Major advisers are faculty members who serve several crucial roles for students:
- They provide guidance to students as they explore possible majors. Talking to a major adviser does not commit you to declaring that major.
- Once a student has decided on a major, the major adviser will be the one to review and approve the student's major work plan. There should be at least one in-person meeting to discuss the major work plan. Sometimes, a major adviser will approve the major work plan at that first meeting, but sometimes a major adviser will ask a student to do some additional reflection, research, and revision to the major work plan first. The adviser may ask the student to come for a subsequent in-person meeting, or they may just ask the student for an update by email. It is the major adviser's approval in BiONiC that makes the student officially declared as a major.
- After a student has declared a major, primary academic advising happens each semester with a student's major adviser. Students will be instructed to see their major adviser to discuss their course selection during preregistration each semester. Students should also consult their major advisers as part of confirmation of registration at the start of the semester if they have changed any course in their major.
- Students consult with major advisers about study abroad plans, whether or not the student plans to use courses taken abroad towards the major.
- Major advisers review requests to count any other transfer credit towards the major.
- It is important to realize that a major adviser does not automatically serve as a thesis adviser.
Departments handle major advising in many different ways. Some allow students to choose any continuing faculty member in the department. Others designate faculty members to serve as major advisers each year. Consult the list of major advisers to see how major advising is handled in your department. And remember, your major adviser is not the only faculty member you can consult in your department. Bryn Mawr students benefit from informal advising as well as more formal advising. But if your major adviser is on sabbatical or has left Bryn Mawr, you should consult the chair of your department to find out who will be serving as your formal major adviser.