Advising Week


Advising Week is in April 2020

Updated January 24, 2020

Advising Week is the time for undergraduate and master’s students to visit their faculty advisors to plan and approve classes for the Fall 2020 semester.  Also, students can discuss their plans to graduate, career and job questions, graduate school possibilities, study habits, and life, in general.

The Advising Week dates will be announced soon.

Please read this entire page and take action! 

  • On PCs and laptops, mouse over each bar and click, or select the “plus” symbol on each bar to view the information for that section.  Links to other webpages are blue” on this page.
  • On mobile devices, select the underlined blue” link.
  • Master’s students: note that only some of the tabs below apply to you.
  • When Advising Week is in…

    • …October-November– all undergraduate and master’s students.
    • …March-April – all current freshmen, sophomores, juniors, plus only seniors returning for a 9th semester or starting their “5th-year” masters in the fall; as well as all master’s students returning the next fall.  Seniors and master’s students who are graduating in spring and not returning in the fall do not have to go to a meeting.
  • All Seniors must send the Excel-version of their updated Checkout Sheets to Academic Program Manager Mike Bernard by October 24 by e-mail at

    He will review all sheets to ensure you are on track to graduate. This “double check” between your advisor and Mike helps the department comply with ABET accreditation goals. Mike will alert you and your advisor with any questions or issues.

    • Be sure that every section is complete, including grades, except for your Fall 2019 course grades that are not yet assigned.
    • Ensure that the correct course number is listed with each course, and that the course is eligible for the category that it is placed, especially in the elective sections.
    • Ensure that the courses you are counting for each section has eligible course areas.
      • If a course carries no course area, then it will not count for the sections of the degree that require a course area:
        • E = Engineering
        • N = Natural Science
        • Q = Quantitative (math and programming)
        • H = Humanities
        • S = Social Sciences
      • Courses can have up to two course areas.
      • Math courses must have a “Q” course area but must be a math course. Courses numbered (Mathematics), and or (Applied Mathematics) will have the “Q” course area. Please ask your advisor about “Q” courses with any other course number before counting them.
      • Humanities and Social Sciences courses have to have either “H” or “S” as one of the course areas. They could have both (“HS”) or be paired with another course area (e.g., “HN” or “QS” or other combination).
      • Mechanical Engineering electives must have an “E” course area and be numbered EN.530.3xx or higher.
      • Technical Electives must have either an “E,” “N,” or “Q” course area and must be numbered or higher (upper-undergraduate level).
    • For Freshman fall semester courses, show the “S” or “U” grade, not the covered letter grade.
    • For the semester column, please use the “Letter-Number-Number” format, e.g. F18 for Fall 2018, S20 for Spring 2020 and so forth. Numbering your semesters 1-8 won’t help.
    • If you know the courses that you will take in the Spring 2020 semester, please fill them in.
    • Sending Mike a version other than Excel or sending an incomplete sheet (missing grades or semesters, using semester labels “1-8” instead of “F19, S20, etc.” or other items) will result in his returning it to you and asking that you to complete the Excel version.
    • Contact Mike separately if you have questions about your checkout sheet. He is happy to help.
  • Review your information sources for degree requirements:

    Please be aware of the academic policies that will affect your course choices, especially if you are taking a 2nd major or a minor elsewhere.  Don’t be surprised in your final semester by some policy you’ve never seen that will affect your eligibility to graduate.

    Section 2 of the MechE “Top 12 – Undergraduate Students” and Section 4 of the MechE “Top 12 – Graduate Students” pages provide quick links to specific academic advising and catalog policies.

  • Check out the Undergraduate and Graduate Course Schedules.

    In the schedules in SIS in “Day-Times” section, where there is more than one day/time listed, it usually means one section is a lecture and the other is a lab.  SIS does not differentiate between the two, but where a course has multiple sections listed, the “common” time between the sections is the lecture time.

    The schedules in the Mechanical Engineering webpage will be updated along with the SIS schedule as changes occur.

  • You must complete a checkout sheet and take it to your meeting to keep your advisor updated on your degree plan.

    • Undergrads
      • Either use your checkout sheet, or “4-year” plan that you created with Mike Bernard or your  faculty advisor…
      • …or, if you don’t have a checkout sheet established, download checkout sheets from the Academic Advising – Undergraduate page.  Please download the correct sheet for your major and class.
    • Master’s Students
      • Use this Checkout Sheet as a course plan.  Complete it as much as you can and take it to your advisor meeting.
      • Visit the Academic Advising – Graduate Page the degree requirements.  Your faculty advisor can help you select appropriate classes based on your academic and research interests.

    Do You Need Help with Your Plan?
    Academic Program Manager Mike Bernard is happy to review your checkout sheet (4-year plan) or your MSE Certificate of Completion with you.  Please visit Mike during Office Hours, which are posted on his door or contact him at to arrange a meeting.

  • NOTE: the April Advising Week meetings will be posted later this spring.

    You must visit your faculty advisor to release your “Advising Hold” in SIS so you can register.  View each tab until your find your faculty advisor so you can schedule your meeting.

    Your faculty advisor name is on your SIS record.

    Visit your advisor’s office to sign up for a meeting on the schedule on the door.

    • Prof. Rajat Mittal – Latrobe 125
    • Prof. Rui Ni – Latrobe 119
    • Prof. Tamer Zaki – Latrobe 118
    Select your advisor’s name to schedule a meeting on their online schedule.

    Contact your advisors’ administrative coordinators to schedule your meeting:

    • Prof. Kevin Hemker – contact Administrative Coordinator Nancy Lippi at
    • Prof. Gretar Tryggvason – contact Administrative Supervisor Deana Santoni at

    The following professors will contact their advisees directly to schedule a meeting:

    If you do not hear from your advisor by October 24, please contact them directly.

    Contact your advisor to schedule your meeting.

  • Elective Definitions
    There are specific definitions of Mechanical Engineering, Engineering Mechanics, and Technical electives, which are explained in Sections 6.4.2 (Mechanical Engineering) and 7.5 (Engineering Mechanics) of the MechE Undergraduate Advising Manual. Please be familiar with these definitions while making course choices.

    The University allows departments to “cross-list” their courses in SIS so that they appear in multiple departments’ SIS course listings. Departments do this to encourage students in majors other than the department’s own to easily see their offerings and register for their courses.

    Choose Carefully
    Courses that are cross-listed in SIS in other departments may not meet the elective definitions, so choose carefully.  Please contact your faculty advisor or Academic Program Manager Mike Bernard with your questions on whether a course counts for your degree.

  • On occasion, your faculty advisor might approve a course to substitute for required courses in your degree program.

    Part of the approval process is to complete the Course Exception Waiver Form.  Please use this form if your faculty advisor approves substitute courses, as it is required for your graduation.

    Bring or send the completed form to Mike Bernard ( | Latrobe 230) so he can obtain the appropriate Chair or Whiting School Academic Advising office signature.  This form will be kept in your advising file.

    Forms are available here:

  • Registration begins at 7:00 a.m. on these dates…

    • Graduate Students – Monday, November 4
    • Seniors  ’20 – Monday, November 4
    • Juniors  ’21 – Wednesday, November 6
    • Sophomores  ’22 – Friday, November 8
    • Freshmen ’23 – Monday, November 11
    The Registrar will take graduate registration forms from Seniors registering for their master’s fall semester, as you will not yet have SIS access for graduate registration.  Your current advisor or Mike Bernard can sign the form for you.
    Visit the Registrar’s Student page for info.
  • Though “Degree Audit” is in use for some majors, and though it appears as an option in your SIS record, don’t use it!  The system is not ready for use for Mechanical Engineering majors and Engineering Mechanics majors.  It will provide incorrect information about your degree plan and create unnecessary anxiety for you.

    Until you are told otherwise, please refer your questions about your degree plan to your faculty advisor or to Academic Program Manager Mike Bernard.  We are unsure when Degree Audit in SIS will be ready, but we will tell you the moment it is.

  • The Johns Hopkins E-Catalog section on Program Requirements describes Course Areas, which categorize undergraduate courses into five main areas:

    • E = Engineering
    • N = Natural Science
    • Q = Quantitative (math and programming)
    • H = Humanities
    • S = Social Sciences

    Courses can have up to two course areas.

    If a course carries no course area, then it will not count for the sections of the degree that require a course area.


    Math courses must have a Q course area but must be a math course.  Courses numbered (Mathematics), and or (Applied Mathematics) will have the “Q” course area. Please ask your faculty advisor about Q courses with any other course number before counting and taking them.

    humanities and social sciences

    Humanities and Social Sciences courses have to have either H or S as one of the course areas.  They could have both (HS) or be paired with another course area (e.g., HN or QS or other combination).


    Mechanical Engineering electives must have an E course area and be numbered EN.530.3xx or higher, as well as EN.580.451 and EN.580.452 Cell and Tissue Engineering I / II.

    Technical Electives must have either an E, N, or Q course area and must be numbered or higher (upper-undergraduate level). They, too, could be paired with another qualifying course area (e.g. EN, EQ, NQ) or with another course area (e.g. HN or QS or other combination).

    no double-counting in multiple sections of the same degree

    Courses with unusual combinations like HN or QS can count for only one course in your degree program.  For example, a course with a QS course area cannot simultaneously count for both a Technical Elective and a Humanities/Social Science elective. It can be counted for one elective or the other, but not both.

  • All students taking courses with experimental labs must now take 990.100 Laboratory Safety for Undergraduates once before registering for your courses. This two-hour online course should be completed at least 24 hours before your registration period begins so the SIS registration system will acknowledge the course’s completion.

    Taking the course just one time will cover all of these courses:

    • 530.115 (Fall) / 530.116 (Spring) MechE Freshman Lab
    • 560.211 Statics and Mechanics of Materials Lab
    • 530.212 Mechanical Engineering Dynamics Lab
    • 530.216 Mechanics Based Design Lab
    • 530.232 Thermodynamics Lab
    • 530.241 Electronics and Instrumentation
    • 530.254 Manufacturing Engineering
    • 530.329 Intro to Fluid Mechanics Lab
    • 530.335 Heat Transfer Lab
    • 530.344 Design and Analysis of Dynamic Systems Lab
    • 530.352 Materials Selection
    • 530.381 Engineering Design Process
    • 530.403 (Fall) / 530.404 (Spring) Senior Design
    • 530.446 Experimental Biomechanics

    To take the course:

    1. Open the myJH Portal
    2. Select the Education sidebar tab
    3. Select the MyLearning option
    4. Enter Laboratory Safety Introductory Course in the search area
    5. Select the course title, then Add to Dev Plan
    6. Click Next, then click Done to begin the course.
    7. If you need help, contact

    Please note that the course EN.990.100 will NOT be visible on your transcript even after you successfully complete it. It is administratively recorded in SIS, and will be read by SIS when pre-requisite checking your  selected courses.

  • Please read Section 5.3 of the Academic Advising Manual about where Humanities and Social Science courses can be taught. Only one can be taught in the Whiting School, which will have courses numbered Some and courses have an H or S course area, but many don’t. Please confirm your desired course has an H or S course area. Many students have been tripped-up by this requirement. Don’t be one of them!

  • Visit the Aerospace and Biomechanics Tracks page for track requirements and eligible courses.  Note that the names of these were recently changed from “concentration” to “track.” An explanation is on the page, and the same recognition for the achievement of tracks will occur when they were called “concentrations.”

    Be sure to confirm that courses from other departments that count are being offered.  Not all of them are offered every semester, and occasionally a course is dropped.

  • You are welcome to contact Academic Program Manger Mike Bernard to set a time to create a 4-year plan or MSE Course Plan or get a checkup on your current one. Meetings can last anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour.

    Mike will be able to visit with one or two students per day, depending on his schedule, so contact him early!

  • If you are considering changing or are ready to change majors to Mechanical Engineering or Engineering Mechanics, please contact Mike Bernard to be assigned an advisor.

    If you have questions about changing majors but are not quite ready, contact Mike to arrange a meeting to discuss your concerns.

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