The Academic Advising Center

The Academic Advising Center (AAC) introduces Boston College students to the Jesuit formula of Ignatian discernment. It's our mission to direct students’ scholarly pursuits to lead meaningful and purposeful lives. Rooted in the Catholic Intellectual Tradition, the AAC is an essential resource to navigate and develop the cerebral, spiritual, and civil responsibilities of our community.

Appreciating and honoring the diversity of Boston College, we equip students to be academically prepared while attentive to the universal call of responsible care for creation and solidarity with those on the margins. Focused on the Jesuit ideal of eloquentia perfecta, we work to enhance the University’s care and cultivation of the whole person: encouraging the development of articulate, critical, and socially-minded persons.  

The AAC (along with over 150 faculty advisors) coordinates several critical programs and initiatives for the Dean of the College. From summer orientation to commencement, we guide the academic pursuits of our students. The Pre-Health Program is a crucial part of the AAC as well as the Class Deans of Morrissey College. We are the academic matchmakers facilitating our students’ scholarly way of proceeding.

Contact

Stokes Hall S132
617-552-9259
Monday–Friday
8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
aac@bc.edu

Spring 2020 FAQs

Due to the transition to online classes, the University has made the following temporary adjustments to the academic procedures for the Spring 2020 semester. For campus-wide updates, refer to Boston College's Coronavirus Updates page.

bc coronavirus page

Is this policy continuing past this current semester?

No. These changes in the pass/fail policy are for the Spring 2020 semester only. 

When is the deadline to declare a course pass/fail?

12:00 p.m. (noon) EDT on April 30, 2020. Please note that since the deadline has been extended, there will be no further extensions granted past this time. 

How do I designate a course to be pass/fail?

Student Services is working on a process that will operate through the Agora Portal. Details on this process will be available by April 9. 

Can I declare all of my courses pass/fail?

Yes. There is no limit this semester (Spring 2020) on the number of courses you can make pass/fail. 

If I declare a Core course pass/fail, will it still fulfill that requirement?

Yes. Core courses can be taken pass/fail and still fulfill the Core requirement if you receive a pass. If you fail the course, it will not fulfill the requirement. 

If I declare a required course for my major/minor or a corequisite pass/fail, will it still fulfill that requirement?

Yes. Courses that are required for your major/minor or corequisite can be taken pass/fail and still fulfill the requirement if you receive a pass. If you fail the course, it will not fulfill the requirement. 

Will I receive credits for the pass/fail course?

Yes, you will earn the credits if you pass. If you take a three-credit course pass/fail and pass the course, you will receive three credits. If you do not pass the course, you do not receive credits. 

How does a pass/fail course affect my GPA?

You do not receive GPA credit for a course when you pass a pass/fail class. If you fail the course, you will receive three credits of 0.0 factored into your GPA. If you take five classes pass/fail, the term GPA will be 0.0 but not counted into your GPA. 

How does a pass/fail appear on my transcript?

On your transcript, a P or F will appear where a grade typically would be. 

I studied abroad this spring. Can I change my classes to pass/fail?

Contact OIP for information about your specific program. 

OIP website

Will my professors know I am taking the class pass/fail?

In keeping with the usual policy, if a student has declared a class pass/fail, the professor will not see that designation until they submit grades at the end of the semester. All grading and assignments will continue as usual until the final grade is submitted. If your grade is a D- or above, you will get a P, along with the credits earned. These classes will not factor into your GPA. If you fail the course, you will get an F, and it is calculated into your GPA. 

Can freshmen take classes pass/fail?

Yes. Freshmen can take classes pass/fail this semester. This is a one-time exception. 

How will future employers view pass/fail on a transcript?

The truth is we don't know how an employer would view a pass/fail. However, many of our peer institutions have instituted similar policies this semester. 

How will it look on graduate school applications?

Similar to the question above, we don't know how pass/fail courses would be viewed on a graduate school application. It's best to check with those institutions to see if they have made a statement about how pass/fail courses will be handled. For specific information on pre-health programs, consult the pre-health website. 

visit the pre-health website

If I declare a course pass/fail, can I change my mind later in the semester?

No. Once you declare a course pass/fail, the decision is irreversible. 

Would you recommend making courses pass/fail?

The decision will have to be one that you make yourself. What we can recommend is that you take some time to consider your options before you make a decision. The transition to online teaching just began. We suggest you take a few weeks to see how it goes before you decide, as you will benefit from seeing how your classes progress. To be clear, once you make a course pass/fail, you cannot change it back.

Can I qualify for the Dean’s List if I take a course pass/fail?

In order to be eligible for the Dean's List, students must earn at least 12 or more credits in courses evaluated with a letter grade, excluding the P (pass) grade, and receive a passing letter grade in all courses. Students who have failed a course and students who have received an incomplete grade for the current semester (Spring 2020) will not be eligible for the Dean's List.

What are some tips for a good class through Zoom?

In face to face class meetings, we are all accustomed to the practices expected of students in a classroom. Certain norms, such as arriving on time, raising your hand to speak, and being respectful of your peers and faculty are expected. Practicing good video meeting etiquette is similarly critical to ensuring that your classes continue to be a positive experience. Here are five tips to ensure a rewarding and productive remote classroom.

1. Be sure to mute your mic if you are not speaking. This will help to avoid background noise and distractions for others.

2. If you want to speak, use the “raise hand” feature that is available at the bottom center of your screen in the “Participants” feature.

3.  You can use the “Chat” feature (also on the bottom and center of your screen) to ask questions and make comments silently if necessary.

4. Avoid distracting others in the meeting. Be sure that there is nothing visually distracting, like cars or people going by in the background. Be mindful of your attire. If you would not go to class without a shirt on or in your pajamas, you should not attend class remotely undressed either. Be aware of background lighting. If you are sitting in front of a window, you may be completely darkened by the light coming through the window. Your overhead light also might need to be turned off or dimmed as well.

5. Only invite meeting participants who need to be there. Never share the Zoom link with anyone that is not in the class. Inviting friends who are not in the class can be detrimental to the experience for everyone. Students who intentionally disrupt a class that is being held remotely will be subject to disciplinary action.

What's the difference between a drop and a withdrawal?

If you drop a class, the class disappears from your transcript like you never were in the class. If you withdraw from a class, the course will show up on your transcript with a W next to it. Boston College has extended the drop date until 12:00 p.m. EDT on April 9. The withdrawal deadline is April 30 at 12:00 p.m. 

When is the last day to drop a class?

April 9, 2020 at 12:00 p.m. EDT. 

When is the last day to withdraw from a class?

April 30, 2020 at 12:00 p.m. EDT. 

If I already withdrew from a class this semester, can I now make it a drop?

Retroactively changing withdrawals from earlier in the semester to drops will not be automatic. Anyone who wants to change their withdrawal to a drop is required to fill out the same form we're using for current drops and withdrawals. This will ensure that they will go through the same review by Student Services and the Financial Aid office. After April 9 at noon, your options will be limited to pass/fail or withdraw from a course. 

How do I drop/withdraw from a class?

Fill out the University Drop/Withdrawal form below. If you're unable to access the Google form from your home, an editable PDF will be available soon on the Student Services forms page. Fill out the pdf and email it to casdean@bc.edu.

University Drop/withdrawal form

student services forms

Can I drop and/or withdraw from more than one course?

You must maintain full-time status, which means you must be enrolled in at least 12 credits. If you have any questions or circumstances, please contact the Associate Dean's office.

contact the associate dean's office  

I'm an international student. Can I drop or withdraw from classes?

Yes, but you must maintain full-time status (at least 12 credits) in order to keep your F-1 visa in good standing. 

I'm a student athlete. Can I drop or withdraw from classes?

Yes, but you should first get this cleared by your advisor in SAAS, then fill out the drop/withdrawal form. 

Can I take an online summer course at another institution?

Yes. For Summer 2020 only, approved online courses taken at another institution will be accepted. You must complete a Course Pre-Approval Form found on the Student Services Forms page. Only courses from a 4-year accredited college or university will be considered (we do not accept community college courses).

If you want to receive major, minor, or Core credit, you will need to email the information on where you plan to take the course along with a course description or syllabus to the appropriate academic department. If the department grants the approval, send the form and the approval email to your Associate Dean (casdean@bc.edu) for final approval.

Students can take a maximum of 4 courses per summer. No more than 24 credits may be taken at outside institutions toward your MCAS degree. It is preferable to take online courses at BC. This policy adjustment is for Summer 2020 only.

How will summer courses impact my GPA? 

The following applies for summer courses taken at another institution:

For Credit

Only students who have credit deficiencies previously incurred through failure, withdrawal, underload or transfer will receive credit for pre-approved courses taken outside of Boston College. These courses will count toward the expected number of courses or credits required for graduation, and grades will be calculated into their GPA. Courses taken at BC will count as credits. 

For Enrichment

Students who don't have any credit deficiencies will only receive enrichment credit for courses taken outside of Boston College. They can satisfy Core or major requirements with department permission, but the course credits won't count toward the 120 credits required for the degree. Courses, grades, and credits will be listed on the transcript but won't be calculated into the GPA. With the approval of their Associate Dean, students who incur deficiencies can in limited cases use enrichment courses from previous summers to make up for deficiencies incurred subsequently.

Can I take summer courses pass/fail?

No, pass/fail has not been offered as an option for summer courses. If you register for a summer course, you should plan to earn a letter grade. 

How can we help you?

item match your criteria

AP and Advanced Standing
<h3><span class="maroon">Will my AP classes count?&nbsp;</span></h3> <p>Students with qualifying scores on AP, IB, or other accepted exams will be granted advanced placement. In most cases, you will not earn actual credit—rather, these exames will fulfill corresponding requirements in the University Core Curriculum or your major or minor. Consult the list of accepted exams and scores.</p> <p><a href="/content/bc-web/admission/sites/advanced-placement.html" adhocenable="false"><span class="btn btn-default btn-maroon">list of accepted exams and scores</span></a></p> <h3><span class="maroon">What is Advanced Standing, and how do I apply for it?</span></h3> <p>Students who earned a total of 30 Advanced Placement units may be eligible for Advanced Standing and have the option to complete their undergraduate studies in three years. Students interested in this option should make an appointment with their Associate Dean after completing their first semester; no decisions on Advanced Standing will be made prior to that time. A decision to activate Advanced Standing should be made no later than the spring of Sophomore year.&nbsp;</p> <p>Students seeking Advanced Standing should be prepared to show their Associate Dean a detailed plan to complete all degree requirements by the proposed graduation date. Approval for Advanced Standing by their Associate Dean must be granted before the start of their third year of undergraduate study.</p>
bc:schools/MCAS/advising/FAQ/AP
Academic Advisors
<h3><span class="maroon">What is a pre-major advisor?</span></h3> <p>All first-year students are assigned a pre-major advisor and will remain with their pre-major advisor throughout their freshman year regardless of major declaration. Students enrolled in Courage to Know and Freshman Topic Seminars in the fall semester will have their course instructor as their pre-major advisor.</p> <p>There are some Perspectives and First-Year Writing Seminar courses that are designated as advising sections. Students may only take one advising section. Students who are not enrolled in an advising section will be assigned a pre-major advisor by the Academic Advising Center.</p> <h3><span class="maroon">What is a major advisor?&nbsp;</span></h3> <p>All sophomores, after declaring their major, will be assigned a faculty advisor from their major department. Faculty advisors are assigned based on your primary major. Students who have a second major or minor should visit the department or contact the Director of Undergraduate Studies for advising. Students who have interdisciplinary minors should contact the director of their minor.</p> <h3><span class="maroon">How do I find out who my advisor is?</span></h3> <p>Log into the Agora Portal. Under Accounts and Personal Info, click on Academic Advisor to find the name of your current advisor. Freshmen and undeclared sophomores with questions should contact the Academic Advising Center. All other students should contact their department.</p>
bc:schools/MCAS/advising/FAQ/academic-advisors
Acceleration
<p>After being in residence for at least three semesters and no later than the end of the drop/add period in the seventh semester, full-time undergraduate students may apply to their Associate Dean to accelerate their degree program by one semester. The following conditions apply:</p> <ul> <li><p>Summer courses intended for acceleration must be taken at Boston College.</p> </li> <li><p>Any credits over 15 in a semester used for acceleration are charged the per credit rate for the semester they are taken. Financial aid will not cover these additional charges.</p> </li> <li><p>Students transferring into Boston College with first-semester sophomore status or above are not eligible to accelerate their program of study.</p> </li> <li><p>Students who have elected to take Advanced Standing are not eligible to accelerate their graduation further.</p> </li> </ul>
Adding and Dropping Courses
<h3><span class="maroon">How do I add or drop a course?</span></h3> <p>You may add and drop classes from the time you register through the Wednesday of the second week of classes in a semester. Add and drop classes via the registration screen in UIS; you don't need approval to add an open, unrestricted course.</p> <p>If you have received approval from an instructor or department to be added to a restricted or closed course, submit an “Approval/Override” form&nbsp;to the MCAS Associate Dean’s Office in Stokes S132.</p> <p><a href="/content/dam/files/schools/lsoe/pdf/DoctoralApprovalOverrideForm.pdf"><span class="btn btn-default btn-maroon">Approval/Override form</span></a></p> <h3><span class="maroon">What is the max number of classes I can take each semester?&nbsp;</span></h3> <p>First-year students are not permitted to overload during their first semester at Boston College. Second-semester freshmen who wish to overload with a sixth course of three or more credits must have completed 15 credits and received a 3.0 GPA during their first semester.</p> <p>You are eligible to overload if you have earned at least a 3.0 overall cumulative GPA or a 3.0 GPA in the semester immediately prior to the one for which you seek an overload. If you are eligible, you may register online for the sixth course of three or more credits and a maximum of 24 credits, including labs and other one- and two-credit courses. You can add a sixth course only during the add/drop period each semester (from the first day of classes until the Wednesday of the second week of classes).</p> <p>Students with an overall cumulative GPA between 2.0 and 3.0 may, under exceptional circumstances, be allowed by their class dean to enroll in a sixth course. Students should visit the Academic Deans’ office in Stokes S132 to complete and submit a Course Overload Approval Form for review by their class dean.&nbsp;</p> <h3><span class="maroon">What's the difference between course drop and course withdrawal?</span></h3> <p>A course drop permanently removes a registered course from your student record. A course withdrawal eliminates the option to receive credit or final grade for a registered course. The grading mode is listed as “W,” indicating that you were registered for the course and withdrew after the add/drop deadline.</p> <h3><span class="maroon">Can I take a course at the Woods College of Advancing Studies or a hybrid course?&nbsp;</span></h3> <p>First-year students can't enroll in WCAS courses.</p> <p>For sophomores, juniors, and seniors:</p> <ul> <li>You are limited to one WCAS course each semester.</li> <li>You can't enroll in WCAS courses as pass/fail.</li> <li>You can begin registering for WCAS courses on the first day of the semester through the end of the add/drop period.</li> <li>WCAS courses can be used to fulfill elective requirements.</li> <li>WCAS courses can't fulfill Core, major, or minor requirements. Students who wish to use a WCAS for Core, major, or minor credit must present a Course Substitution and Waiver Form with the appropriate approval.</li> <li>You can enroll in hybrid courses with the permission of your class dean (but you can't enroll in Saturday classes).</li> </ul> <h3><span class="maroon">Auditing a Course</span></h3> <p>Undergraduate students may not audit a course in any semester of study.&nbsp;</p>
bc:schools/MCAS/advising/FAQ/adding-dropping
Courses From Other Institutions
<h3><span class="maroon">How do I get a course from another institution approved?</span></h3> <p>Complete a Course Pre-Approval form, which you can pick up in the Academic Advising Center.</p> <p>You must choose courses from an accredited college or university. (We do not accept community college courses.)&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>If you want to receive major or Core credit, you will need to submit the completed form and a course description to the appropriate department.</p> <p>Once the department grants approval, bring the form to the Academic Advising Center for the Associate Dean’s approval.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>Courses taken at outside institutions will be counted for credit only if you are making up a credit deficiency. You can't make up more than 24 credits at outside institutions.&nbsp;</p>
bc:schools/MCAS/advising/FAQ/other-institutions
Declaring Your Major
<h3><span class="maroon">How do I declare my major or minor?</span></h3> <p>First-year students can email <a adhocenable="false" href="mailto:aac@bc.edu" target="_blank">aac@bc.edu</a> to declare a major or minor during their freshman year—with the exception of majors and minors that require an application.&nbsp;</p> <p>Sophomores, juniors, and seniors should visit individual departments to declare a major or minor.</p> <p>For majors and minors that require applications, visit individual department websites for more information.</p> <p>For information about minors in the Carroll School of Management Minors, visit the CSOM website. For information about minors in the Lynch School of Education and Human Development, visit the LSOEHD website.</p> <p><a href="/content/bc-web/schools/carroll-school/undergraduate/academics/minors.html"><span class="btn btn-default btn-maroon">CSOM website</span></a></p> <p><span class="btn btn-default btn-maroon"><a href="/content/bc-web/schools/lynch-school/academics/undergraduate/minors.html">LSOEHD website</a></span></p>
bc:schools/MCAS/advising/FAQ/declaring-major
Excused Absences
<h3><span class="maroon">How do I receive an excused absence in extraordinary circumstances?&nbsp;</span></h3> <p>You must acquire a Dean’s note, which is a letter asking faculty to excuse your absence, from our office. You must be able to verify the circumstances leading to the excuse.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>Generally accepted reasons for excused absence include:</p> <ul> <li>Death of an immediate family member</li> <li>Hospitalization</li> <li>Medical issue treated by a recognized medical service provider lasting longer than one week</li> <li>Mandated court appearance</li> </ul> <p>The Dean’s office will not intervene to excuse absences for the following reasons:</p> <ul> <li>Minor illness or injury lasting less than one week</li> <li>Job Interviews or Career Fairs</li> <li>Extracurricular activities including club sports</li> <li>Travel/vacation/family events&nbsp;</li> </ul>
bc:schools/MCAS/advising/FAQ/Excused-Absences
Foreign Language Requirement
<h3><span class="maroon">What languages are offered to fulfill the language proficiency requirement?</span></h3> <p>Boston College has course offerings for Arabic, Bulgarian, Chinese, French, German, Greek (Classical or Modern), Hebrew, Irish, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Latin, Persian (Farsi), Polish, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish.</p> <h3><span class="maroon">How do I satisfy the language requirement?</span></h3> <p>You can satisfy the language requirement in three ways.</p> <p><span class="list-gold-black icon-arrow-circle">Course work: Successful completion of the second semester of an intermediate-level modern or classical language course or the successful completion of one modern or classical language course beyond the intermediate level</span></p> <p><span class="list-gold-black icon-arrow-circle">Testing: The achievement of a qualifying score on one of a number of exams, including Advanced Placement, SAT II Subject Tests, and International Baccalaureate exams. Consult the full list of qualifying exams and scores.</span></p> <p><span class="list-gold-black icon-arrow-circle">Native Proficiency: Students seeking to satisfy the language requirement by documentation of native proficiency should do so before the end of their first year of study. Postponement can result in a delayed graduation. Documentation of native proficiency ordinarily assumes evidence of post-elementary school education in the native language. Contact your academic dean’s office for more information.</span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span class="btn btn-default btn-maroon"><a adhocenable="false" href="/content/bc-web/admission/sites/advanced-placement.html">qualifying exams and scores</a></span></p> <h3><span class="maroon">How do I know what level of a language is appropriate for me?</span></h3> <p>Placement tests are conducted, in the appropriate foreign language departments, for a number of foreign languages, including, Arabic, Bulgarian, Mandarin Chinese, French, Greek (Classical or Modern), Irish, Japanese, Korean, Latin, Persian (Farsi), Russian, Spanish, and Turkish. For specific information consult the Academic Planning Workbook or contact the appropriate departments of foreign languages.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span class="btn btn-default btn-maroon"><a adhocenable="false" href="/content/dam/files/offices/stserv/academic/pdf/2019acadwkbwithcovers.pdf">Academic Planning workbook</a></span></p>
Leaves of Absence
<h3><span class="maroon">How does a leave of absence affect my standing?</span></h3> <p>Students on leaves of absence may not take courses to advance their status at Boston College without obtaining prior approval from the appropriate academic dean’s office. Students may not participate in extracurricular activities while on a leave of absence. If you take a leave of absence, you will have your graduation term adjusted to reflect your new anticipated graduation date.</p> <h3><span class="maroon">How do I return from a leave of absence?</span></h3> <p>You must submit a readmission form no less than four weeks prior to the start of the semester in which you wish to return. Personal leaves of absence will be extended for no more than one year, although you may petition for renewal.&nbsp;</p> <p>If you take a medical leave of absence, you will be provided with specific conditions for readmission.&nbsp;You must submit a readmission form&nbsp;no less than four weeks prior to the start of the semester in which you wish to return. University Health Services will review relevant documentation before making a recommendation for readmission to the Associate Dean. You will be provided with all required forms at the time your leave is granted.</p> <p><a href="/content/dam/files/offices/stserv/pdf/readmission.pdf"><span class="btn btn-default btn-maroon">Readmission Form</span></a></p>
bc:schools/MCAS/advising/FAQ/leaves-absence
Overloads
<h3><span class="maroon">What is an overload?</span></h3> <p>An overload is defined as enrolling in a sixth course of three or more credits in any given semester. Students can only add a sixth course only during the add/drop period each semester (from the first day of classes until the Wednesday of the second week of classes).</p> <h3><span class="maroon">Who can overload?</span></h3> <p>Freshmen are not permitted to overload during their first semester at Boston College. Second-semester freshmen who wish to overload with a sixth course of three or more credits must have completed 15 credits and received a 3.0 GPA during their first semester. They may take their sixth course on a pass/fail basis, in which case the course may not be used to fulfill a major, minor, Core requirement, or corequisites.</p> <p>Students are eligible to overload if they have earned at least a 3.0 overall cumulative GPA or a 3.0 GPA in the semester immediately prior to the one for which they seek an overload. If they are eligible, they may register online for the sixth course of three or more credits and a maximum of 24 credits, including labs and other one and two credit courses.&nbsp;</p> <p>Students with an overall cumulative GPA between 2.0 and 3.0 may, under exceptional circumstances, be allowed by their class dean to enroll in a sixth course. Students should visit the MCAS Deans’ Office to complete and submit a Course Overload Approval Form for review by their Associate Dean.</p>
Pre-Health Program
<h3><span class="maroon">How can I learn more information about the program?</span></h3> <p>The Pre-Health Program is part of the Morrissey College’s Academic Advising Center located in Stokes South, Room 132. Stop by, email us, or call 617-552-4663 to schedule an appointment with an advisor.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span class="btn btn-default btn-maroon"><a adhocenable="false" href="mailto:premed@bc.edu">Email the Pre-Health Program</a></span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span class="btn btn-default btn-gold"><a adhocenable="false" href="https://www.bc.edu/schools/cas/premed.html">learn more about the pre-health program</a></span></p>
bc:schools/MCAS/advising/FAQ/pre-health