classes are not in sequence. I didn’t say you had to take J451 before J452. Sometimes the course numbering is a true sequence, sometimes it’s not. CH 222 has CH 221 as a prerequisite. That’s a true sequence.

Some classes have a test score as a prerequisite. MATH 105, for example, requires an SAT score of at least 550 or an ACT score of at least 25. If you don’t have this, you can still take this class if you meet MATH 105’s other prerequisite, MATH 095. This is an example of a class having different types of prerequisites and it’s an either or proposition. You have to meet at least one type of prerequisite in order to take the class.

Your class standing – freshman, sophomore, junior, senior, post-baccalaureate – this can also be used as a prerequisite as well. Some upper division classes, for example, may be restricted to sophomores and up or juniors and up.

Your declared major is another way a prerequisite may be enforced. Some classes are restricted to certain majors only. Sometimes, the class will later become available to non-majors after the declared majors have had the chance to register.

You can find out if a course has a prerequisite on the class schedule. By clicking on the CRN, it will bring you to a page that provides additional information about the course including any prerequisites.

A quick note about how Duck Web works. If you are currently taking a prerequisite class, Duck Web will give you the benefit of the doubt that you’ll pass that class and will allow you to register for the higher class when priority registration begins. However, if for whatever reason you do not receive a passing grade in the prerequisite class once your grades come out, the registrar’s office will administratively drop you from the higher class. In other words, if you are in J352 this term (it’s a prerequisite for J452), Duck Web will allow you to register for J452. But, if you fail J352, will be dropped from J452.

What are upper division credits?

Upper division credit is any credit that is 300- or 400-level. All bachelor’s degree students must complete at least 62 upper division credits. This is a general education requirement.

You may use upper division courses from your major toward the upper division requirement. In most cases, however, the major does not provide enough credits to complete the whole requirement.

Journalism students with just one sequence or specialization within journalism must complete at least 40 uper division journalism credits. Since journalism requirements alone will not get you to the 62 upper division credit requirement, you will have to take some upper division credits from outside of your major.

A double major or a minor is a good way to accumulate additional upper division credits. However, you don’t need to pick up another major or minor just for this reason. Many journalism students are comfortable completing their general studies requirements using upper division credits. For example, they’ll take upper division literature classes to complete the 16-credit literature requirement. Or they may take upper division history classes to complete the eight-credit history requirement. Unless you have a strong interest in economics, we don’t recommend you take an upper division economics course.

Career Advising

I’m not doing an internship this summer. Are there other things I can do to still have a productive summer?

You can always use the time to expand your knowledge about your chosen field. Informational interviews, for example, are a great way to meet people within your field of interest, to talk with them about the field, what got them interested in it and how you can make yourself a strong candidate in the future.  These can last between 15 minutes and one hour and are a great way to educate yourself about the field and to make a professional connection.

Job shadowing can be similarly useful but on a larger scale. Job shadows may last half a day or a whole day and often give you the chance to work with someone, assist them in their work, see what they do, find out about the work atmosphere, how the office works and if this is a field you really want to do. It may seem scary to approach professionals and ask for these opportunities, but you’ll be surprised how often individuals in your field are open to speaking with and encouraging students.

Part time jobs or volunteer opportunities in the field are another way you can start building your network and get some related experience for your resume. Working in the ticket office for a sports team may not be the same as doing sports PR, but it may give you access to meet important people in the organization and to volunteer for projects and tasks that might be relevant to the work you ultimately want to do.

I got an internship! Can I earn credit for it?

Potentially. If you’re a full major who has completed Gateway, you may be eligible to earn Journalism credit for an internship opportunity. Unfortunately, we cannot award credit to pre-majors, but there may be some other options available to you on campus, so come talk to an advisor.

If you believe you meet the prerequisites for J404 Internship credit, you will need to find an SOJC faculty member who is willing to supervise your credits. The two of you will decide what the expectations for the experience will be and how many credits you will register for. The number of credits you’re eligible to register for depends on how many hours you’re working; usually 30 hours of work equals one credit hour. You can only earn up to nine total credits of J404 in your time at UO, so use them wisely.

To receive permission to register for J404, you need to fill out the Internship Tracking Form (also available in SOJC Student Services) and fill it out with your faculty advisor.  You should enroll in J404 in the same term in which you are completing the internship, so plan ahead to complete the paperwork before registration closes.

How do I get started with internships?

A good way to start is by thinking about why you want to do an internship, what you want out of it, where you want to go and what’s most important for you to learn in this experience. Understanding the answers to these questions can help you identify your top priorities in an experience, which can give you a better position from which to start your research.

Start by doing research on available opportunities: look into agencies, organizations and publications you’d be interested in working for. Check out the @SOJCCareers database. Talk to friends and family in the field and any professional contacts you’ve already developed. All of these can be promising avenues to find internship opportunities.

You do want to plan ahead when it comes to internships. Some of the competitive nation-wide summer internships select their interns in the fall.

Keep in mind that internships tend to build on each other. It’s not common for someone’s first internship to be with Nike or with the Seattle Times. Usually you need to start small to get the kind of experience you need to get a more competitive internship the next time around.

What are informational interviews?

Informational interviews are used to determine your interest in a certain career, learn about different organizations, and to build your network.  Informational interviews are not for you to ask for an internship or a job.  Informational interviews is where you can contact a professional in your area of interest and ask to speak with them from maybe 15 to 30 minutes about different career issues.

There are a number of ways to find a professional that you can interview.  The easiest way is to find friends or family members that are in the field that you are interested in or may have friends that are also in that field.  Next, you can do some research on companies or organizations that interest you and contact someone within that company directly.  Also, an important tool is your faculty.  Talk with them, see if they can suggest someone whom you can talk to.

To make the connection with a professional, there are a couple of different ways you can do this: you can use what is called a “letter of introduction.”  This is similar to a cover letter and you can send it by email.  Another way is just to try calling a person that you are interested in meeting with.  You may find that you can make that connection quite simply.

Now that you have your appointment, you need to prepare for the interview.  You want to go into the interview with a good number of questions.  Make sure to prepare beforehand so you are not caught off guard.  You may find that after your first question the conversation continues fine without your other questions, but it’s better to be prepared.

Here are some examples of some themes and questions that you can ask at your interview:
What skills are needed for this field?
What classes outside of the School of Journalism and Communication should you be taking?
What do you enjoy the most about your job?
Where they see the field going in the next 3-5 years?
How you choose the company you work for?
What magazines or journals you should be reading?
What professional organizations should I join?
Are there any other professionals that you recommend I speak with?

One of the most important things to do though is, after your interview, make sure you write a thank you letter and follow up regularly every 3-5 months through emails or phone calls to keep that connection together.  You never know when this network might come in handy.

I Need Help!

College can be a wonderful and complicated time in your life. Between academic responsibilities, financial obligations, and personal development, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. Once these challenges become overwhelming and threaten to interfere with your success and/or happiness, don’t keep them to yourself. How much information you disclose and who you tell is up to you, but it’s important to make someone (roommate, friend, family member, professor, advisor, etc.) aware of your situation so they can offer support and monitor your well-being.

The primary resource available to you is the University Counseling Center, which is located on the second floor of the University Health, Counseling, and Testing Center building, right across the street from Oregon Hall. It offers both group and individual counseling. The University Counseling and Testing Center upholds each student’s right to confidentiality and privacy. If visiting them in person is not an option, they have a variety of self-help resources on their website. If a crisis hits while the Counseling Center is closed, you can call their After-Hour Support and Crisis Line at (541) 346-3227. A therapist can provide support and connect you with resources.

Personal crisis manifests itself in many ways. If you or someone you know is at immediate risk for suicide, report it to the Suicide Assessment Team. Or call 9-1-1.

Most causes for complaints stem from a grade or assignment dispute. When this happens, you are encouraged to talk to your instructor to try to resolve the issue. Approach the situation in a calm and respectful manner. Some students find it helpful to prepare a list of points and/or write down questions ahead of time so they are sure they express themselves in a thorough manner.

Sometimes a complaint between a student and an instructor (grade related or otherwise) cannot be resolved by the two parties involved or the student is not able to broach the subject directly with the instructor. In either case, please contact Dr. Pat Curtin, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Affairs. Dr. Curtin will assess the situation and determine a course for resolution. Depending on the situation, she may need to consult with colleagues in other campus offices (e.g. Dean of Students, University Housing, Counseling Center, etc.) to help her guide you to resolution.

In the rare case that the Associate Dean cannot facilitate a resolution, you may be referred to the Dean. If a complaint cannot be resolved within the School of Journalism and Communication, you will be referred to appropriate university processes beyond the school.

If you’re having academic problems that are not specific to a single course, you should consult a professional advisor, your faculty advisor or the associate dean. Unfortunately (but realistically), some students—especially those who are away from home for the first time—encounter problems that aren’t of an academic nature. These can range from loneliness to sexual harassment. Help for nearly any kind of problem is available for all University of Oregon students. We encourage you to seek help in solving any problems that arise during your UO career. Advisers sometimes encourage students to consult the university’s Counseling Center, which provides trained counselors to help students with personal and relationship problems. Located on the second floor of the University Health, Counseling and Testing Center building, their phone number is (541) 346-3227.

Additional resources:
Dean of Students
164 Oregon Hall
(541) 346-3216

Office of Student Advocacy (OSA)
OSA provides free advice and assistance to incidental fee paying students who are having problems with the University of Oregon (including those charged with student conduct code violations). The office also provides generalized advocacy on behalf of students’ rights within the university’s administrative framework.
(541) 346-3722
osa@officeofstudentadvocacy.org

Conflict Resolution Services
164 Oregon Hall
(541) 346-0617

Office of Affirmative Action & Equal Opportunity
“Discrimination Grievance Procedures”

24-HOUR HOTLINE for information and support: 541-346-SAFE (7233). If you are (or someone you are with is) in immediate danger or feel unsafe, call 9-1-1.

It was not your fault. If you are the survivor of sexual harassment (including sexual assault, dating or domestic violence, gender-based harassment or bullying, and stalking) and someone has harmed you, it’s not your fault.

Ask for help. Help is available for you on campus and in the community. You can call the hotline anytime day or night at 541‑346‑7233 (SAFE) to get support and talk about your options. You may or may not want to report the incident, and there are options for doing this. The decision is up to you. Either way, we encourage you to take advantage of services on or off campus.

The University of Oregon has many additional support services that you can use. As always, if you are struggling with a course, please visit your advisor as soon as possible. We can discuss strategies for success, the possibility of taking the course pass/no pass, and the costs and benefits of dropping or withdrawing from a course. Furthermore, we can refer you to other campus resources.

The Teaching and Learning Center, known as TLC, is an excellent academic support resource that provides services to all UO students. They are located in 68 PLC, the basement of the Prince Lucien Campbell Hall. TLC offers courses in topics ranging from test taking to time management, and workshops that cover study skills, statistics, grammar, and standardized test preparation. Students can also meet individually with TLC instructors to discuss the topics we just listed. Tutoring is also offered through TLC. All UO students have free access to the writing and math labs and, for a fee, all students can engage in small group or private tutoring.

The center also supports two federally funded TRiO programs. Student Support Services (SSS) assists students whose socioeconomic, educational, and personal situations suggest they may experience significant challenges. The McNair Scholars Program prepares qualified juniors and seniors for graduate study.

TLC also houses the Undergraduate Support Program and the PathwayOregon program. Both programs have specific admission requirements and provide additional tutoring and academic support for students in those programs.

Finally, the Center for Multicultural Academic Excellence (CMAE) in 164 Oregon Hall offers academic support services to students of color. CMAE staff members specialize in providing a culturally supportive environment that empowers self-identified students of color to fulfill their educational and career goals. Through CMAE, you can gain access to additional advising, math and writing assistance, vouchers for free tutoring through the TLC, and scholarships.

Please remember that you have many resources available on campus and many people who want to see you succeed. Speak with your academic advisor or someone in one of the offices listed above as soon as you think you need some help.

J 101 Grammar for Communicators is a required pre-major course. The material itself can be quite technical, and as a result students tend to either take to it naturally or have a hard time with it. The secret to the course is to find different ways of learning the same material. Here are some ways of getting material from different sources:

1) Visit your professor during office hours. Ask questions about sections of the lecture or homework assignment that you didn’t understand.
2) Create a study group with three or four other students in the class and meet regularly. Having to explain a concept you understand to another person will help you understand it better. Having your friend explain another concept back to you might help you see it in a different light.
3) Go online. There are web-based resources you can access for free. Your grammar instructor may provide some of these on Canvas. Other popular ones have been www.grammaruntied.com or www.chompchop.com.

Many students enter college with a learning disability or discover that they struggle with one while pursuing a degree. If you have medical proof of a disability, accommodations can often be made to help you succeed. Your first step should be meeting with someone in the Accessible Education Center (AEC) in 164 Oregon Hall. This office collaborates with students, faculty, staff and the community to create an educational environment that is useable, equitable, sustainable, and inclusive for all members of the university community.

AEC can help you with referrals, academic advising, adaptive technology, exam adjustments, instructor notification, and other reasonable accommodations. For example, a student with ADHD might have difficulty concentrating when taking exams in large lecture settings. AEC can help that student obtain permission to take exams in a more isolated setting. If you are unsure about whether or not you have a learning disability, visit their office and speak with an advisor. AEC can also help students with disabilities that are not learning related.

Tutoring can be helpful for students with disabilities, or students who would simply like additional academic support. The Teaching and Learning Center, located in the basement of PLC, offers courses, workshops, appointments, math and writing labs, tutoring, standardized test preparation, and information on study skills to help students at UO succeed.

The Learning Center Program is an additional resource students may use, though this resource does charge a fee. It is located at 1627 Pearl Street and can be reached at (541) 485-6613. Its goal is to “assist college students who have learning disabilities with further education for a more productive future.” The Learning Center provides both academic counseling and tutoring services.

If you feel uncomfortable visiting any of these sites, or simply want to talk to someone about your concerns, feel free to speak with your academic advisor about the challenges you are facing. We can discuss your specific situation and create a plan with which you are comfortable. As always, seek help early, so your grades and stress levels do not suffer. We are here to support you.

Grades & Academic Success

The following is the Office of the Dean of Students definition of plagiarism: “Plagiarism” means using the ideas or writings of another as one’s own.  It includes, but is not limited to:

  1. The use, by paraphrase or direct quotation, of the published or unpublished work of another person without full and clear acknowledgement; and
  2. The unacknowledged use of materials prepared by another person or agency engaged in the selling of term papers or other academic materials.

All faculty are required to report instances of suspected plagiarism and academic misconduct. If your instructor suspects you of plagiarism or academic misconduct, he or she will ask to meet with you to discuss this suspicion. Outcomes of this meeting can range from warning to further mediation, failing the assignment, failing the class and/or expulsion from the major. Visit the Dean of Students website for more discussions of academic integrity, and what students can do to protect themselves from being charged with academic dishonesty.

Have more questions about plagiarism? See “Avoiding Plagiarism: A Guide for Students.”

An “incomplete” or “I” grade is awarded when a student’s work is satisfactory and the student is passing the class but a minor (yet essential) requirement for the class has not yet been completed for reasons that are acceptable to the instructor. Common reasons may include having to leave the term early because of family or medical emergency, but ultimately it’s up to the instructor to determine whether or not he/she wishes to grant an “Incomplete” grade.

An “I” gives you a chance to actually complete the course. You have one calendar year to do so and have your grade changed to a regular letter grade, but your professor or the academic department involved may impose a shorter deadline. If you don’t complete the work and the professor does not change the grade within one year, the “I” grade will automatically change to an F (if you took the course graded) or an N (if you took the class pass/no pass). It is recommended that you complete the work as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the harder it is to produce satisfactory work, especially when you’re distracted by a new set of classes.

A couple things to note:

  1. The grade can only be changed by the instructor who taught your specific class.
  2. If you re-register for a class in which you have an “I,” your new grade will not take the place of the I. Your academic transcript will read the second instance of the course as a new class, so you will have both the I (which will become an F or N after one calendar year) and the new grade on your record.
  3. Professors are more likely to grant flexibility in completing coursework if they are given advance notice. For example, if you suddenly require surgery that’s going to take you out of class for a week, most professors are going to be more flexible if the student approaches them right away (or in advance, when possible) rather than waiting until the end of the term.

This fictional scenario may help clarify: If you took J201 from Prof. Christensen in Spring 2013 and earned an “I,” you need to work with Prof. Christiansen to complete the work and change your grade within one calendar year. If you don’t, the “I” will become an “F” after Spring 2014. After receiving the “I,” you might decide to register for J201 again in Fall 2013 and take it with Prof. Haas instead. If you do this, you will receive a grade for J201 in Fall 2013, but your “I” from Prof. Christiansen’s Spring 2013 class will still be on your transcript and will still turn into an F after one year. This would happen if you were to retake the class with Prof. Christiansen.

If you have questions about this, you can find the university’s incomplete policy on the Registrar’s website or speak with your academic advisor.

Taking a class pass/no pass means that whatever grade you receive, your GPA won’t be affected. You need to earn the equivalent of a C- or better to earn a pass. Anything lower than that is a no pass.

In order to decide whether or not to take a class pass/no pass you should first look into whether or not you may take a particular class pass/no pass. A general rule is that everything taken for a major or minor must be taken graded. There are some exceptions to that rule but it’s a good idea to check ahead of time to see if you are allowed to take something pass/no pass. Some courses don’t even give you the option of changing your grading option. In those cases, you have not choice but to take it graded.

Assuming you are allowed to take the course pass/no pass the next step would be evaluating the pros and cons of using it for a particular class. Most students use this option as a form of GPA management. They’re concerned the grade in a particular class will negatively affect their GPA. Or, if they’re working to raise their GPA, they won’t want a mediocre grade to offset better grades in other classes. For these two reasons, it’s a good idea to take something pass/no pass.

Deciding where the grade cut-off is to take something should be pass/no pass is going to be your decision. If you are getting an A in the class, you probably don’t need to take it pass/no pass. Earning a B for some students, will help them raise their GPA. For others, a B will actually pull down their GPA.

What if you’re getting a D? Now, that’s an interesting question. Say, for example, you’re taking economics and you’re tracking to get a D in the course. A D will definitely affect your GPA negatively. However, the journalism school will accept a D- or better grade in any economics class used to fulfill our economics requirement. If you take this class pass/no pass and get a D, that’s a no pass. Your GPA is not affected but you don’t get credit and you will have to take another economics class in its place. If you take it graded, it will affect your GPA but the credits do count toward the requirement. It will be up to you to make that decision.

If you’re having trouble deciding if you should take something pass/no pass; meet with an advisor and we will talk you through the pros and cons.

It depends on what you mean by “bad grade.” UO’s policy on repeating courses will prevent you from repeating a class if you received a C or P grade the first time (whether you took the class at UO or through another institution). Exceptions to this policy have to be petitioned through the Office of the Registrar.

If you received a C- or lower grade (including “no pass”), you may repeat a course. While both attempts will appear on your UO transcripts, only the second grade will be factored into your UO GPA. If credits were earned the first time, these credits will be deducted.

In some cases, it may be necessary to retake a class. Some classes require specific a minimum passing grade and if you don’t have that grade, the requirement is not met. So you will have to repeat the class and accept the credit reduction penalty.

Most importantly, go to class, even if it’s 8 am and rainy. You need to be there to have a chance at standing out. Sit up front, within the first five rows. Turn off your cell phone and pay attention. The professor will notice if you’re on your phone or playing around on your laptop, even if you’re sitting farther back. Show you’re engaged. Respect your professor and your fellow students’ time: arrive early or on time and don’t leave early. Don’t start packing your bag before the professor has dismissed you. These breaches in etiquette will be noticed.

Keep on top of your homework and reading assignments. Do the assigned readings beforehand. This will allow you to ask informed questions and participate in class discussions. If participation is a required portion of your grade, or just something the professor likes to encourage, they will absolutely notice if you’re making well-informed contributions.

Most importantly, get to know your professor. Introduce yourself on the first day of class. Go to office hours. Repeat: Go to office hours. Go with a reason (this goes back to being respectful of his/her time), but the class should provide plenty of reasons. Ask for clarification on a confusing point from lecture. Ask for feedback/ways to improve on previous assignments. Ask for additional readings on something that really fascinated you. Ask about a student organization they advise. There’s no shortage of reasons to chat with your professor or GTF, which will make you stand out in a large class.

Yes, there are several ways you can graduate with honors.

You can graduate with honors from the School of Journalism and Communication by participating in the SOJC Honors Program your junior and senior year.

The second type is through the University of Oregon. There are several different honors you can achieve through the university. The Dean’s List and Latin Honors are just two examples and both are determined by GPA. The Dean’s List is announced after every fall, winter and spring terms. It recognizes undergraduates who earn at least a 3.75 term GPA.

Most people are aware of Latin Honors. This is awarded to graduating students who completed at least 90 credits at the University. This distinction is determined by your cumulative UO GPA and how it stands in relation to your graduation class. The top 2 percent of the graduation class is awarded summa cum laude. The top 5 percent is awarded magna cum laude. The top 10 percent is awarded cum laude. Because the distinction is awarded based on your percentile rankings, there is no set GPA cut-off. What constitutes cum laude for one term can be different for another, depending on who’s graduating that term.

The third type of honors is membership in an honor society. There are numerous honor societies. Journalism students in particular may be invited to join Kappa Tau Alpha, a national honor society that recognizes high scholastic and professional standards among journalism majors. Membership is by invitation and the student needs to be in the top 10 percent of the school. These are just a few examples of honors you may receive during your time at the University of Oregon. This is, by no means, an exhaustive list.

“Didn’t do well” can be very subjective; it might mean that you’ve earned your very first C, or it might mean you flunked two courses and earned a term GPA below a 2.00, putting you on academic warning or, potentially, academic probation.

What can you do to avoid this happening again? First, take stock and see if you can pinpoint why this happened in the first place. Be honest with yourself. Were these bad grades a result of too many football games and not enough time in the library? Do you understand the material but draw a blank when taking tests? Do you do better in classes with essay-type tests but falter in multiple-choice tests (or vice versa)? Did you take on too much?

Talk to your academic advisor about this. We can talk to you about study habits and campus resources that may help you. We will probably also encourage you to check out the Teaching and Learning Center. Maybe one of their classes on time management or test anxiety would be helpful for you.

Now, should you repeat a class? Not unless you have to. See here for more information.

If you think that your final grade is in error or unexpected based on your earlier performance in the class, you’ll want to get in touch with your professor immediately. Naturally, there is a right way and a wrong way to go about doing this. The right way would be something like: “I just got my grade and I’d like to talk about it with you when you have some time. I had a B going into the final exam but received a D+ in the class. Would it be possible to go over the final with you? I’d like to know where I went wrong.” This way, you can discuss your final exam and learn from your mistakes. Or, if it turns out that your final exam was graded incorrectly, your professor can change your grade.

The wrong way is to contact your professor and say something like, “I got a D+ in this class, but I think you should have given me at least a C because I worked really hard and went to every class.” This approach doesn’t work for several reasons: 1) It’s up to the professor to determine what quality of work deserves what grades. Grade percentages are usually noted on the syllabus, and you can ask for feedback throughout the term to figure out how to produce better work. 2) Attendance and “hard work” don’t guarantee a good grade. You have to demonstrate that you’ve learned something and that you’re doing the kind of intellectual work they’re asking of you. Approaching an instructor in this way is likely to lead to an unproductive exchange.

There are two ways to look at mandatory attendance. The first is on the practical level: mandatory attendance means you are expected to attend a class every time it’s scheduled. In other words, go to class. Every time. Of course, this is sometimes not possible. If you are ill, you should not go to class. Your professor will detail his or her absence policy in the course syllabus. A typical requirement is that you inform your professor of your illness before you miss class. Perhaps a doctor’s note is required. Again, your professor will make his or her expectations known.

Mandatory attendance is also a University of Oregon policy.  All journalism courses are covered by the university’s mandatory attendance policy. This is denoted by the letter “A” in the notes section of the class schedule.

The official policy is on the Office of the Registrar’s website. It reads and I quote, “Academic departments may require students to attend the first and/or second meetings of designated classes.” End quote. It goes on to say you may be directed by the academic department to drop the course so that the seat may be given to another student.

Because all journalism classes are tagged as mandatory attendance classes in the class schedule, a journalism instructor can choose to invoke this policy if a student does not attend the first day of class. If the instructor chooses to invoke this policy, the journalism advisors will enforce this policy rigidly. Students will be notified via email to withdraw from the course. If the student remains on the roster, he/she will earn an F grade at the end of the term.

An important part of the policy is the expectation that students are responsible for dropping their own classes. If you run afoul of this policy, you are still expected to go into Duck Web, use the “add/drop classes” function in the registration menu and drop the class. Whether you get a refund depends on when you actually drop the class; the normal refund timetable applies.

To avoid this problem check your schedule before the term begins. Make sure you are registered for everything you know you need. And go to class. Don’t think just because it’s the first day, you get a freebie. If you know ahead of time you won’t be able to make the first class, contact the instructor immediately. That way, if he/she informs you the mandatory attendance policy will be upheld, you’ll have time to change your schedule.

Yes, it’s true but this 12-credit limit is based on one, very large assumption. It assumes you’re going to graduate with EXACTLY 180 credits.

A bachelors of arts or science degree requires at least 180 credits. Out of that 180, 168 credits need to be taken graded. 180 minus 168 is 12.

So does this mean you can’t have more than 12 pass/no pass credits? No, you can. However, if you do, you have to graduate with more than 180 credits. If you want to take 4 classes (or 16 credits) pass/no pass, you must complete at least 184 credits.

Remember, if you take a course pass/no pass and you end up not passing it, those credits don’t count against your 12-credit limit. In other words, if you’ve never taken anything pass/no pass before and you choose to take MATH 111 pass/no pass, and at the end of the term, you discovered you earned a “no pass,” you still haven’t taken anything pass/no pass. You still have 12 credits at your disposal. And yes, all of this is still based on the assumption you’ll graduate with exactly 180 credits.

No you may not. Beginning fall 2011 all journalism majors must take their journalism courses for a grade and earn a C or better to fulfill their requirements. This rule does not apply to coursework taken before fall 2011.

Beginning fall 2013 all media studies and communication studies minors must take their journalism courses for a grade and earn a C or better to fulfill their requirements. This rule does not apply to coursework taken before fall 2013.

In most cases, no. In some cases, maybe. It really depends on how that W is perceived.

A W is one of 20 possible grades you may see on your academic transcript. It means you withdrew from the course without a penalty. You don’t earn credit for the course nor does it affect your GPA.

So, because it doesn’t affect your GPA, a W is not a bad thing. Does it say something about you as a student? Well, it says you didn’t complete the course but there could be one of 100 reasons why you didn’t do that. And many of those reasons are good ones.

So why is a W bad in some cases? Again, it boils down to perceptions. One or two W’s in an academic transcript that’s filled with As and Bs will probably not be noticed. One or two W’s in an academic transcript that’s filled with Cs, Ds and Fs are more of an issue. But really, if your transcript is that bad, the W is probably the least of your troubles. We are more likely to talk to you about the Cs, Ds and Fs than we are about the Ws.

So how does one get a W in the first place? Well, one has to withdraw from the course by a certain time in the term. The university has two withdraw or drop deadlines. The first deadline, usually the second Monday of the term, allows you to withdraw from a course without getting a W grade. If you do that, the course will simply not exist on your transcript. The second deadline, usually the end of the 7thweek of the term, allows you to withdraw from a course and earn the W grade in the process. Beyond this deadline, you won’t be able to withdraw from a course, with or without the W.

The lowest grade for which you can earn credit is a D-. However, you may need higher than a D- to satisfy whichever requirement you’re hoping to use the course for.

For the journalism school, you must earn at least a C in all J classes to satisfy major requirements. So, let’s say you take J 385: Communication Law for the Core Context requirement and earn a C-. You will earn university credit for the class (because it’s higher than a D-) but it is not high enough to satisfy major requirements (because it’s less than a C). You will need to take another class in its place and earn at least a C to successfully satisfy the requirement. If you have the option to do so, it often makes more sense to take a new class toward that requirement than to replace the class you received the C- in. Talk to your advisor about this.

With your general education requirements, there are at least three requirements with a C- minimum instead of the D-. To satisfactorily complete the Writing classes (WR 121, 122, 123), the foreign language courses for the Bachelor of Arts requirement (ex. Span 203), and the math/computer science courses for the Bachelor of Science, you must earn a C- or above in those classes. For the university group requirements (Arts & Letters, Social Science, Science) as well as the SOJC non-major requirements (literature, history, economics), a D- will suffice.

If you change the grading option on a class to “pass/no pass,” your performance in that class will not affect your GPA. If you pass the class, you get credit for it. If you don’t pass it, you don’t get the credit. The equivalent of a C- is required to earn a “pass.”

There is a limit on how often you can choose to do this, however. You need at least 180 credits to graduate. Of those 180, you may choose to take 12 credits pass/no pass. That 12 does not include courses that are only offered pass/no pass. Those classes are listed as P* credits and contribute to the 168 graded (ABCDP*) credits you need for graduation.

In fall, winter and spring, you have until the end of the seventh week of the term to change your grading option on DuckWeb. Note that some classes are listed as “Graded for All Students” and will not give you the option to switch. Other times it’s just not a good idea to switch, even if it’s an option. For the most part, major and minor courses have to be taken graded. Most other courses are fair game, however, including the general education requirements or the SOJC requirements in literature, history, economics, etc. As always, check with an advisor if you’re not sure if it’s a good idea to change a class to pass/no pass.

Registration

How am I supposed to know when academic deadlines are?

The registrar’s office maintains a detailed academic calendar of administrative dates and deadlines, including deadlines for adding and dropping classes, deadlines for changing your grading option and withdrawing from classes and dates for priority registration. It looks several terms into the future, so you can always plan ahead and make sure you’re prepared for those deadlines. You can also find administrative deadlines for each individual class in the CRN description, available on DuckWeb (student menu –> registration menu –> search for classes) or on classes.uoregon.edu.

You will also have academic deadlines you need to meet for each class. The professor typically outlines these in the syllabus they provide to you on the first day of class. Put them in your planner or on your calendar right away so that none of those assignments slip by you. When a prof says a paper is due at noon, they do mean 12:00 pm, not 12:03 or 12:15. Turning an assignment in late or arriving late for an exam (even by a few minutes!) may mean you get reduced credit for the assignment, or it may mean that you forfeit the opportunity to earn credit at all. Deadlines are important. This is a journalism program; it is vital that you meet or beat every deadline you face.

Are my final exams at the same time as my classes?

After you’ve registered for classes, check the registrar’s office website to figure out your final examination schedule. If the class schedule you’ve designed gives you more than two final exams on the same day, you may wish to adjust your registration to come up with a less intense final exam schedule.

Not all courses will have a final exam. The course syllabus you receive on the first day of class will tell you if one is planned. Remember, instructors will not reschedule a final exam. Do not make travel arrangements until you are sure when you can leave campus at the end of each term.

I have a hold on my account. What do I do?

Holds can exist for a variety of reasons and usually restrict your ability to register for classes or change your schedule.

Some of the most common restrictions are from the:

  • Student Health Center, placed when a new student fails to file their measles immunization documentation in a timely manner.
  • Registrar’s Office, placed on transfer students who haven’t transferred in their final transcripts from their previous school.
  • Business Affairs Office, placed on past-due accounts.

These holds are not lifted until you’ve resolved the cause of the hold, whether that be sending in your immunization records, your latest transcripts or the minimum payment owed to the University. If you’re not sure about your options, speak directly to the department that has placed the hold on your account. Though frustrating, these holds are for your protection and designed to promote campus health, academic integrity and personal financial wellbeing.

What is “auditing” a class? Is it the same as sitting in on a class?

To audit a class means to take a class without earning a grade for it. These courses do not fulfill degree requirements and do not count toward your GPA. You do still have to register and pay for the course. It tends to be an appealing option for students who want the content of the course but don’t need it to complete any requirements. Audited courses appear on your audit as “AU.”

If you decide to audit a class, you will need to pick up an audit sign-up form at the Registrar’s Office on the second floor of Oregon Hall. These are available starting the first day of classes. You must go through this registration process so that both the registrar and the academic department know you’re attending the class.

Standard registration restrictions tend to apply. Most departments, including the SOJC, enforce prerequisites for audited classes. If you don’t meet the printed prereqs, you will need to obtain instructor consent before you can register for the course. If a class is full, you will not be able to register for it.  Additionally, there are deadlines: the last day to register to audit a class or to change from a credit class to an audit class is the same deadline as the last day to add a regular class.

If you are an Oregon resident aged 65 or older and you are not seeking academic credits or working toward a degree, you may audit a class at no charge if space is available. Incidental fee privileges are not provided and you must still pay special course materials fees, if any apply.

What is the maximum number of credits I can take each term?

During initial registration, you are restricted to 18 credits. About two weeks before the new term begins, every student in good standing has that credit limit raised to 21. At the same time, students can register for up to 24 credits if they provide the registrar’s office with written approval from their advisor. Students who wish to register for more than 24 credits need to petition the Academic Requirements Committee. Contact the registrar’s office for more details about that.

If you are on academic probation, you are restricted to 15 credits per term. There is no exception to this limit. You remain at this limit until you raise your cumulative GPA enough to take you off academic probation.

Numbers aside, you should also consider this question, “SHOULD I register for more than 18 credits?” Of course, it depends on your circumstances and the make-up of those 18+ credits. Don’t be surprised if you find your advisor trying to advise you out of doing this. We are often concerned about finding that good balance between work and play. Loading up on too many credits can have a negative impact on your well-being, your stress level, your relationship with family and friends, and your ability to do your best work in all your classes. We want to make sure you’re not setting yourself up for failure. And besides, what’s the point of registering and paying for 20 credits if you are going to end up withdrawing or failing some of them?

All that said, it is still your choice. If you want to do it, and you have good reasons for doing it, a good registration strategy would be to register for your crucial credits when you’re still limited to 18 credits. Save the less crucial credits for when your enrollment limit is bumped up.

May I take more than one journalism course a term?

Yes, you may take more than one journalism course per term. There are restrictions however and you want to be careful of those. Some journalism courses are prerequisite for others. J342 Creative Strategist, for example, is a prerequisite for J458 Writing Design Concepts. In this case, you may not take them together. If prerequisites are not a factor, you may take more than one journalism course at the same time. Coming back to that example, you can, if you wish, take J342 Creative Strategist with J207 Gateway to Media III.

The Gateway series is an example of how you have to take some journalism courses together. J205 Gateway to Media I and J206 Gateway to Media II are co-requisite classes. What that means is that they have to be taken together in the same term. So in this case, you have to take at least two journalism courses in the same term.

Finally, is there a limit to how many journalism courses you can take in one term? Prerequisites and course load limits aside, no, there isn’t. However, given the demanding nature of journalism courses, we tend to discourage loading up on them, especially if they are all hands-on, professional skill classes. The advertising concentration can put you in this situation. After J342 Principles of Advertising and before J448 Advertising Campaigns, you have to take at least three professional advertising courses. You could, in theory, take all three in one term. However, you are highly encouraged to spread those three courses out over at least two terms. Three terms would be better. The pathway requirement in the Journalism concentration is another example. After Reporting I and Reporting II or Journalistic Interview, you have to take three Pathway courses and, like advertising, are encouraged to spread those out over a few terms as well.

I don’t see the course I want to take on the schedule next term. What do I do?

Figuring out your schedule and registering for classes can sometimes bring about panicked moments like these. If you don’t see the course you want to take listed on the schedule next term. That can mean one of two things. Either the course is offered but is full, or the course is not offered.

If the course is full we recommend you register for a back-up course and then contact the instructor to see if there is a waiting list. We also recommend you look into the possibility of taking another course that may fulfill the same requirement. Your advisor can help you with that.

If the course is not offered there is not a whole lot you can do. Many courses are not offered every term. Some only come around once a year or even once every two years.  If you need the course to graduate, you will have to wait for that course to come around again.  You can look into the possibility of taking another course to fulfill the requirement. Sometimes this works and sometimes this doesn’t. This is a good reason to get an early understanding of your requirements and the courses you need to complete a degree. The more planning ahead you do, the less likely you will encounter scenarios like these.

If you are not sure whether the course is full or whether it is not offered we recommend that you check your classes on the actual class schedule at classes.uoregon.edu.  Most students find courses through Duck Web’s “Search for Open Classes” function.  If a course is full, it will not show up in your search results.

One final note: departments often make changes to their course offerings. They sometimes have to add classes or change class times. They sometimes have to cancel classes. Journalism is not an exception. Our schedule changes even after registration has begun. The all-important course you need may be added to the schedule at the last minute. Or seats may be added to a full section. So keep checking.

What is variable credit?

Variable credit courses are courses that can be taken for a range of credits. The more credits you register for, the more work you do for the course. Variable credit courses are often independent study courses. However, some departments do offer academic courses that are variable credit.

The Duck Web default for variable credit courses is the fewest number of credits available for the course. For example, if you register for a course that’s listed as a 3-4 credit course, Duck Web will initially register you for only 3 credits. You’ll take an additional step to change the three credits to four.

As we mentioned earlier, independent study credit is commonly listed as a variable credit. Because these experiences are so personalized, the number of credits you receive correspond to the amount of work you do. In this case, the Duck Web default is one credit. You take the additional step to change that one credit to something more, if that was what was agreed to by you and your faculty advisor.

Taking that additional step to change the number of credits is often the step students forget. You have to use the “change variable credit or grading option” function in your Duck Web registration menu to manually change the number of credits on your variable credit course. This is not done for you; you do it yourself after you’ve added the course to your schedule. The good news is the deadline to change your variable credit isn’t until later in the term, long after the deadline to add the credit. So, if you forgot to do it when you first added the credit, you can usually correct that later on.

Remember, with independent study credit, the number of credits you register for must be pre-approved by your faculty advisor. If your faculty advisor thinks you’re doing the independent study credit for one credit and you register for three credits, you will not earn a passing grade for those three credits.