Academic Advising FAQs

Who do I see for advising?

For regular course advising related to the ME program, see your assigned faculty adviser. You can find out who that is by logging on to OLDPAT.

OLDPAT link:

For questions about humanities, please see one of the College of Engineering counselors (Audubon Sugar Institute Building, South Stadium Drive, 225-578-5731).  They stay up to date on the latest approved courses and the rules concerning humanities.

For questions on course transfers, course substitutions, prerequisite waivers, and for Senior Checkout, you will need to see the ME Undergraduate Program Director (Dr. Warren Waggenspack).

Do I need to see a faculty adviser? 

A flag is placed on all engineering students prior to the start of registration. You will not be able to register until the flag is lifted. The flag is only lifted after you have revised your Degree Plan on the OLDPAT, have met face-to-face with your adviser and obtained approval of your plan through the OLDPAT.  Students who have declared ME but are still in UCFY or UCAC are not required to see an ME adviser, but are highly encouraged to do so.

Can I ask my faculty adviser about other things, like job searches, career options, and graduate school?

Yes. In addition to course advising, your faculty adviser is there to provide mentoring and career planning help for you. Please feel free to discuss career options and goals, graduate school, and other academic related questions with your adviser.

Can I change advisers?

Initial assignment of students to faculty advisers is done randomly and with an effort to keep the number of students assigned to each faculty fairly equal. You can ask for a new adviser if you would prefer to work with another faculty member due to sharing similar interests with them or a personality conflict with your current adviser. However, we may decline your request or assign you to someone other than your first choice if it would cause a significant imbalance in advising loads.

What is Senior Checkout?

The purpose of Senior Checkout is to make sure that a student graduating in the next semester is taking all the necessary courses, and to uncover & resolve any potential problems that may prevent graduation.

For students graduating in Spring or Summer, Senior Checkout is performed in the Fall semester prior to graduation.  For Fall graduates, Senior Checkout is usually done the prior Spring Semester.  You will receive an email from the College of Engineering Dean's Office when it is time to do Senior Checkout.  

To checkout, you must first update your Degree Plan on the OLDPAT and then meet with the ME UG Program Director to review and approve it, ensuring that it's possible to graduate.

OLDPAT link:

The ME Undergraduate Program Director then signs off on your checkout audit.  You then complete an ABET exit survey.  Once that is completed, bring the signed audit to the counselors in the Engineering Dean's office.  At that time, your Senior Checkout flag is lifted (allowing you to register) and you are put on the graduation list.

Is it important to regularly update "my expected graduation date" in PAWS?

Yes. If you have not set your graduation date yet, a flag is set on your account that will prevent you from registering. Also, if you set a graduation date a while back that is now gone by or is coming up and you have not done senior checkout, the date will be cleared and a registration flag set until you update it or go through senior checkout.

I can't register for a class because of a prerequisite problem.

You will no longer be able to register for any of the core ME courses if you have not already completed the necessary prerequisites, or completed/enrolled in required co-requisites.

What is a Degree Audit? Where can I get a copy?

The Degree Audit shows what coursework you have completed and not completed towards your degree requirements, as well as any minors you are registered for. It shows officially what you've been given credit for, what substitutions / transfers have been accepted, and what minors you are registered for.

You can get a copy of your degree audit in PAWS, under "Student Services."

The PAWS copy includes most but not all audit information, however.  Before going for advising, you may want to stop at the desk in the Engineering Dean's office to pick up a copy of your complete Degree Audit.

What is the Flowchart? Where can I get it?

The flowchart is a visual representation of the curriculum requirements for each Catalog year.  It shows what courses you need to take, the prerequisite/co-requisite constraints between classes, and approximately when in your program you should take each course. If a student follows the flowchart exactly, they can complete the curriculum in four years. Summer courses and/or additional semesters may be required to complete the degree if the student takes fewer credit hours (because of a job or other issues), or must repeat courses, or does not place into the preliminary courses in Math and Physics, or does an academic year internship/COOP.  In fact, few engineering students finish in 4 years.

Click Here for the Flowcharts

I'm on an older catalog. Do I follow that catalog's flowchart, or the latest flowchart? Do I need to meet the latest prerequisites?

The catalog/flowchart for your catalog year defines what courses you need to take, and any minimum grade requirements for specific courses and the program overall (such as the C or better requirement for MATH 1550 and PHYS 2110 for all engineering students)

HOWEVER, course pre/co-requisite requirements - including minimum grade requirements on prerequisite courses - are always governed by the LATEST catalog.

Sometimes courses on older catalogs are dropped or renumbered in more recent catalogs. When these changes occur, the ME UG Program Director and your faculty advisers will provide you with information on which new courses are considered equivalent to the old courses.  Contact the ME Undergraduate Program Director if you have any questions.

Which General Education classes can I take? What happens to my Gen Ed classes if I change catalogs?

You must always use the General Education list for your catalog year. The list for each year can be found on the Flowchart page or from the LSU A-Z page.

If you use the wrong year's list, you could potentially take courses for which you will NOT receive credit towards your General Education requirements.

When you change catalog years, the catalog year list also changes for your General Education requirements.  Occasionally courses fall off the General Education list, which means a course that was a General Education on your old catalog may not be one on your new catalog.  Always have a college counselor review the General Education courses you have taken before changing catalogs, to make sure there will not be any problems.

Why would I change my catalog? How do I change my catalog year?

You can change to a newer catalog year at any time up to graduation. Students who have left LSU for 2 or more semesters and are re-entering must change to the latest catalog year at the time of their re-entry.

Changing to a new catalog may be beneficial.  For instance, recent changes in the ME curriculum have reduced the number of courses/credit hours required to get the ME degree.  Moving from an older catalog to a newer one may reduce the number of courses you need to take.  Your degree audit will also more closely align with the current flowchart, making course planning easier.

To change your catalog year, see the college counselors (Audubon Sugar Institute Building, South Stadium Drive, 225-578-5731) - they will make the change (and review your Gen Ed courses first for any potential problems).  It is also recommended that you speak with the ME Undergraduate Program Director first to see if the change will work in your favor.

What is a minor? How do I get a minor? 

A minor is a sequence of courses that are taken in addition to or in conjunction with your degree requirements to develop expertise in a particular subarea. Course requirements vary but most minors require between 18 to 36 credit hours of coursework. In addition to further building your expertise in areas of interest to you, minors can be useful in making you more "marketable" when it comes time to graduate and get a job.

A minor is noted on your official LSU transcript.

You must register that you are pursuing a minor with the Engineering Counselors. They will enter into the computer that you are pursuing the minor. It is not enough just to take the courses! To check your minors, get a copy of your degree audit, which will indicate at the top any minors that have been registered for, and will also have a section for each minor showing the minor requirements. If it isn't on the degree audit, you are not registered.

What minors are of interest to MEs? Where do I find information on minor requirements?

For more information on other minors, as well as a complete of list of minors on campus, see one of the Engineering counselors.

Make sure to indicate to your faculty adviser what minors you are pursuing, so that those requirements are factored into your scheduling.

For more information on minors that might be of specific interest to ME students.

Should I do an internship or Co-op? How do I get one?

Having some non-academic engineering experience has become practically a requirement for getting a job with many companies. It is strongly advised that you get some practical engineering experience outside the university prior to graduating. This experience can come from part time work at a local engineering firm, or from internships or Co-op's. Internships are typically done over the Summer. Co-op's generally are multi-semester, and generally require the student to take off one or more semesters from school. Co-op and internships arranged through Career Services are formally noted on a students transcript.

Most internship hiring is done between November and March for the following Summer, so get started early. Register with Career Services and get familiar with their listings for internship and Co-op opportunities. Career Services also has a Co-op office which you can contact. Attend the LSU Job Fair and talk to the company representatives about internship opportunities. You may also consider interviewing with companies even if you are not yet graduating - if they are impressed they may be able to find an internship position for you.  The ME UG Program Director and the Mechanical & Industrial Engineering Department Chair will also send out notices on internship opportunities from time to time, so make sure to check your e-mail for messages from the Department.

Networking is another - and very effective - means of getting an internship. Contact alumni, family friends, etc., who are working at companies you are interested in or book an appointment with Mr. Bob Waltman at the Department Front Office (PFTH 3261). Mr. Waltman offers mentoring sessions and based on the information you provide during these sessions he could help you obtain an internship.

When should I sign up with Career Services? 

Immediately. You can sign up with career services at any point in your program, including as a freshman. Registering early will allow you to participate in short courses they offer on resume writing, job searches, finding internships & Co-op's, as well as familiarize yourself with how to use their job search resources. Career Services is located in the LSU Student Union.

How important is participation in student organizations?

Companies want to hire students who are leaders, self-starters (motivated), and have good people skills. Participation in student organizations - particularly as an officer - is an excellent way to demonstrate you have these characteristics.

It also shows you have done more than just academics while at LSU. Be aware that many recruiters look at school as a part time 20-30 hour a week job (even though we know in reality its closer to 40-50 hours a week). The obvious question is what did you do with yourself the other 10-20 hours of the work week? Showing initiative and self-improvement will give you an edge in the job hunt.

Are there any ME-related Student Organizations or Clubs?

Yes. The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Student Chapter, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Student Chapter, the Society of Automotive Engineering (SAE) TigerRacing (Formula or "mini-indy") and Baja Bengals (Mini Baja) Clubs are all open to all interested ME students. 

I'm not receiving Department emails.

All ME and ME-declared students should be on our ME e-mail list. We occasionally send out information on job/internship opportunities, student organization meetings, and advising/registration information, and curriculum changes. 

All e-mail is sent to the students' LSU e-mail addresses ( and not to personal addresses even if these are in the system. Please make sure you monitor your LSU e-mail address regularly.