Guidelines for Advising and Registration

Summer Advisor

Your registration email includes the name of your summer advisor. Your advisor will contact you in early June to give you guidance and help you plan your fall schedule.


You will be able to register online after speaking with your summer advisor. Your registration time and instructions for registering on PRISM are included in your email. Please note: You may register at your assigned time or any time after that until July 1.

Choosing Courses

We want you to explore what interests you with a freedom that you probably didn’t have in high school. Choose courses you will like for the first semester. If you are interested in a particular major, take a course in that subject.

If you are undecided but considering a major in business administration, fine arts, or a science, you should follow the first-semester program for these intended majors as they are explained in the section entitled Major Course Recommendations. Students do not officially declare a major until their sophomore year.

If you do not have a major in mind, please do not worry — you have time to explore. Nevertheless, if you are considering a major, it is important to take any prerequisite courses so you will know if the major suits you.

Students may choose to enroll in a First Year Seminar (FYS) in the fall or spring semester.  All FYS courses fulfill one or more Sophia requirements and only have first-year students enrolled.  Students may take only one FYS course.

Students should complete a Critical Thinking Seminar, a modern language, a writing proficiency course(W), and mathematics by the end of their first year. Except for the modern language requirement, these courses are all one-semester courses and they can be taken in the fall or the spring semester.

The usual course load for a first-semester student is five courses (15–18 credit hours). If you want a lighter course load, discuss that with your advisor. You must have at least 12 credit hours to be considered full-time, and 128 credit hours are required for graduation.

All first-year students are enrolled in the following course with their First-Year Faculty Advisor and Peer Mentor for the first half of fall semester:

AVE 101 First-Year Common Course (1)
This required one-credit course invites you to treat the word “college” as a verb: what does it mean to “college” meaningfully and intentionally? How can you flourish as a student and as a person? You will have an opportunity to explore responses to these questions as you are introduced to a variety of social, academic, co-curricular, and mental / physical health resources on campus. Together with your first-year faculty advisor, you will learn about, visit, and engage with many of the offices and individuals available to support you on your journey at Saint Mary’s toward a (student) life well lived.

Students who are pursuing STEM degrees can elect, and are encouraged, to take the following course for the second half of fall semester:

AVE 110 Introduction to STEM Studies  (1)
This course is highly recommended for students intending to pursue studies in chemistry, physics, mathematics, or the dual-degree engineering program.  This course aims to help students academically and socially integrate into the STEM community at Saint Mary's College.  Students are introduced to STEM faculty, staff, and student mentors and are given practical information about expectations, scheduling, research, and internships.