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Academic Advising

Fall 2020 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, Moot Court, 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, liberal learning 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. 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 in-person (not email or phone) 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.


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

The standard semester academic load at TCNJ is 4 units per semester. If you wish to take more than 4.5 units, you may do so under the following conditions:

  • only once during your academic career
  • have a minimum of a 3.3 GPA
  • have been at TCNJ for at least a full academic semester
  • have obtained permission from Dr. Bowen, Chair of the Department of Political Science.
  • Click here to download the Overload request form. After your form is signed, you may submit the request through the online submission system on the same webpage as the form.

You must get signatures from your department chair prior to uploading forms into the system. Associate Dean Lisa Grimm will sign AFTER you have submitted your paperwork.




The School of Humanities and Social Sciences adjusted the process for independent courses (research, study, and internships) for Spring 2021 in light of the coronavirus campus closure.

Students do not need to get signatures from the Internship Coordinator (Dr. Miriam Lowi) or Department Chair (Dr. Dan Bowen) on their forms. Instead students should email their completed forms to Dr. Lowi and Dr. Bowen to receive their approval via email. Students then upload the forms along with the email record of both approvals into the HSS application system (

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:

Spring 2021: Monday, February 1, 2021 by 4:30 pm



The Fund for Students in Unpaid Internships in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, established in 2019 with donations from 139 friends and members of the TCNJ community, provides a stipend of at least $750 for a 1 unit/4 credit HSS internship, for HSS students with financial need who undertake an unpaid mentored internship for academic credit at a site focused on public service and social justice. The eligible course numbers are 398, 399, 487 and 488. Please see the linked call for applications:  Unpaid Internships Fund

Applications for Spring 2021 are due January 15, 2021.

Students gain academic credit for their internships by finding an appropriate position, enrolling in POL 399, and working with the Faculty Coordinator (Professor Miriam Lowi, 609-771-2746,, SSB 221) to research and write a substantial paper on their issue area or job. Students enrolling in the course should have junior or senior status and a cumulative G.P.A. 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 180 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. 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.

The following procedures maximize student enrichment from an internship taken for academic credit and should be followed strictly.

  • The Internship Enrollment Form and the Internship Proposal Form (available outside the Political Science office and online) should be completed by the student and supervisor of the internship site before the student meets with the POL 399 Faculty Coordinator.
  • The student meets with Faculty Coordinator to discuss their proposal and obtains signatures on both forms before the Add/Drop deadline of the semester.
  • The student meets with the Chair of the Dept. of Political Science, Professor Dan Bowen (, to obtain a signature on forms.
  • Student uploads documents on the School of Humanities and Social Sciences Internship Application System for approval by Dean Wong.


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 see Professor Dan Bowen (