Understanding Basic Advising Policies and Procedures

Although specific advising duties do vary according to position, there are certain advising policies and procedures of which all advisors must be aware.  For further information about most university processes, see the Forms & Processes page of the ARC website.

General Education Policy

In addition to major courses, all students must complete a set of approved general education courses in order to meet degree requirements. Gen ed requirements, which do vary slightly from major to major, are outlined on the Advisement Reports. Detailed information about the general education structure and the philosophy behind UA's gen ed program can be found on the General Education website.


With the creation of UA Online, we know that your exisiting students may have questions about whether or not UA Online is he right fit for them. Here are four questions that will help you determine whether UA Online is a right for them. Click here

Evaluation of Transfer Credits

Evaluating course work from other schools and applying it to UA degree requirements is an important responsibility of academic advisors. Evaluation procedures vary according to the type of transfer work in question.

  • In-State transfer work:
    Courses completed at colleges and universities within the state of Arizona have been "articulated," meaning that agreements have already been made amongst the different schools regarding what courses will transfer. These agreements are outlined on the State of Arizona Course Equivalency Guide.

    Course articulation among schools does not necessarily include general education substitutions. With a new Tier I course numbering system in effect starting Fall 2011, efforts are underway to develop articulation agreements. Advisors who evaluate general education must use good judgment when making substitutions. Some advisors may also make discretionary calls when evaluating courses to be applied toward their department's major or minor requirements.

  • Out-of-State transfer work:
    Unlike in-state schools, no formal transfer agreements exist between the UA and out-of-state schools
    • Note that the UA does accept the IGETC from California. See Policy and Procedure Updates for further information about the IGETC.  Evaluation of all other out-of-state coursework is determined by formal evaluation and advisor discretion. English, mathematics, and language courses must be evaluated according to those department's established procedures. Courses to be applied toward a major or minor should be evaluated by that major or minor department. General education is evaluated according to advisor discretion.
    • Transfer Credit Guide: The Transfer Credit Guide provides information about how courses from other institutions transfer to the University of Arizona. It is intended to be used as an unofficial guide in consultation with an Academic Advisor.  Final transferability decisions are made by The University of Arizona once an official transcript has been received.
  • AP, CLEP, and IB exam credit:
    Use of AP, CLEP, and IB exam credit, and minimum score requirements, are outlined in the policy section of the UA academic catalog.

Orientation for Freshmen and Transfer Students

All new UA students must complete some form of orientation prior to gaining access to class registration.

  • Freshmen: 
    All freshmen (i.e. students with fewer than 24 units of transferable college credit, and all students who are attending directly out of high school, regardless of number of transfer units) are required to attend a formal orientation program. Students register for a session through the Office of New Student Orientation. Freshmen are introduced to their academic advisors and receive their first semester schedules during the orientation program. Almost all academic advisors participate in orientation in some way, although this varies according to college and department.

  • Transfer Students:
    Orientation for transfer students varies according to college. Some colleges host formal orientation programs for all of their new transfer students, while others engage in one-on-one meetings with each individual student.

    Pima Community College offers a course called STU 210, Transfer Strategies. Students enrolled in STU 210 are exempt from any formal UA orientation programs and are eligible to register for courses at the same time as current UA students. STU 210 students do need to meet with their UA advisors prior to gaining registration access.

University Dates and Deadlines

Conformance with University dates and deadlines is a key component of student success. Deadlines exist for registration and schedule management, payment, paperwork filing, and almost all administrative processes at the UA. Although students are responsible for knowing UA dates and deadlines, advisors must also be aware of these dates and help students work within these time limits. Multiple UA calendars are also available online.

Adding Minors

All students need to meet with an advisor in their new program of interest when changing majors. However, depending upon the department, they do not always need to meet with an advisor in order to add a new minor. Refer to the Minor Directory page for instructions about adding different UA minors.

Double Dipping Policy

"Double dipping" refers to the use of one class to fulfill requirements for two different programs. Some programs allow sharing of classes between their major/minor with another major/minor, while others require distinct sets of course work. Refer to the Double Dipping policy page for double dipping guidelines in different departments. In order for double-dipping to be allowed, both academic departments must agree on double-dipping usage. Double dipping is never allowed between general education and major courses. However, students are able to double-dip up to 6 units between Tier II general education and a minor.

Financial Aid

To qualify for federal and institutional financial aid, students must meet federal regulations regarding Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP). There are three SAP standards: Qualitative, Pace, and Timeframe.  Refer to the page, Financial Aid Status, and the financial aid website for information about how each SAP standard is defined and calculated.

University and College Petitions

Students are expected to adhere to university policies and deadlines. However, students are sometimes able to petition for exceptions to policy in cases of extenuating circumstances. Students may file a General Petition when asking for an exception to a policy that is impacting a past semester. Some colleges also offer petitions for exceptions to current semester policies, such as dropping a class after the drop deadline or making other late schedule changes. Refer to the General Petitions website for more information.

Withdrawal and Leave of Absence

Students are able to withdraw from their entire semester's schedule through the last day of classes. This process is called a "Complete Withdrawal" and is managed through the Dean of Student's Office. Students are highly encouraged to explore all academic options with their advisors prior to taking this drastic step. Students who withdraw from a semester may maintain their eligibility to attend the UA in the following semester. However, failure to enroll in classes for an entire semester results in withdrawal from the university and requires students to reapply through the Office of Admissions.

To avoid the reapplication process, students can take a planned Leave of Absence of one to two semesters. In order to qualify for a Leave of Absence, a student must have a GPA above 2.0 and have been enrolled at the UA in the semester prior to their proposed leave. Leave of Absence paperwork is managed through individual college's advising offices. Leave of Absence policy can be found in the general catalog.

Degree Check Procedures

All students must complete a formal degree check process prior to officially graduating from the UA. During the degree check, at least one advisor reviews a student's record to check for completeness of major, minor, general education, and university requirements. A Graduation Services Advisor completes a final audit of the degree check at the end of the student's final semester. Degree check procedures, which vary from college to college, are outlined on the Office of the Registrar's website. As a new advisor, you should confer with your supervisor and with the Graduation Services Advisor in your college to learn additional details about completing the paperwork for the degree check process.