FAQs

Who are the Academic Advisors and how do I contact them?

Student advising will generally take place on a planned basis during the early enrollment period, or on an ad hoc basis as the need arises for students. Five Academic Advisors are available throughout the school year; Julie Thornton, Nathan Bean, Dennis Lang, Russell Feldhausen, and Jorge Valenzuela. The department advisors have an "open-door" policy for students who need to see an advisor without delay. However, it is recommended that you use the online appointment calendar to schedule an appointment with an Advisor. Scheduling an appointment gives the Advisor an opportunity to prepare for your meeting and guarantees sufficient time is allocated to address your needs.


Where can I find a list of degree requirements?

Two curricula, Computer Science (CS) and Information Systems (IS), are offered by the CS Department. The Computer Science degree is further divided into two options: a Software Engineering option and a Computer Science option. Specific requirements for each degree may be found at: http://www.cs.ksu.edu/programs/undergrad. Students should utilize the CS flowchart, SE flowchart, or the IS flowchart when planning their semester schedule. These flowcharts illustrate the normal academic progression for CS and IS majors, and can assist students when planning their program of study.


What courses are considered technical electives?

Technical electives are dependent on the student's curriculum.

CS Technical Electives 
Students enrolled in the CS and SE curriculums are required to complete six hours of technical electives. Generally, these technical electives consist of courses at the CIS 500 level and higher.

IS Technical Electives 
Information Science majors are required to complete six hours of technical electives. Generally, technical electives are comprised of specific courses offered by the College of Business Administration or the College of Arts and Sciences.


What courses are considered Natural Science electives?

Natural Science electives are dependent on the student's curriculum.

CS Natural Science Electives
Computer Science and Software Engineering students are required to complete a minimum of 14 credit hours of Natural Science courses. Two of these Natural Science courses must be one of our two-course progressions: BIOL 198 & BIOL 201; CHEM 210 & 230; and PHYS 213 & 214.  Students double-majoring or minoring in Physics may also substitute PHYS 223 & 224.  The remaining credit hours may be drawn from: BIOCH 265, 521 BIOL 198, 201, 450, 455 CHM 210, 230, 350, 371, 531, 550 GEOL 100, 102, 103, 502 PHYS 113, 114, 213, 214, 223, 224, 325, 472 (though you may only use one course from a group of courses that cover the same content - such as PHYS 113, 213, and 223). Additional courses may be considered on a case-by-case basis.

IS Natural Science Electives
Information Science students may take any course that satisifies the K-State 8 Natural and Physical Sciences requirement. 


How do I find out what courses will be offered each semester?

As of Spring 2003, the KSU Course Schedule is available exclusively online at http://courses.k-state.edu/. In addition to being less costly, the online schedule is continuously updated and reflects the most current information regarding course time and location changes. The online version also displays closed courses in a simple, easy to read format.


What is a reasonable class load?

The answer of course depends on the individual student. As a very general statement, a student should average 15 hours each semester. If the student is working, that number should be decreased by an appropriate amount. If the student is commuting more than five miles, the number of hours taken needs to be decreased. If the classes are known to be extremely difficult or time-consuming, then more reduction needs to be done. On the other hand, if the student has shown an ability to handle a significant class load, the number of hours might well be increased. It should be noted however, if you desire to take more than 18 hours in a given semester, you must get the dean's permission.


How many distance education credits can I take?

In order to be considered a full-time, on-campus student, you must take a minimum of 9 credit hours on-campus, and an overal total of at least 12 credit hours.  So you make take up to 9 distance credits in a semester, provided you have 9 on-campus credits.


When can I graduate (how much longer do I have)?

The degree requirements can be reasonably completed in four years. The answer to how much longer it will take you to complete those requirements depends on what you have completed so far and the class load you have demonstrated you can handle. Your advisor can project a tentative graduation date, but dropping a class, or not receiving a high enough grade will certainly destroy any time-table. A good tool to use is the Degree Audit Report System (DARS) available on the K-State Student Information System (iSIS). This will show which course you've taken and what you have left to take. It also shows which particular class can be used to fulfill a specific requirement. Remember, DARS is a tool and is prepared to assist you and your Advisor. It is not meant to replace your advising session. Nor, does it assure degree certification.


What about my transfer credits?

First of all, be aware that transcripts for possible transfer credit MUST be sent from the admissions of your transfer school directly to the admissions office at K-State to make the transcript official. You cannot hand-carry a transcript to K-State. Once a transcript is received, it is evaluated by a three-step process. First the admissions office determines if any of the courses will not transfer. These could be remedial courses, vocational type classes, classes with no counterpart at K-State, or classes in which you received too low a grade to transfer. The transcript next is checked by the College of Engineering to determine how specific courses might meet any general requirements or degree-required courses. The transcript and the evaluations are then sent to the appropriate department. The department has final say on what courses might be transferred, especially those that will be used to meet specific degree requirements. Check with your advisor if you are considering taking a course at another institution for credit at KSU. Also, the Admissions Office maintains a transfer equivalency web page that provides a cross-reference of courses offered by other colleges and universities that will transfer to KSU. The transfer equivalency page is: http://www.k-state.edu/admit/tran_info.html. To graduate from K-State, a student must finish at least 30 resident credits, and 20 of the last 30 hours must be resident credit. A student can transfer up to 60 hours from a community college, however any number of requirements can be transferred from a community college. Confused? Remember that hours and requirements are two different things. To clarify, suppose a student was able to finish all the K-State graduation requirements at a community college. The student would still need to complete 60 hours here (assuming a 120 hour degree program) since they can only transfer 60 hours.


How can I get into closed classes?

If you are trying to add a class, remember that after the first week you must have permission from the instructor to add a class. Two basic ways to add a class: luck and persistence. At the start of a semester, many students are dropping and adding classes, so if you check iSIS and the class is open, then you can add the class. The other way is to attend the class you want to add and try to get a permission letter from the instructor. If you do this, make sure you tell the instructor who you are and let him/her know each class period that you attend. The key is to show the instructor that you are really interested in taking that class and demonstrate that desire by attending and taking part in the class. Any instructor would rather have a class of interested and active students than students who are just there for the credit.


What is the procedure for dropping or adding a class?

Assuming you have permission to enter a class, the next step is to meet with your computer science advisor to lift your advising flag (if it's a week or more into the class). Once you have permission, you may go into iSIS to actually add the class. The same procedure is used if you are dropping a class. You should always consult with an Advisor before you drop/add a class.


What does a "W" do to me?

A "W" on a transcript simply means that you withdrew from the class after the first drop date. A "W" does not affect your GPA, nor does it have any effect on the retake policy. So what effect does it have? One time it might be important is at an interview for a job. A recruiter will probably not be too concerned if you have a few "Ws" on your transcript. But if you show a "W" almost every semester, or you have many of them in total, then that company is going to be suspicious of your commitment to school. Be aware of the drop dates each semester. There are two drop dates. The first drop date usually comes about the end of the third week. If you drop on or before that date, then your transcript will not show that class-as if you were never enrolled. The second drop date is about the end of the eighth week. If you drop after the first drop date, and on or before the second drop date, then you will have a "W' for the grade.


What's the deal on retakes?

This is an area where you need to know the rules. First of all, you can retake a class for grade change only from the original school. So, for example, if you received a "F" in MATH 220 here at K-State, you could not retake it for a grade change at some community college. Now as to the retake policy at K-State-a quote from the catalog. "Although there is no limit to the number of times a course may be retaken, a student may retake a course with subsequent removal of the prior grade from calculation of the grade point average only once for each course, and for a total of five courses during the student's academic career at K-State." To amplify this quote, suppose a student received a "D" in MATH 220, then retakes the course and again received a "D". Now that "D" is permanent, since the retake will be the recorded grade. The student could take MATH 220 again, but it would count as a separate grade, not a grade change retake. The other part of the rule is that a student can have just FIVE retakes! So a retake should not be taken lightly. If a student knows he/she is in trouble with a class, then drop it.


When graduation is near, what paperwork do I need?

Engineering requires two "graduation checks". The first one is done early in the semester prior to the semester in which you plan to graduate. This "pre-graduation" check is done so there will be no surprises when you reach your graduation semester. You should make an appointment with Dean Satzler in the Dean's office (Durland 142) for that check. The second check is a formal "graduation clearance". This is done early in the semester in which you plan to graduate, again by making an appointment with Dean Satzler. You will need to fill out a graduation application in your student center in iSIS (this is an option in the Other Academic drop-down box) which is then approved/disapproved. If you have done the pre-graduation check, and have not dropped any courses, this is usually just a formality. You must remember that if you fail to graduate, then you must again fill out a new application. There is no "carry over" for the application. Submission of this application will put you on the graduation list for that semester, then all you need do is complete all the indicated courses!


What if I don't have the prerequisites for a class?

College of Engineering requires a "C" or better for all prerequisite classes, i.e., a class that is a prerequisite for another class. There is a prescribed order in which the classes are to be taken. But, occasionally students will drop a class or receive a low grade and be out of the normal progression. However, there are very few valid reasons for taking a class without having the listed prerequisites. There have been cases where a student planned to graduate or was ill and needed to take a class out of sequence. In those relatively rare cases, a waiver was granted. If a student does not have the prerequisites and enrolls in a class anyway, he/she can be dropped from the class. If you think you have a sufficient reason for taking a class without the prerequisites, then see your undergraduate advisor. These are handled on a case-by-case basis.


What is the difference between the CS, SE, and IS degrees?

The CS degree is our mathematics based degree and engineering applications degree. Students in this program will take four mathematics classes, two of which are 500 level or higher. They also take a 500-level statistics, and an advanced theory class about computer science. Students with this degree could expect to do work in which a knowledge of mathematics would be required or some sort of engineering application. This could include such diverse jobs as systems administrator, computer modeling, or network manager. The emphasis of the SE option is more vocational than academic. It provides a solid foundation for students seeking a career in Software Engineering. This degree could lead to jobs such as a software engineer, user interface developer, or software tester. The IS degree focuses on the corporate world. Students with this degree would expect to work in any information technology area that supports business. For example, human resources, accounting, finance, databases, networking, and systems administration, to name a few. The math requirements are considerably less; only three lower lever math courses and a statistics course are required. Another difference is the CS and SE options (bachelor's) is accredited. This means that an outside agency has examined our program to insure it meets or exceeds a specified set of guidelines. Until recently, there was no recognized accrediting agency for the IS degree. Accreditation is voluntary, with the decision made by individual computer science programs.


What about the Honors program?

The Honors program is for students who maintain a 3.5 or better GPA and want to participate. They are required to CIS 499 (CS research) which counts as a 3 credit hour technical elective. More information on the Honors program is available at http://www.k-state.edu/ksuhonors/.


What is a minor?

Students are encouraged to consider broadening their course of study through pursuit of an undergraduate minors. A minor requires completion of at least 15 designated hours of course work. Courses forming a minor may be used to satisfy the general requirements of a major curriculum, including free electives. Declaration of a minor is optional and students are not required to complete a minor to graduate. Students interested in completing one or more minors should consult their advisor.