General FAQs - Colgate University Skip Navigation

Frequently Asked Questions

Please click on the links for the answers to these frequently asked questions. If you have additional questions, please feel free to contact the registrar’s office ( or 315-228-7676) and a staff member will be happy to assist you.

First-Year General FAQs

What if I didn't receive the registration book or summer reading assignment?
Registration booklets are sent out during the third week of June. If you do not receive your registration booklet or your summer reading assignment by July 6 contact the registrar's office immediately. You will still be held to all appropriate deadlines and procedures. You can contact the office by phone (315-228-7676 or 6493) or by e-mail (
Whom can I contact for summer academic advising (course placement)?
There are several faculty members that are available to offer guidance on course placement before the start of the semester. This special group of summer advisers welcome your questions as you plan for fall registration.

Jessica Graybill - FSEMs, core curriculum, and other interdisciplinary programs

Georgia Frank - Arts/Humanities

Aaron Robertson - Mathematics/Natural Sciences

Nicole Simpson - Social Science

Julie Chanatry - Health Sciences

Kenneth Belanger - Natural Sciences

When is the summer writing assignment due?
The summer writing assignment is due by the date specified in the FSEM director's letter. If you have questions about this assignment, please refer to the letter regarding the writing assignment (included in the First-Year Registration Booklet) or contact Ginger Babich ( or 315-228-7256).
Where do I get my books after I find out my schedule?
Schedules are not final until you have received an e-mail from the registrar's office (in early August) saying schedules are available. Do not purchase books until you receive this notification. 

You can visit the bookstore online at The Colgate Bookstore is located in the heart of downtown Hamilton on the corner of the main intersection. Along with all textbooks, the bookstore also provides anything you might need for all your academic work.

Graduation Requirement FAQs

How many Colgate courses and what requirements does a student need to be eligible for graduation?
Consult the University Catalogue or the first-year graduation requirements page for degree requirements and more.
What degree will be received when you graduate from Colgate?
All Colgate undergraduate programs lead to a Bachelor of Arts (AB) degree.
How does a student fulfill the foreign language requirement at Colgate?
Students needing to fulfill the language requirement at Colgate will be informed of their status by a letter from the university registrar accompanying the First-Year Registration booklet. Visit the first-year graduation requirements page for policy information.
How does a student fulfill the physical education requirement at Colgate?
Students must complete two units of physical education in the first two years at Colgate. Many physical education and outdoor education activities are offered each semester; a complete listing may be found on the Physical Education web page. Athletes may earn one physical education unit for each season of participation on varsity teams. Students may earn a maximum of one physical education unit from a club sport. Questions about physical education should be directed to the Department of Physical Education by calling 315-228-7055.
What does Writing Priority I status mean?
Students designated Writing Priority I will be informed of their status by a letter from the university registrar accompanying the First-Year Registration booklet. Visit the first-year graduation requirements page for policy information.
What is a First-Year Seminar (FSEM)?
First-year seminars (FSEMs) are designed to introduce students to a variety of liberal arts topics, skills, and ways of learning, including the importance of academic integrity. The FSEM emphasizes all aspects of the learning process including the exploration of individual needs and strengths, interactions with classmates, and the multiplicity of resources beyond the classroom. Special emphasis is placed on improving writing skills and using the library's many resources. The merging of these elements into a single course provides a prime opportunity for the student to obtain a breadth of college-level experience and academic perspective. Some FSEMs may count toward fulfillment of requirements within the Common Core or for Areas of Inquiry requirements. FSEMs are listed on the First-Year Course Offerings web page.
Who will be your adviser?
Colgate University has a unique dual-advising system for students. All students have an academic (faculty) adviser and an administrative dean.

Your FSEM instructor will serve as your faculty adviser until you declare your major. (As part of the major declaration process, you will choose a faculty adviser from the department of your major.) He or she will assist you with your academic career at Colgate (course registration planning, signing forms, etc.).

Your administrative dean is a professional staff member who is available to help you with issues or concerns that may not be strictly academic in nature (extended absences, deans certifications, policy questions/concerns, disciplinary issues, etc.).
What is the Areas of Inquiry requirement?
Please visit the first-year graduation requirements page for areas of inquiry information.
What is the Global Engagements requirement?
Please visit the first-year graduation requirements page for global engagements information.
What are Common Core courses?
Please visit the first-year graduation requirements page for common core information.
Should students take Common Core courses in any special order?
Students may take the four required Common Core courses - Legacies of the Ancient World; Challenges of Modernity; one Scientific Perspectives on the World course; and one Communities & Identities course - in any order, but must be completed by the end of the sophomore year.
What is a major?
Students investigate a body of knowledge in depth in a field of major. Most major programs are centered on a single discipline and supervised by one academic department; however, a number of interdisciplinary majors permit students to major in a subject that involves several related departments. Some even cross divisional boundaries.
How many majors does Colgate offer?
Colgate offers 54 majors. See the University Catalogue for more information.
How many courses will you take in your major?
Requirements for majors vary widely from one department or program to another but consist of between 8 and 13 courses. Refer to the University Catalogue for complete major requirements.
When do you declare your major?
An official major must be selected and filed in the Office of the Registrar no later than the second term of the sophomore year (prior to registration for that term).
Can you change your major once you have declared?
A student may subsequently change majors with the approval of the new department chair or program director and the filing of a new declaration of major form with the registrar.
Can you declare a minor or second major?
Students may pursue a double major or a major and minor. No more than two majors, or one major and one minor, may be recorded on a student's transcript. Students must declare a major before declaring a minor.
When do you declare a minor or second major?
Students should declare a minor or second major as soon as possible after declaring a major, but no later than the drop/add period of their first semester senior year.
What is an extended study course?
A number of courses offer short-term study components that extend the course beyond the campus and beyond the regular term. These programs offer opportunities for students to gain access to institutions and individuals relevant to their coursework that are not available on campus. Extended studies are particularly attractive for students whose schedules do not permit them to participate in semester-long study group programs. Prerequisites may exist for these courses. Extended study course segments are registered as part of either the fall or the spring term course offerings, even though the off-campus components are scheduled to precede or follow the regular academic term.
What is a Colgate study group?
The university offers a wide variety of off-campus programs, both international and domestic. A Colgate study group is led by a member of the Colgate faculty and is comprised of Colgate students. The off-campus study program is administered by the Office of Off-Campus Study/International Programs. Visit the Off-Campus Study/International Programs web page for more information.