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Academic Advising

Fall 2024 Advising Guide



Academic Advisement

Your academic advisor plays an important role in designing and realizing an enriching college experience that will prepare you for life’s opportunities and challenges. From experience and training, faculty members know of the best learning opportunities on- and off-campus, how to combine The College’s signature experiences into your program of study, and various rules and procedures of The College. Please meet with your assigned advisor roughly once a semester to discuss these issues, as well as current research in Political Science.


Preparing for an advising session

Prior to meeting with your assigned advisor:

Consider asking questions about issues beyond the semester, such as adding an academic program or plans after graduation. Make a plan of what courses you would like to take in all of your remaining semesters at TCNJ, trying to work in enriching opportunities such as study abroad, the Washington Center, a second major, minors or internships. The most rewarding earning experiences require some planning. For guidance on how to prepare better for your advisement session and plan your academic career, see the “Advising” links on the School of Humanities & Social Sciences website.

When you place courses in your PAWS shopping cart, be sure to hit the “validate” button to make sure you have met all prerequisites. Plan alternatives for major courses, College Core courses, and electives so that you can register quickly. This is particularly true if you are a first or second-year student and competing over the last seats in such courses. If you are thinking about adding a concentration, double major, or a minor, please run a “What If” report in PAWS. The report will show your academic requirements as if you formally added the concentration/major/minor. It is a very useful tool!

Recommended course sequences for first, second, third, and fourth-year students also may be found in the Undergraduate Bulletin. POL 200 is a prerequisite for POL 390, which is a prerequisite for the senior seminar, POL 498. Since better mathematical skills improve student performance in economics courses, ECO 101 (Microeconomics) and ECO 102 (Macroeconomics) require one of the following as a prerequisite: MAT 95, 96, 125, 127 or 128. Students seeking to graduate within four years are strongly advised to finish POL 200 before the end of their sophomore year and finish POL 390 before the end of their junior year.

Click here for a list of political science course descriptions.


Holds on your account

Please check and clear all holds on PAWS well in advance of your registration window and frequently. Holds will keep you from registering for next semester’s courses! There are several different types of holds and some might require time to clear. Your advisor can only lift advising holds, and they can only lift an advising hold after you have attended an advising meeting.


Transfer credit

Make sure any and all transfer and test credit is on your PAWS unofficial transcript or transfer credit pages, as this will affect your registration window, course selection, and the advice that you receive for academic planning. Do not miss your first available registration appointment window on PAWS, as you may be closed out of your preferred courses.


Closed Classes and Waitlist

If the course that you are attempting to enroll in is at its full capacity, you may request to be waitlisted. Please complete the Political Science waitlist form to be placed on the waitlist. Click here for information on waitlist procedures in other departments.


Add/Drop deadline

Remember that the Add/Drop deadline comes quickly in the semester. After the deadline has passed, you can withdraw from a course but your transcript will show a grade of “W,” or a “WF” if you withdraw later in the semester. Even though you have withdrawn from a class, the unit still counts in your load for the semester. For more information on registration deadlines, see the Academic Calendar. Information on all TCNJ policies can be found in the “Policy Manual” on the Records and Registration website.


Overload requests

Did you know that students can take 5 classes a semester if they meet eligibility criteria and students can overload more than once?

The standard semester academic load at TCNJ is 4 units per semester but students may take up to 4.5 units without permission. If you wish to take more than 4.5 units, please note the following conditions:

  • There is no limit to the number of overload semesters.
  • Students who have earned 8 units at the college and maintain a 3.3 cumulative TCNJ GPA may request an overload for a maximum of 5 course units.
  • First-year students, with less than 8 TCNJ earned units, may apply for an overload to take an intensive language after than have a TCNJ GPA. Transfer students need to wait until they have a TCNJ GPA before applying to overload.
  • You must have been at TCNJ for at least a full academic semester.
  • We do not approve overloads for the Winter Term or the Mini-Summer Term. Also, be careful of transfer credit, you cannot take one TCNJ Winter class and one community college winter class as this would require overload permission.
  • If you are interested in taking up to 5 units:
    • Complete the Overload Interest Form Completing the form will automatically generate an email that will be sent to Dr. Chartock, Department Chair, who will reach out to you for advising.  She may ask you why you are requesting the overload, review your academic record, and talk to you about the advantages and disadvantages of overloading given your proposed coursework. The Department Chair will communicate directly with the Assistant Dean who will then correspond with you about your overload request.
    • If you are applying for Independent Study/Research or Internship and need a course overload, you should submit your Overload interest form first, as you will need to upload the email from the Assistant Dean, stating that the overload has been entered into PAWS, into the independent course application systems.


How to add a major or minor




Students interested in independent courses (research, study, and internships) must complete the department’s Internship Proposal Form and email their completed forms to Dr. Sarah Chartock, Department Chair and Internship Faculty Coordinator, to receive her approval via email. Students then upload the proposal form along with the email record of Dr. Chartock’s approval (a screenshot or word document) on the School of Humanities and Social Sciences Internship Proposal System for approval by the Dean’s Office.

As these are courses taken for academic credit, paperwork needs to be submitted prior to or during add/drop week at the beginning of the semester to the Dean’s Office.  Please see the deadline below:

Summer 2024: 

Fall 2024: 


POL 399/Internship in Public Affairs

This course provides an opportunity for students to integrate theory with practical work experience in public affairs under the supervision of a field supervisor and a TCNJ faculty coordinator. Work settings include but are not limited to the Governor’s Office, legislative offices, state and local governmental agencies, lobbying firms, trade or union organizations, political campaigns and parties, and non-profit organizations. Working towards academic credit provides the best means of integrating in-class learning and internship employment, although some students may opt to complete an internship alone, without seeking academic credit.

The field supervisor is an important participant in the internship experience. At the end of the term, the field supervisor is expected to confirm the number of hours the student worked as an intern and complete an evaluation form assessing the student’s performance. The student will also complete an academic research project, under the supervision of the Faculty Coordinator, on a public policy and/or public administration topic related to the work of the internship.

Students gain academic credit for their internships by finding an appropriate position, enrolling in POL 399, and working with the Internship Faculty Coordinator (Dr. Sarah Chartock, to research and write a substantial paper on their issue area or job. Specific requirements for academic credit vary and are agreed to by the professor, student, and site supervisor at the beginning of the semester. Students enrolling in the course should have junior or senior status and a cumulative GPA of at least 2.5. Students should normally be enrolled in the political science major or minor, the public policy analysis and management minor, or the law, philosophy, and politics minor, although on occasion the instructor of the internship may allow other students to enroll.

Candidates should find a suitable position that will offer a meaningful opportunity and provide roughly 135 hours of work for the semester (per 1 unit course). The Department mostly approves internships worth a full unit (four credit-hours) yet it may make other arrangements under special circumstances. Students may count no more than 3 units of internship toward a TCNJ degree. Unless the student qualifies for an academic overload, the full unit of POL 399 must be part of the 4.5 unit maximum enrollment load for the semester. If overload approval is needed, please wait to apply for your internship until you have completed the Overload Interest Form and received an email from the Dean’s Office approving your overload.  Here is the link to the Overload Interest Form.

The following procedures maximize student enrichment from an internship taken for academic credit.

  1. The Internship Proposal Form should be completed by the student and supervisor of the internship site before the student meets with the POL 399 Internship Coordinator. Students do not need to complete the Records & Registration Internship Enrollment form. Please enter a start date on your paperwork that is at least 1 week after you submit into the HSS proposal portal. YOUR INTERNSHIP HOURS CANNOT START UNTIL YOU RECEIVE APPROVAL FROM THE DEAN’S OFFICE.
  2. The student meets with Dr. Sarah Chartock, Department Chair and Internship Faculty Coordinator ( to discuss their proposal and obtain her signature on the proposal form before the Add/Drop deadline of the semester.
  3. Student uploads the documents on the School of Humanities and Social Sciences Internship Proposal System for approval by the Dean’s Office. You will receive an email from the Dean’s Office when your paperwork is submitted to Records & Registration.

Faculty Internship Coordinator: Professor Sarah Chartock,


Special courses

The department offers several courses by special arrangement and special registration procedures need be followed. For Independent Study talk first to the faculty member you would like to work with or see the department chair. For Departmental Honors, study abroad or the TCNJ/Washington Center Program, please contact Dr. Sarah Chartock (