First Year Guide: Policies and Processes

The following policies may be relevant to you as a first-year student:

Academic Integrity and Student Conduct

As a student, your successful academic performance is about more than grades. It is about how you earned those grades. The choices you make about your academic responsibilities, as well as your personal conduct on- and off-campus, are a reflection of your personal values. The Student Conduct Code explains the University’s expectations of your personal and academic behavior and includes definitions of academic dishonesty. If you have any questions about classroom expectations in this regard (e.g., individual expectations on a group assignment), be sure to clarify with your instructor.       

Adding a second major, second degree, or minor

Talk to your advisor about which option may be best for you and to learn about the application process. Note: Some majors/minors have admission requirements, so be sure you’re on track to meet them. 

The U of M offers different kinds of bachelor’s degrees, such as B.S. (bachelor of science) and B.A. (bachelor of arts), but each student may earn only one of each type. If you would like to pursue an additional area of study, you have three options:

  • Second degree:  If you pursue a second bachelor’s degree, you are required to fulfill the major and degree requirements for both degree programs. The liberal education requirements are the same for all U of M-Twin Cities bachelor’s degrees. Students adding a B.A. as a second degree are required to fulfill the second language requirement.
  • Second major:  You may add a second major in order to pursue an additional area of study that is offered as the same type of bachelor’s degree as your current degree program or to add an area of study without adding the second language requirement. 
  • Minor:  Minors are an excellent avenue for expanding your academic horizons and exploring disciplines outside your major. To pursue a minor, simply talk to the department that offers the minor. For College of Design minors, talk to your advisor; they will refer you to the right person.        

Changing your major

You may discover that the major you are currently in is not the right fit or that your educational interests or career goals have changed. If this is the case, or even if you are only contemplating a change of major, your first step is to talk to your academic advisor.  They can discuss with you your concerns about your current major, suggest majors/minors to explore, and provide you with accurate referrals. 

Leave of Absence

In the event you need to request a leave of absence from school for one or more semesters, contact your academic advisor promptly for instructions and information on the University's leave of absence policy. A leave may be granted if you are in good academic standing and your leave is approved by the College of Design. Depending on your situation, upon your return you may follow the academic plan that was in place when you started your major. Consult your advisor about this option, as well as the processes for leaving and returning.

Probation and Suspension

If at any point during the term you feel that you are not doing well academically, talk to your academic advisor and the instructor for the course(s) in which you are not performing well. The earlier you seek assistance, the more likely you will experience a positive outcome.

If you earn a term (semester) and/or cumulative GPA below 2.00, you will be placed on academic probation. A hold will be placed on your record that requires you to meet with your academic advisor to discuss your progress and to get permission to register for the upcoming term.

In the event of academic suspension, you will not be allowed to register at the U of M for a full academic year (two semesters) and you must request readmission to your college (see above). You may, however, appeal a suspension decision as specified in your suspension notice.


If you do not enroll for classes in a given term (excluding summer) and you do not have an approved leave of absence (or if your leave of absence has expired), your active student status will be discontinued. If you wish to resume coursework at the U, you will need to apply for readmission, which is not guaranteed. You must also meet the major’s admission requirements, and if the major has limited space, you may need to go through the competitive admission process. Each situation is different depending upon space in the major and your academic record; cases are reviewed on an individual basis.