Academic Advising

What is academic advising?

Academic advising is a developmental process founded upon an exchange of knowledge and ideas between the student and advisor. An academic advisor can assist you with clarifying academic and career goals and developing educational plans for the realization of these goals. We serve as your academic guide, mentor, and cheerleader.

Where is the Office of Academic Advising located?

We are located on the fifth floor of the Wyman Park Building. This building is located across the street from Mason Hall, the Undergraduate Admissions building. You may schedule an appointment with your Academic Advisor or Success Coach on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays or Fridays, or, during the Fall and Spring semesters, you may meet with the on-duty advisor during our Drop-In hours. More information on how to make an appointment or participate in Drop-Ins can be found on our Connect with an Advisor webpage.

Who is my Academic Advisor or Success Coach and how can I get in touch with them?

Incoming students are assigned their Advisor or Coach in early-to-mid June. Once assigned, you can find their contact information in SIS. If you have questions before your advisor is assigned you can reach out to the office email address at [email protected].

General Education Requirements

What are the General Education Requirements I need to complete in order to graduate with an Arts & Sciences degree?

All students in the School of Arts & Sciences must complete the First Year Foundation requirement and the Foundational Abilities requirement. Both areas are described in more detail below.

First Year Foundation 

Comprised of two courses: First-Year Seminar and Reintroduction to Writing.

First-Year Seminar (3 credits)

First-Year Seminars (FYS) provide a common experience unique to the first year, one that supports the transition from high school to university life by delivering to students the very best of what JHU has to offer them: the opportunity to work with and be mentored by our most dynamic faculty, intellectual community around about a compelling topic, and a small group setting in which to enjoy together the core practices and habits of scholarship: reading, writing, and speaking.

All first-year Arts & Sciences students will be required to complete a First-Year Seminar (FYS) course in their first semester. There are dozens of courses to choose from, so create a list of perhaps 6-9 options which will match your availability. Tips on registration are provided via our Canvas site and at

Reintroduction to Writing (3 credits)

All students in the School of Arts & Sciences must complete AS.004.101 Reintroduction to Writing in their first year at Hopkins. AS.004.101 Reintroduction to Writing is an introductory level writing course that is designed to help students with a foundation of academic writing, as well as to provide a rhetorical framework for adapting their writing skills to future contexts, audiences, and genres.  Sections of the course will share certain features, like writing in multiple genres and a focus on revision, and each section will have its own distinct theme and assignments.  KSAS students must take this course in their first year. 

Foundational Abilities 

There are six Foundational Abilities.

#1 Writing and Communication (15 credits, 6 within the major) 

Students should develop a command of language as writers, readers, and speakers. They should be able to write about and respond to varied texts accurately and subtly; argue lucidly and effectively to diverse audiences in a variety of forms; and adapt their writing, reading, and speaking to new and complex contexts. 

#2 Science and Data (15 credits) 

Students should develop facility with scientific and quantitative reasoning and be able to apply computational and analytical methods to evaluate hypotheses about the natural world and in other contexts. They should be able to assess the degree to which arguments are supported by empirical evidence and sound reasoning as they arise in various contexts. 

#3 Culture and Aesthetics (15 credits) 

Students should recognize the importance of complex creative expression in literature, music, visual arts and other forms, including in other languages, and be able to interpret them. They should cultivate their analytical and emotional responses to aesthetic and cultural experiences, be able to situate various forms of creative expression in historical and contemporary contexts, and identify their social and cultural meanings. 

#4 Citizens & Society (15 credits) 

Students should engage effectively and reflectively as citizens of a diverse world and understand the forces that shape civic life. They should develop historically informed, dynamic understanding of inequity and inequality, democracy and its institutions, and of local, national and global societies, including through the study of languages. They should demonstrate openness to the beliefs, practices and values of others and be able examine and articulate the evidence for their own beliefs, practices, and values. 

#5 Ethics and Foundations (15 credits) 

Students should be reflective, effective ethical agents in their personal and professional lives. To this end, they should explore various perspectives on ethical, moral, social, and political questions and their philosophical foundations. They should develop the capacity for critical reflection, reasoning, and judgment necessary for constructing and comparing complex positions on such matters and engage situations of ethical consequence across the curriculum. 

No. 6 Projects and Methods (6 credits) 

Students should be able to conceptualize, develop, and deliver projects of consequence. They should learn about and harness relevant methods and means of inquiry for the creation of new knowledge, sustain work independently or collaboratively, and articulate the goals, results, and importance of their projects to broad audiences. 

Majors/Minors Requirements

I haven’t chosen a major. What should I be doing?

Most incoming first-years haven’t made firm decisions about majors and careers. Your first year at JHU allows you to explore many opportunities. Read the First Year Academic Guide and browse majors and minors to learn about available programs and think about what types of classes you might want to take during your first semester. You can add or drop courses that aren’t a good fit during the first two weeks of each semester, and most of our majors total only half of the necessary credits you must earn to be eligible for graduation. You can always call or email us for assistance.

I have chosen my major. How can I find out which classes I will need to take?

Check the Academic Catalog to see which classes you will need to take.

Pre-Professional Advising

What is pre-professional advising?

The JHU Office of Pre-Professional Advising helps students interested in pursuing careers in the health and legal professions make conscious and thoughtful decisions about their future. Visit their website for more information.

I am considering applying for medical school after graduation. Which courses should I take? Are AP credits accepted?

To learn more about which courses are required for medical school admission, read the Guide One: Pre-Med and Pre-Health Planning on the office of Pre-Professional Advising website. To learn how AP credits work for pre-meds, read Guide One and pay close attention to AP policies.

Placement Exams

I’ve taken a foreign language and/or calculus in high school. Which level course do I take at JHU?

Visit the Placement Exams page.

First-year Grades

How are first years graded in the first semester?

Most of our courses use a standard letter grading system (A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-, D+, D, F) and your transcript will show your earned grade. Some courses, however, are only offered using the Satisfactory (C- or higher)/Unsatisfactory (D+ or lower) grading system. Students are permitted to take one course each semester using the S/U grading system, but only if the course is not being used to satisfy a major, minor, or writing intensive requirement.

AP/IB Scores and Transfer Credit

Does Hopkins accept AP exam credits?

JHU does accept some AP exam credits, but not all. The best resource for a new student to review on this policy is in the University Catalogue. The External Credit Policies page of the catalogue addresses AP credits. There is a lot of pertinent information on this page so please read it in its entirety to be sure you understand if and how your AP credits can be utilized toward your undergraduate degree.

Can my AP exam credits count towards my general education requirements? 

Can my AP exam credits count towards my general education requirements? 

No, while AP credits count towards the 120 credit degree requirement as well as major and minor requirements, they cannot be used to satisfy first year foundations or foundational abilities.

I don’t know my AP/IB scores yet. How do I choose courses?

You may not have received your AP/IB score report when registration begins. Make your best guess as to possible scores and register at the beginning of the registration period in July. You can make changes to your schedule online later in the summer once you have received your score report.

If I earn credits from AP/IB scores, what course level should I select?

Earning a high AP/IB score demonstrates your mastery of introductory-level college material in that field. Therefore, a high score typically means you are qualified to take a higher-level course in the subject at JHU. Having AP/IB credits may allow space in your first-semester schedule to take a course that others would take later. Refer to the catalogue for more information. After reading the catalogue if you still have questions, contact your advisor by email.

How can I get AP/IB credit to appear on my JHU transcript?

  1. Check the catalogue to see if we award credit for the exams you took.
  2. Obtain your College Board account name and AP number or AP student ID. Have College Board send a score report to JHU. You can make this request online. There is a fee. All scores for all AP tests taken in the past four years will be sent.
  3. If you took IB exams, you can request an IB transcript online. Select Johns Hopkins University as the institute to receive the transcript.

I took a course at another college or university. Can I get credit for it?

Visit the Transfer Courses page for more information.

Course Registration

All the courses for which I want to register meet on Monday/Wednesday/Friday or Tuesday/Thursday. Is this a problem?

There are many issues to consider when selecting your courses. Consider both the course content and the days and times that courses meet. Try to create a mix of courses that allow you to break for lunch daily, accommodate athletic practices, and spread out your class attendance over the five days of the week. Many Hopkins courses meet on Monday/Wednesday/Friday, especially courses popular with first years. Balance these classes with other courses, sections, or labs that meet Tuesday/Thursday.

When I tried to register for courses, one of them was full. What should I do?

For now, select another class and register for it. Although some classes will have a waitlist this summer, the course may become available at a later time. Check your email address every day because you will only have a short time to register for the course if a space becomes available to you for a waitlisted course. You are allowed to be on a maximum of three waitlists at a time.

Should I bring my musical instrument to campus? Can I take lessons at JHU?

We have many resources and opportunities for musicians at JHU. Students may join an ensemble, take lessons at Peabody, or complete a music minor. If you are interested in taking private lessons in the fall, read the registration procedures for private lessons. Bring your instrument to campus if you wish to have the option of lessons, but be certain that it is insured. Piano students may arrange to use pianos on campus, so bring your sheet music from home.

Where can I find more information about my course textbooks?

Inside the course description in SIS is a link to the textbook information on the Johns Hopkins Bookstore website. Pursuant to an agreement with Barnes & Noble to manage the bookstore at Charles Commons and the Peabody Institute, Johns Hopkins University receives a portion of the income generated from bookstore operations. Students may choose to purchase or rent textbooks from any seller.