Undergraduate Advising

The Physics Department considers academic advising a cooperative effort between the advisor and the student. Faculty advisors in the Department provide recommendations to their advisees in terms of academic planning and career goals, and expect their advisees to take a continuous, active role in this process. The student has the ultimate responsibility of his/her schedule and academic plans, including adherence to all deadlines set by the University as indicated on the academic calendar and meeting degree requirements as specified in the VCU Undergraduate Bulletin.

The Department of Physics’  Advising Model

Our goal is to make available all the information necessary for you to make the very best choices in your upcoming enrollment while facilitating a timely graduation which will save you money in the long run! Because we have a relatively small number (about 100) of majors with extremely diverse backgrounds, our advising is mostly 1 on 1.

Advising Model

  • Freshman are advised by the University College in Hibbs Hall.
  • As soon as you decide to major in physics, even if you are a freshman, seek an appointment with one of the physics advisors.  Our courses have complex pre-requisites and require careful advance planning.
  • One year before you expect to graduate, have an advisor review your progress.  Many problems (such as a lack of upper-level course credit) are easy to solve if they are caught in time.

Responsibilities and Expectations in an Advisor-Student Partnership



Explain the university’s curriculum, requirements, policies, and procedures when needed. Become knowledgeable about college programs, policies, schedules/deadlines, and procedures.
Encourage and guide students to define and develop realistic education goals. Clarify personal values and goals.
Assist students with planning programs consistent with their abilities and interests. Participate proactively in the decision-making process.
Listen carefully to questions, concerns, and confusions. Review their degree audit prior to each appointment.
Apprise students of available resources and job/internship opportunities. Follow through on suggested actions, resources, or referrals.
Review degree progress with students. Keep a personal record of academic progress.
Discuss the relationship between academic preparation and the work world Accept responsibility for academic decisions and performance.


Students must keep the following points in mind during their undergraduate program of study:

  1. Students must pass a minimum of 120 semester hours (total) to receive an undergraduate degree from Virginia Commonwealth University. There are no exceptions to this rule.
  2. Students must obtain at least 45 upper level credits in order to graduate.  There are no exceptions to this rule.
  3. Students must achieve a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or greater and a GPA of 2.0 in their major/minor in order to graduate.
  4. Pay attention to all departmental emails and Blackboard posts. This is the official line of communication from the Department of Physics to its majors.

Click here for some commonly asked questions about advising.