Step 1: Understanding QU

On this page:

Learning QU terminology

Any institution has its own set of terms, systems, and acronyms that are confusing to newcomers. You’ll have this down in no time, but until then, here’s a list to help you keep it all straight:

  • QStart – your checklist as an incoming student of all the things you need to do before arriving in the fall
  • MyQ – QU’s internal website, where you’ll find links to campus offices and all of the systems you need to use, including QStart
  • Self-Service – the system you will use to register for classes
  • Stellic – the system you will use to track your progress towards graduation
  • Blackboard – the system you will use to access the syllabi, readings, and assignments for your individual classes. This summer, you will use Blackboard to access your English, Math, and foreign language placement tests
  • CAS360 – CAS’s website (THIS website) that should be your first stop when looking for information about academics, careers, or experiential learning. More details below
  • “UC” – short for “University Curriculum,” the general education program required for all QU students. More details below
  • Open Registration – the time after your initial registration during which you can make changes to your class schedule. You will also be able to make changes to your schedule through the first week of classes (Add/Drop).
  • Advising Commons – the advising office located in building CAS1, where you can drop-in during the semester for help with academic, co-curricular, and career planning
  • Learning Commons – the academic support office located in the Arnold Bernhard Library where you can access study skills workshops, tutoring, study groups, etc.
  • Faculty advisor or academic advisor – a faculty member in your major (or, for undeclared liberal arts students, your CAS110 instructor) who works with you not only on course selection and progress to degree, but also on exploring academic, career, and experiential learning possibilities
  • Academic coach – a staff member in the Learning Commons who works with you on study skills, the transition to college-level work, etc.
  • One Stop provides administrative services to students, including:

Getting to Know CAS360

CAS360 is no ordinary website! It is your one-stop shop for all academic and career information. You will receive a weekly email from CAS360 that tells you about information sessions, applications deadlines, career events, exploration tools, career training, and news. You can customize the content you receive in that email by updating your “alerts.” Click on the “Login” link in the upper right corner, log in with your QU credentials, and then select “Alerts & Emails” and check off your areas of interest. Scroll down, click “Update” and you are good to go!

Understanding the Curriculum

A visual representation of the curriculum

Like any institution, QU has various degree requirements to ensure you get a well-rounded education. Your undergraduate degree will be a combination of your major, general education requirements, and free electives. Some students will possibly add a minor(s) or even a second major.

Each major has recommendations on which classes to take in the first semester. As for the general education requirements, you don’t need to worry too much about these in the first semester. Since you have none of the requirements fulfilled, everything you take will likely fulfill something! However, it is important to understand this information going forward. Your faculty advisor and the advisors in the CAS Advising Commons will be available to help you navigate the requirements for a QU degree.

All CAS undergraduates will need to complete:

  • 120 total credits – Most students take 15 credits each semester. 15 credits x 8 semesters = 120 credits
  • The University Curriculum or “UC” – 46 of your 120 credits are devoted to the UC. Courses across the university are designated as “UC Courses” and can be used to fulfill these requirements (browse the full UC list, scroll to the middle of the page for the course list). Courses are categorized according to disciplinary area and students must take 1-2 courses in each area to ensure you are receiving exposure to a broad array of subjects. The disciplinary areas are:
    • Natural Sciences – subjects that examine the physical world such as biology, chemistry, and physics.
    • Social Sciences – subjects that study societal structures and social relationships such as economics, sociology, psychology, and political science.
    • Humanities – subjects that focus on human society and culture such as English, history, and philosophy.
    • Fine Arts – creative endeavors such as music, studio art, and theater.
  • CAS requirements – In addition to the UC, all CAS students must demonstrate proficiency in a modern language through the 102-level (second semester of college language).
  • A major – you can find the specific requirements of your major under the “Programs” menu above.

Understanding college courses

You’ll find all the courses offered at QU in the Course Catalog in Self-Service. (For step-by-step instructions on finding courses for your schedule, see Step 3: Registering for Classes > Using Self-Service to Register). The following information will help you interpret the course catalog.

  1. Course number – Each course is identified by a subject abbreviation (PO for Political Science, HS for History, etc.) and a number which indicates the course level. In general, courses are numbered as follows:
    • 100-199: Introductory level (usually appropriate for first-year students)
    • 200-mid 300s: Mid-level courses
    • Mid 300s-400s: Advanced courses (e.g., major capstones)
  2. Credits – Most academic courses are 3 credits (though some are 4). Courses such as science labs and fitness classes are only 1 credit. You need to be enrolled in 12 credits to be considered a full-time student and standard tuition covers up to 16 credits. Most students will take 5 academic courses and be enrolled in 15-16 credits each semester.
  3. Prerequisites – Some courses require you take other courses first. These courses are listed in the “Requisites” section. In the example above, before you can take PO 215, you need to have credit for either PO 101, PO 131, or PL 101.
  4. Available Sections – Most classes have multiple sections offered on different days/times and sometimes taught by different instructors. The “HA” in the picture above indicates the specific section. (Note: only one section is shown in the picture, though PO 215 does have multiple sections.)
  5. Seats – Indicates the number of spaces left in the class. If the number is 0, the course is full and you will not be able to register. Look to see if there is space in another section.
  6. Day/Time – Courses at QU typically meet Monday, Wednesday, and Friday or Tuesday and Thursday during set blocks of time. You can not enroll in two classes that meet at the same time.
  7. Location – Courses that meet in person will have a campus (in the example, Mount Carmel), building (CAS 1), and room (219) listed.
    If you see “WEB” under location, that means the course is online. If a day and time is listed for a WEB course, that means the course is “synchronous” and you are expected to log in at the appointed time. A small number of WEB courses don’t display days and times; these are “asynchronous.” Though they don’t have assigned meeting times, individual instructors may orchestrate synchronous events or activities for the course.
  • Required labs – Some classes (many science classes) require students to take a one-credit lab at the same time as the course. This information is indicated under “Requisites.” The lab section will have an “L” in course number. In the example below, a student wanting to take BIO 101 will also need to enroll in a section of BIO 101L.

  • Cross-listed classes – some classes fit into more than one department and have more than one course number. This is called “cross-listing.” You’ll see the second course number indicated after the course title. For example, CJ 250 is also SO 250. Even though it has more than one number, it is the same class. You can register under either course number.