Frequently Asked Questions about Course Selection
Students are always encouraged to contact their faculty advisors directly to discuss their schedules and progress. This page is not intended as a substitute for direct contact with faculty advisors, but rather as a starting point for meeting with them.
What are my choices? What courses are being offered?
The list of course offerings on the LIS web site is more reliable than the one on Cardinal Station, so look there first. Also, subscribe to the LIS student listserv, since we use the listserv to warn you of changes to posted schedules.
All courses at all sites are open to everyone, as long as there is space left and you have had the prerequisites. Prerequisites for each course are listed in the official course descriptions in the course catalog. This is a short program - just 12 courses (10 for students with advanced degrees) - so choose wisely!
What courses should I take?
First, consult with your advisor. It's important. For students interested in school media, it is absolutely essential: students meeting school certification requirements have no room for electives! Other students may change their advisors at any time for any reason. Just (a) get another faculty member to agree to be your new advisor, (b) inform your old advisor that you're making a change, and (c) send the dean's office an email to inform them of the change - and copy the message to old and new advisors.
Also, talk to professionals who have jobs you would like to have, and ask what courses they recommend. Browse job ads too - what jobs sound interesting, and what do employers expect when they advertise these jobs? Check sites like Library Job Postings on the Internet or Lisjobs.com.
Whatever you are advised, start with the four required 500-level courses (551, 553, 555, 557). Do not forgo an elective if it could be your only chance to take it, but please finish the core in your first 18 hours (6 courses). They are a foundation for the rest of the program, and serve as prerequisites for many advanced courses. Check the course catalog for more advanced classes you really want to take - and take the core courses needed for those first. You will also need to select a Course of Study for your degree, which can help guide your course selection.
Should I take courses on or off campus?
There is no requirement for taking courses on campus so you can take courses at any site - and are welcome to do so. Everything cannot be offered in all locations and most students find they may do some coursework both on and off campus during the program. You will find that tuition rates vary, with off-campus tuition about 1/3 lower during the academic year. For more information on tuition rates for both on and off campus please consult our Tuition and Fees site or contact CUA LIS for more information and to discuss your plans. When you are ready to register for classes through Cardinal Station you might find it can be a little tricky so consult our How to Register page for helpful tips to that end.
When do courses start? And end? When are finals? How about comps? Etc.
Consult the CUA Academic Calendar for answers to all these questions as well as other useful information (e.g., when the drop-add period ends, what days your class won't meet due to academic holidays, what's the last day you can drop a course).
I'm having trouble registering on Cardinal Station - what should I do?
This depends on the problem. If you don't have the user ID and password you need to register, phone 202-319-4357 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and ask for help. Also consult our How to Register and download the Cardinal Station Guide.
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