Major Selection & Advisor Changes

Whether students come to Puget Sound “open” with respect to major (as all first-year students and many transfer students do) or in a declared major, they may declare or change a major or choose a new advisor at any time after they have completed their first semester, freshman year. They make these changes using tools available on their Cascade Web menus.

Most students have only one advisor, and that advisor is designated as their advisor of record, or “primary” advisor. But students may elect to have more than one advisor, and additional advisors are designated as “secondary” advisors. When students have yet to declare a major, they are free to select primary and (if they wish) secondary advisors without constraint after their first term. When students declare a major, they must select a primary advisor in the department of their major. When students declare a second major, they must select a secondary advisor in the department of their second major. Students may choose secondary advisors in addition to their major advisor(s) at any time (e.g., an advisor to help them plan a pre-med curriculum). The primary reason for officially selecting a secondary advisor outside the major is to give that faculty member access to online academic records. The following are key distinctions between primary and secondary advisors:

A Primary Advisor:

  • Provides support to advisees in developing an overall academic program
  • When a major is declared, counsels the advisee in selection of courses and sequencing of major program
  • Meets regularly with advisees to plan class schedules and facilitate registration
  • Is available for consultation in cases of student academic difficulty
  • Makes necessary referrals when advisees need non-academic assistance
  • Supports advisees in developing petitions for waiver of policy, as warranted
  • Supports advisees in pursuit of special opportunities (e.g., study abroad)

A Secondary Advisor:

  • Monitors advisee progress toward meeting second major, minor or special program requirements
  • Offers advisees disciplinary guidance with respect to careers, graduate school
  • Provides support for student pursuit of opportunities outside the major