FAQs



Question mark icon

Advising FAQs

Q. When will I find out who my advisor is?

Advisors are assigned based on your major and as soon as you receive your acceptance letter, you'll have an advisor. To discover who your advisor is, visit the Who Is My Advisor page, select your major, and then reach out to your advisor or one of the members of your college's advising team.

Q. Is advising mandatory?

Yes and no. Yes, you need to see your academic advisor every semester if one (or more) of the following apply to you:

  • No SHSU GPA - If you are a new student at SHSU, then you must be advised
    • (a) before you start your first semester
    • and -
    • (b) before you start your second semester.
  • SHSU and/or Overall GPA is below a 2.50 - College life can be hard, so we want you to have the guidance and resources to achieve your academic goals.
  • Texas Success Initiative (TSI) requirements are not complete - As a state university, SHSU must follow the TSI guidelines, so you will meet with an advisor each semester to make sure you are in the correct developmental course (if applicable).
  • Undeclared major - If your major is listed as General Core, then you must meet with an advisor and officially pick a major by the time you earn 45 hours of coursework.
  • Senior Status - If you are a senior (completed 90+ hours of coursework), then you will meet with your advisor to make sure you are on the right path for graduation.

If none of the above applies to you, then, no, advising is not mandatory. However, you can choose to see an advisor at any time and all students are encouraged to meet with an advisor if they have questions.

Q. How do I contact my advisor?

You can contact your advisor by email or by setting an advising appointment.

Q. Can I just drop by and see an advisor?

At the SAM Center, we will see students who walk-in from when we open at 7:30 am until 10 am, when we shift to appointments only.

Q. When can I make an appointment?

You can go online and make an appointment at any time. Individual advisor's availability will vary, but you can see all of your advisor's free appointments by using the Campus Connect system.

At the SAM Center, we have appointments from 10am until we close at 5pm.

Q. How do I make an appointment?

You can set an appointment by using the Campus Connect system. Please visit the How Do I Get Advised? webpage for more detailed instructions.

Q. When is the best time for advising?

Anytime you have questions. Otherwise, academic advising for the next semester opens early in the current semester to provide you enough time to prepare and advisors enough time to advise all of their students. Please refer to the Academic Calendar for specific dates.

Q. How long does an advising session last?

Your advising session might last anywhere from a couple of minutes to a half hour. To ensure you have every answer you need, we schedule all advising appointments for 30 minutes. Should you need longer, you can schedule another appointment as soon as there is availability.

Q. What do I need to bring to an advising session?

If you are a beginning student:

  • Make sure all your preliminary entrance tests are on file with the Undergraduate Admissions office - We cannot advise and clear you if the proper test scores are not posted to your permanent SHSU transcript.
  • Check your SHSU e-email BEFORE you come to your advising meeting as SHSU will notify you if you are missing information
  • A list of all dual credit, AP, IB, and CLEP credit
  • Your desired major/minor/concentration
  • Any and all questions you have regarding academic advising so we can help you transition to SHSU

If you are a current student:

  • A list of courses you hope to take the next semester
  • Any and all questions you have regarding academic advising so we can help you complete you on your path to graduation

If you are a transfer student:

  • Bring an official transcript
  • A list of the courses you're currently taking
  • Your desired major/minor/concentration
  • Any and all questions you have regarding academic advising so we can help you transition to SHSU
Q. What is TSI and what are the requirements for completion?

TSI stands for Texas Success Initiative and it is a state-legislated program designed to improve student success. There are two componenets:

  1. An assessment (TSI-A) to assess your basic reading, math, and writing skills
  2. Developmental instruction designed to enhance your skills

You can be exempt - see the Registrar's TSI Exemption webpage.

You can retest - see SHSU's Testing Center website.

You can find more information about TSI on the Registrar's Texas Success Initiative webpage.

Q. Do I have to take math the first semester?

Yes. To help ensure your success, the Office of the Provost mandates that all undergraduate student enroll in their core math until they complete the requirement.

Q. How does SHSU number its courses?

SHSU uses a modified version of the Texas Common Course Numbering (TCCN) system. This system is a 4x4 alphanumeric system, so each course has a four letter and four-digit designation. For example, ENGL 1301 is the course number for Composition I. The four letters refer to the department/subject area (i.e., ENGL for the English Department). The four numbers are its course number and have varying meaning:

  • the first digit is the course level
    • 1 = freshman
    • 2 = sophomore
    • 3 = junior
    • 4 = senior
    • 5+ = graduate school
  • the second digit is the number of credit hours the course is worth
    • 1 = 1 hour
    • 2 = 2 hours
    • 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 = 3 hours, the most common credit hour
    • 4 = 4 hours
    • 0 = variable credit hours, speak with your advisor before registering
  • the third and fourth digits are for departmental sequencing (e.g., ENGL 1301 comes before ENGL 1302)
Q. What is the core curriculum and how many classes are required for completion?

The core curriculum, often called the common core, mandated by the Texas Higher Education Board (THECB), consists of 42 hours of college-level courses you must complete along with the requirements of your chosen degree path (e.g., major/minor).

For more information on the core curriculum, please visit the Core Curriculum section of your catalog.

NOTE: The core can change from one year to the next, so you need to view your specific catalog. You can find your catalog year by using Degree Works: look at the right side of the gray bar that has Bachelor of [your degree]. You can then find your specific catalog on the SHSU Catalog Directory web page.

Q. Are there any prerequisites for advanced courses?

Yes. Most, but not all, departments design their programs so that there is a specific order to the courses taken. Many advanced courses will have prerequisite courses of a lower level. You can find out what courses have prerequisites by reading the course descriptions in your catalog.

Q. Can I test out of courses and receive college credit?

Yes. You can find information about the tests on SHSU's Testing Center website.

Q. Will my courses transfer to SHSU?

Maybe. SHSU accepts a maximum of 66 credit hours (+4 kinesiology hours) from accredited 2-year institutions. SHSU will review all courses you attempted at a 4-year regionally accredited U.S. university. However, not all of your hours may apply to your chosen degree path, which is why you need to seek the aid of an academic advisor.

You can also review the Transfer Equivalency Guide to see if courses at your institution are transferable to SHSU.

Q. Does SHSU recognize AP/IB credit?

Yes. SHSU recognizes both AP and IB course credit. Please review the Testing Center's Advanced Placement Program (AP) and International Baccalaureate Program (IB) websites.

Q. How do I register?

Registration is online through the MySam portal. For specific instructions, please visit the Registrar's How-To Register and More webpage.

Q. How do I drop a class?

You can drop classes online in the same manner in which you registered for them.

NOTE: There is a final date for Q-drops, so pleases pay close attention to the Academic Calendar

Q. How do I calculate my GPA?

You can calculate your Grade Point Average, or GPA, by dividing the total number of earned grade points (also known as quality points) by the total number of credit hours applied towards your degree (listed in Degree Works as GPA Hours). The resulting quotient is your GPA (do not round). You can look at your degree plan in Degree Works to find your grade points and GPA hours. At SHSU, you GPA may range from 0.00 to 4.00.

If you are interested in what-if scenarios for your GPA, you can use a GPA calculator found on the Self-Service Tools & Tips webpage.

If you are interested in more information regarding GPAs, grade points, and credit hours, then you can review the course Academic Policies & Procedures section in your catalog. Most current Academic Policies & Procedures.

Q. Can I repeat a course to improve my GPA?

Yes. At SHSU, we take the highest course grade and apply it to your GPA. You can repeat a course at any time in your college career. In order to improve your GPA, you will need to score higher than your first attempt (e.g., repeat a course you failed and earn an A).

Caution: There are several resons repeating a course may not be a good idea:

  • If you already have credit for the course (D or better) then your financial aid funds will not pay for the repeat.
  • Repeating courses takes more time, which might affect your graduation date.
  • Your original course grade determines the potential benefit to your GPA. For example, repeating an F and earning an A will boost your GPA far better than repeating a B and earning an A.
  • If you repeat a course three or more times (called a three-peat), then the course will cost out-of-state tuition. See the Bursar's Tuition & Fee Schedules for the current year.
Q. Can I repeat a course at a different institution to improve my GPA?

Yes. At SHSU, we take the highest course grade and apply it to your GPA.

However, this will not necessarily boost your GPA. After you repeat a course at a different institution and earn a higher grade, SHSU will exclude the lower course from your SHSU GPA calculation. In turn, your transfer GPA will change due to the new grade points and hours. The number of hours and grade points you already have determines the change to both of your GPAs.

Q. I'm on probation, what do I do?

After the close of the semester, the Registrar's Office sends an email to the SHSU account of all students placed on academic probation. If you received this email, you are on academic probation. You need to do the following:

  • See your advisor to remove the Probation Advisement Block that is on your account.
  • Advisors will discuss your options and help you figure out the best path to return to good academic standing (2.00+ GPA).
  • Update your course schedule if the advisor suggested you change your schedule or repeat courses to boost your GPA, which you can do after the advisor removes your block.
  • You might want to meet with your Financial Aid Counselor to see if/how your academic status affects your funding.

If you do not see your advisor, your account will remain blocked, and you will not be able to attend SHSU.

Please see the Registrar's Probation or Suspension webpage for more information.

Q. I'm on suspension, what do I do?

After the close of the semester, the Registrar's Office sends an email to the SHSU account of all students placed on suspension. If you received this email, you are on academic suspension. You need to do the following:

  • Meet with your academic dean to petition re-admittance to the university.
    • If the dean grants your petition, then you can continue at SHSU.
    • If the dean does not grant your petition, then you will need to wait one more semester and then re-petition the dean.
  • If you have not been in school for more than a year, you need to reapply to SHSU and pay the application fee.
  • See your advisor to remove the Suspension Advisement Block that is on your account.
  • Advisors will discuss your options and help you figure out the best path to return to good academic standing (2.00+ GPA).
  • Update your course schedule if the advisor suggested you change your schedule or repeat courses to boost your GPA, which you can do after the advisor removes your block.
  • You need to meet with your Financial Aid Counselor to see if/how your academic status affects your funding.

If you do not meet with your dean, your advisor, and reapply (if applicable), then your account will remain blocked and you will not be able to attend SHSU.

Please see the Registrar's Probation or Suspension webpage for more information.

Q. Where can I get a copy of my degree plan?

You can look at your degree plan anytime by accessing Degree Works then clicking the Save as PDF button and printing out or downloading the PDF.

To learn how to access Degree Works, go to the How Do I Access Degree Works question in the Degree Works FAQ.

Q. Where can I get a copy of my transcript?

Unofficial Transcript

You can access your unofficial transcript by:

  • Clicking on MySam
  • Click on the Campus Resources tab
  • Going to the Office of the Registrar information box
  • Clicking on Transcripts-Unofficial
  • Choosing your Transcript Level (Undergraduate or Graduate)
  • Clicking submit and then print the webpage

Official Transcript

You can order an official transcript by:

  • Clicking on MySam
  • Clicking on the Campus Resources tab
  • Going to the Office of the Registrar information box
  • Clicking on Transcripts-Official
  • Following the prompts provided by our offsite vendor

Back to Main Options


Browser window icon

Degree Works FAQs

Q. What is Degree Works?

Degree Works is a web-based advising tool that produces an easy-to-read and user-friendly academic evaluation to help you and your advisor(s) monitor your progress toward degree completion. Degree Works outlines the degree requirements found in the SHSU Catalog and your completed and attempted coursework to give you and your advisor(s) better information to plan your academic path.

Q. Why should I use Degree Works?

Degree Works will help you...

  • determine what requirements you need to satisfy in order to complete your degree;
  • view your course grades and your major, minor, SHSU, transfer, and overall grade point averages (GPA);
  • determine which courses you have taken or transferred, and which ones count as electives;
  • view transfer credits, waivers, and exemptions applied toward your degree;
  • see how your coursework would fit in a different major, minor, or concentration by means of the What-If function;
  • check on your academic standing; and
  • learn about your majors/minors required coursework and the prerequisites (completed before) and corequisites (taken at the same time) for courses by clicking on the course numbers.
Q. How do I access Degree Works?

You access Degree Works through your MySam portal then going to the Students Tab and clicking on the Access to Degree Works. Alternatively, you can click on the link provided and then sign in with your SHSU username and password when prompted: Degree Works

Q. Who will use Degree Works?

All students at SHSU will use Degree Works. Additionally, all academic advisors and auditors in the Registrar's Office use the software.

Q. Is my information confidential?

Yes. Like other processes you use through the MySam portal, you must use the secure login to access Degree Works. Remember that your advisor, faculty, and authorized staff will be able to view the information contained in Degree Works.

For more information regarding student privacy, please review the Registrar's Student Privacy Information page.

Q. Can I register for classes in Degree Works?

No. Registration (including prerequisite checks) will occur within the MySam system. To learn how to register, you can watch the video found on the How To Register web page.

Q. Can I change my major through Degree Works?

No. Please contact your Academic Advisor to change your major.

Q. Can I save or print my Degree Works academic evaluation?

Yes. With the 'Save as PDF' button, you can save or print a PDF version of your Degree Works academic evaluation. When doing so, please be aware of FERPA regulations.

Back to Main Options


View our calendar to see upcoming events that may impact you and your course selections!

Follow our social media pages to get advising reminders throughout the semester. Never miss a critical deadline again!

SAM Center Instagram
SAM Center Twitter
SAM Center Facebook