Academic advising is critical to student success at University of Montana (UM). All undergraduate students are required to meet with their advisor at least once each semester to review educational progress, discuss future plans, and secure schedule approval prior to registration. Students are encouraged to schedule additional meetings for information and guidance on dropping and/or adding courses, changing/declaring majors/other academic pursuits, exploring available resources, and ensuring that graduation requirements are met.
The UM catalog is the official source of information on the UM General Education Requirements (GERs), requirements of individual academic programs, and graduation-related policies. The Advising Manual is a comprehensive policy and procedural guide for faculty and staff advisors at UM.
Academic Advising is a partnership between a student and their academic advisor. Advisors will work to empower students to take initiative in their educational experience and make education-related decisions. No two advising sessions are ever the same; however, there are expectations that apply to all interactions between an advisor and advisee.
The student will…
- Build and maintain a collaborative relationship with advisor and faculty mentor (upon being assigned one).
- Maintain respectful and inclusive advising environment.
- Schedule regular appointments and/or make regular contacts with advisor during each semester.
- Understand and fulfill curriculum, graduation requirements, and University policies and procedures.
- Come prepared to each appointment with materials and questions for discussion.
- Take a proactive role in their education, document their academic record, and embrace responsibility for academic decisions.
The advisor will…
- Build and maintain a collaborative relationship with student.
- Foster a respectful and inclusive environment for student.
- Encourage an open dialogue, maintain confidentiality, and follow FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) guidelines
- Remain up-to-date on professional development and advising trends.
- Reference a student’s current academic records in preparation for and during an advising appointment.
- Follow development approaches in advising and support students in exploring personal and professional goals, skills, and abilities.
- Communicate major, minor, certificate, GER curriculum, graduation requirements, and University policies and procedures.
- Understand and train students to utilize University technologies, services, and resources.
How to Prepare for an Appointment
Although academic advising is a partnership of shared responsibility between the advisor and the student, it is important for students to know that the ultimate responsibility for meeting all graduation requirements is their own. Students improve their academic planning and success by learning about the academic requirements of their academic program(s), UM policies on registration and graduation, and by using available advising services. To prepare for advising appointments, student should:
- Develop a plan of courses for the upcoming semester registration and be prepared to discuss long-term academic, personal, and professional goals.
- Login to Cyberbear Student Profile to check for registration preventing holds. If holds are present, try to clear them before the advising appointment. You can also view holds on Navigate.
- Research beyond-the-classroom opportunities of interest to discuss during your advising appointment (internships, undergraduate research, volunteer opportunities, etc.)
- Be honest with your advisor about issues affecting your ability to be successful. Advisors can only help with issues or situations they are aware of. This requires open and effective communication with your advisor.
Minimum Expectations for Advising Appointments
At minimum, the advisor and student will discuss the following points during an advising appointment:
- Checking in with the student on how the student is doing and how their semester is going. Are they enjoying their classes? Are they facing any challenges?
- Is the student’s major a good fit? Are there additional majors, minors, or certificates that might help the student achieve their educational goal.
- Review of Degree Works and a comprehensive evaluation to inform the student of progress towards degree completion (major requirements, GERs, Upper-Division credits, and general electives to meet the 120-credit requirement).
- The student’s plans following graduation and brainstorming opportunities for the student to reach their goals (internships, service learning, undergraduate research, education abroad, national student exchange, etc.)
- If during priority advising, checking to see if the student has any registration preventing and/or others holds and the priority registration timetable so the student knows when they can register for classes. Students will also receive their advising PIN so they can register for classes during priority registration. Advising PINs are unique 6-digit numbers that unlock a student’s registration for the upcoming semester. Advising PINs change from semester-to-semester, which is why it is required that students meet with their advisor at least once per semester.
- Referral to any relevant resources based on the discussion (Financial Aid, Curry Health Center, Tutoring Services, TRiO Student Support Services, Office of Disability Equity, etc.)
- At the end of the appointment, a summary of the main issues that surfaced and outlining next steps/tasks as relevant.
- The academic advisor will submit an appointment summary in Navigate to document the advising appointment.
Differences between advisors and faculty mentors
Advisors and faculty mentors each play very important roles in supporting student success. While the timing of student assignment to faculty mentors varies across campus, in general, students meet primarily with their advisor through their first two years of study and meet more regularly with their faculty mentor through their junior and senior years. Some of the differences between the roles of advisors and faculty mentors are as follows:
Advisors assist students with course selection and graduation planning, connect students with available resources such as tutoring, wellness support, and career coaches, and help students learn how to use available technology tools to stay on track in their studies.
Faculty mentors counsel students on career pathways and preparation, help students engage in undergraduate research and creative scholarship opportunities, and connect them with internships and professional networks.
Academic Advising Support
Mountain Campus (UM-Missoula) Students
When students indicate a major on their application form, it becomes their initial declared major.
Advisor information and assignment is done through the student's major department. If the student is undeclared, is pursuing the following pre-health professions - Pre-Medical Sciences, Pre-Nursing, Pre-Physical Therapy - or is an undergraduate Non-degree seeking student, they are assigned to a professional advisor at the Undergraduate Advising Center.
To change a major, a student must contact the advisor of the major they wish to declare or their current major’s advisor.
Students with academic advising questions or concerns can find their assigned academic advisor in Cyberbear or Navigate, or use the advising directory to locate advising contacts by major.
Students may also contact the Undergraduate Advising Center:
Aber Hall 4th Floor
Phone: (406) 243-2835
Missoula College Students
Students are assigned an academic advisor in their major program upon acceptance to the Missoula College. For a listing of Missoula College academic advisors, please see the Missoula College Advising Directory.
Academic programs are identified by the major the student declared on their application for admission or by an official change of major communicated to the Registrar's Office by the program advisor.
For questions regarding assigned advisors or to change advisors, students can contact the Missoula College Academic Advising Center:
Missoula College UM, Room 202
Phone: (406) 243-7925
Academic Support Services
Tutoring programs are available to all students through the Office for Student Success. Study Jam provides early evening group study tables for selected courses (e.g., Chemistry, Biology, Physics, Spanish, Economics, and Statistics). The Writing and Public Speaking Center supports students in becoming more effective writers and provides tutoring at several locations across campus. The Math Learning Center provides tutoring in all developmental and 100-level math courses. Missoula College students may receive tutoring in math, writing and a variety of other subjects through the Learning Center. The Curry Health Center Counseling Center and Curry Health Wellness Team offers workshops on a variety of topics designed to enhance student academic performance.
TRIO Student Support Services (SSS)
TRIO SSS is a federally funded program offering support services to students who are first-generation (neither parent or guardian completed a four-year degree prior to the student’s 18th birthday), low-income or receiving a Pell grant, or a student with disabilities. TRIO’s mission is to provide all-around support such as advising, study skills class, career and college success class, peer mentoring, tutoring, book loan program, and more. See eligibility requirements and the application here.
For more information, visit TRIO SSS at Aber Hall, 3rd Floor, call 406-243-5032, or visit the TRIO website.
Office for Disability Equity
The Office for Disability Equity (ODE) is the campus resource for disability-related information. ODE provides consultation, training, and academic services to advance accessibility and inclusion by taking an intersectional approach to disability. ODE facilitates access and accommodations for students connected with the office. For details and to connect with ODE, visit the ODE website, email at email@example.com, or call 406-243-2243.
Montana 10 is a Montana University System scholarship and program at the University of Montana and Missoula College. The program offers academic, social, and financial supports designed to help students succeed in college.
Students who become Montana 10 Scholars will be part of a unique group of students across Montana leading the way in a new way of doing college—a kind of college where students have the financial support they need, a community that knows them and supports them as individuals, and the specialized academic support that will help them to achieve their education goals and successfully launch their careers.
Missoula College Learning Center
The Missoula College Learning Center offers a variety of services to facilitate students’ academic success. The Learning Center (LC) hosts tutoring for writing, math, accounting, computers, anatomy, and other subjects. Skills assessments, accommodated test services and make-up testing are also offered. Students can receive help with various online student services such as email, online labs, and Cyberbear. For information related to these services, contact the Learning Center at 406-243-7826 or MCLearningCenter@mso.umt.edu, or visit the Learning Center website.
Career Support Services
Career Coaches and Advisors provide support in major/career exploration to help students identify how to align their interests with career goals, guidance on navigating an effective job search, and application support for graduate programs, research, and employment opportunities. Career Coaches/Advisors help students connect with experiential learning opportunities locally and globally, such as domestic and international internships, volunteering, undergraduate research, and National Student Exchange.