Office of Academic Support and Retention

Office Location: Kelley Center
Telephone: (203) 254-4000, ext. 2222

The Office of Academic Support and Retention is available to all first-year students, sophomores, and some juniors who are exploring/undecided students and/or students in transition (i.e., new transfer students who are exploring or students who wish to switch from one undergraduate school to another).

The director of Academic Support and Retention works with students individually and in groups on issues related to exploring majors, academic planning, and academic success. This includes meeting with individual students who are identified as "at risk" through early alerts and mid-term estimates, or who are on academic probation. The director also meets with transfer students who are exploring their interests and various programs upon arrival at Fairfield. In collaboration with offices such as the Career Planning Center, the Registrar's Office, and departments and schools, the director is responsible for designing programs to assist students in discerning their academic paths.

In addition, the director provides special services that improve academic success:

  • Improvement of study skills and time management
  • Strategies to improve test taking and reading comprehension
  • Academic advisement
  • Explanation of registration procedures
  • Referral to other offices on campus as necessary

The Office collaborates with the Center for Academic Excellence, the academic deans' offices, and the director of undergraduate academic planning to develop programs for faculty and staff pertaining to exploratory advising and work with students in transition. The Office also develops retention programs in support of the University's enrollment goals and strategic initiatives.

Frequently Asked Questions


Q. I would like to take some summer school courses. How do I go about this? Do I have to take these courses at Fairfield University, or is it possible to take courses at a school near my home?

  • Courses taken elsewhere must be pre-approved by the Academic Support and Retention Office or the Dean of the student's school
  • Courses taken elsewhere must be equivalent to Fairfield courses and requirements
  • The Dean sends a letter listing approved courses and Fairfield equivalents
  • It is not usually permitted to take courses in the major
  • Students may take a maximum of 2 courses
  • Students must earn a grade of "C" or better to transfer credits back to Fairfield
  • Grades do not transfer; only the course and credits transfer
  • For courses taken during the summer through Fairfield, grades do count

Q. How do I declare a major? When do I have to do this?

  • Complete the Change of Major Form if new major is in same school
  • For natural sciences, early declaration of the major is important
  • Dolan School of Business - it is not necessary to declare until the end of Sophomore year
  • Nursing and Engineering - declaration in Freshman year is helpful, but not absolutely necessary
  • General Goal: to declare major by end of the Sophomore year

Q. I am confused about what I want to do. How do I decide what my major will be?

  • Consider what you like and what you enjoy because students usually excel in courses they like and enjoy
  • Think about subjects that interest and intrigue you
  • Think about subjects that challenge you
  • Remember: often a major is not directly related to a career (A few exceptions: Accounting, Science majors and pre-med)
  • Employers sometimes tell us that the major may be less important than the ability to communicate, solve problems, think critically, and be creative
  • Take the Strong Interest Inventory (Can be obtained from the Career Planning Center)
  • Check with the Career Planning Center about the Strong and other career assessment instruments

Q. Do I have to have a minor?

  • No - Students must complete requirements of one major General graduation requirements, University CORE, and Requirements of the school

Q. What are electives? It doesn't look like I'll have time to take any electives before I graduate.

  • Electives are courses that are not required, the student "elects" to take them
  • Electives count in the (38-41) three or four credit courses required to graduate
  • Electives are courses not required by the University, School, or major
  • Students use electives when they "elect" to have a minor or second major

Q. I would like to change schools; how do I go about this?

  • Complete Change of School Form
  • Obtain form from the Dean's Office - either the Office of Academic Support and Retention or the Dean of the School
  • To switch to the Dolan School of Business, the student must have an overal GPA of 2.80
  • It is best to switch to DSB by Sophomore year
  • To switch to the College of Arts & Sciences or the School of Engineering, meet with one of the Assistant or Associate Deans of the School

Q. Is it possible to major in two subjects?

  • Yes, it is possible
  • The specific details depend on requirements of each major
  • Students complete Double Major Form indicating primary and secondary majors
  • Students should declare the double majors early for planning purposes
  • Discuss the double majors with academic advisors in each department and/or the Dean

Q. I don't remember the name of my academic advisor? How can I find out who that person is and how to contact my faculty advisor?

  • Students can find the name of the Academic Advisor on my.Fairfield: click on Academics, scroll to Student Records, and click on Student Information

Q. How do I find out which CORE requirements I still need to take?

  • The Undergraduate schools have graduation checklists
  • Students should run the Degree Evaluation through my.Fairfield
  • Click on Academics Tab
  • Go to the Student Records channel on the lower right of screen
  • Click on Degree Evaluation and select the current term
  • Click on Generate a New Evaluation
  • Select the Program
  • Select Generate Request

Q. How do I register for courses?

  • Students need to see their advisor prior to registration to discuss course selection and to receive their Registration Pin Number (PIN).
  • Online registration will be by class - one day for the students in each class to register for all of their courses. This will be preceded by a week of faculty advising. Classes will go online in alphabetical groupings every 45 minutes starting with the Rising Senior Class at 8:30 a.m. on their designated day. Scholars, followed by Fall Varsity Athletes for that semester, will precede the alphabetical groupings. The Senior class will be followed by subsequent classes: Junior, Sophomore, and Freshmen
  • Students will register for major, minor, core and elective courses on their class registration day and are limited to a maximum of 6 courses.
  • The online registration system will be active for each class until 8:00 a.m. the following morning. Then the student's online registration and PIN will be turned off until each class has had an opportunity to register.
  • There will be a day in between each class registration for departments to review registrations and the waitlist and for students who missed their registration to register in person in the Registrar's Office.
  • Most courses will be open during the online registration period. Some departments (with courses that have specific populations) may incrementally increase the maximum number of spaces in some of their courses by class.
  • Departments will continue to have some courses with prerequisites or major restrictions as in the past.
  • The waitlist for courses will be turned on at the beginning of online registration, except for the courses with maximums that are to be increased incrementally.
  • After all classes have had the opportunity to register online and students of each class have had the opportunity to register online via my.Fairfield, the system will be turned on for all classes. Students will have access to online registration (to drop/add courses via my.Fairfield) until the first week of the next full-time semester. Students will also be able to place their names on the waitlist for courses.

Q. What are the steps in the registration process?

  • Obtain copy of Undergraduate Course Booklet
  • Check campus mail for information from the Dean's Office, the department and/or the academic advisor
  • Read instructions in booklet and from the Dean's Office and the departments
  • Follow instructions from Registrar, the Dean's Office and from the departments
  • Meet with faculty advisor
  • Complete Undergraduate Registration Form
  • Have the Undergraduate Registration Form signed by Faculty Advisor and obtain your Registration Pin Number (PIN)
  • For major - write courses in that section - register on day assigned for your class
  • For minor - write courses in that section - register on day assigned for your class
  • For CORE and Electives, complete that section - register on day assigned for your class

Q. When it is time to register, how do you determine the courses that you must take.

a) Students with major and/or minor

  • Determine the courses that you must take
  • Read instructions from your Dean: School Requirements, Major Requirements, and Minor Requirements
  • Pay attention to sequence of courses in the major/minor
  • List several sections for same course (1st choice, 2nd choice etc)
  • Lastly, select courses to fulfill CORE and Electives
  • Know what you have taken and which CORE Requirements have been completed
  • Complete CORE Checklist

b) Students who have not decided on a major/minor

  • Select courses to fulfill CORE and Electives
  • Know what you have taken and which CORE Requirements have been completed
  • Complete CORE checklist and run a Degree Evaluation
  • Select courses of interest that also fulfill CORE
  • Select courses in areas that might be a major or minor
  • Select courses in subjects that interest you, even though you may not know anything about them

Q. How do I know if college courses that I took during high school will count toward graduation at Fairfield University?

High school students who earn college credit while still enrolled in high school can transfer those credits to Fairfield University if the following conditions are met:

  • a grade of "C" or better
  • the official college transcript is sent to Fairfield
  • the student's high school counselor sends written verification that the college credits or coursework were not used to fulfill high school graduation requirements

No more than a total of 15 such credits will be accepted by Fairfield.

Q. What are the requirements for graduation?

  • Fairfield requires both courses and credits
  • Students need a minimum of (38-41) three or four credit courses, and 120-123 credits
  • 1 and 2 credit courses do not count as one of 38-41 required courses
  • Minimum overall GPA of 2.00 (C average)
  • Minimum overall GPA in major of 2.00 (C average)
  • Complete all University CORE requirements
  • Complete 2 diversity requirements
  • Complete all requirements of school
  • Complete all requirements of at least one major
  • Residency requirement: last 30 credits must be taken at Fairfield

Q. How can I find out if I received credits for AP courses taken in high school?

  • Check with the Academic Support and Retention Office or the Registrar's Office
  • Must have taken the AP exam
  • Must have received a 4 or 5 on the exam to receive credits
  • You might be encouraged to waive receipt of credits and retake courses in major or minor
  • Maximum of 15 credits accepted

Q. What are the University CORE Requirements?

There are a total of 20-22 CORE course requirements:

  • 2 Semesters of Mathematics, one including some Calculus
  • 2 Semesters of Natural Science - Biology, Chemistry, Physics, EV150, non-psych majors may take PY261
  • 2 Semesters of History - HI30 plus one 200-level history course, or CL115-116
  • 2 Semesters of Social Science - any combination of Anthropology, CO100, CO130, Economics, Politics, Psychology, or Sociology; Nursing students take PY163; Business students take EC11 and EC12
  • 2 Semesters of Philosophy - PH10 plus a 100-level Philosophy course
  • 2 Semesters of Religious Studies - RS10 plus 1 upper level
  • 1 Semester of Philosophy (200-level), Religious Studies or Applied Ethics. DSB students take AE291
  • 3 Semesters of English - EN11, EN12, plus 1 literature course. Note: EN/W courses do not fulfill CORE requirements
  • 2 Semesters of Visual and Performing Arts - select from Art History, Film, Music, New Media, Radio, Studio Art, Theatre, or Television; one must be historical in focus
  • 2 Semesters of Modern or Classical language at the intermediate level or above (4 semesters if begin language at elementary level). Note: 3 semesters of Latin and Greek fulfill the requirement - i.e., 1 elementary and 2 intermediate semesters
  • 1 U. S. Diversity Course (may be double counted)
  • 1 World Diversity Course (may be double counted)

Q. How many courses or credits do I have to take to be considered a full-time student?

  • Students must take a minimum of 12 credits to be considered full-time
  • Athletes must take at least 12 credits to compete

Q. When is a student placed on academic probation?

  • Sophomores and rising Sophomores are placed on Academic Probation when the overall GPA is below 1.90
  • Juniors and Seniors are placed on Academic Probation when the overall GPA is below 2.00.
  • Students are removed from Academic Probation as soon as overall GPA is equal to or greater than the required overall GPA
  • Courses taken at Fairfield during intersession or summer count toward the student’s GPA
  • Students are expected to make academic progress while on probation

Q. When can a student withdraw from a course?

  • Students can withdraw during drop/add week (1st week of the semester)
  • Beyond Drop/Add Week, students may withdraw from courses up to mid-semester, and they must obtain signature of the dean on the Course Withdrawal Form
  • Beyond Drop/Add Week, students receive a "W" on transcript
  • The "W" has no effect on the student's GPA

Q. What does it mean to received an "Incomplete" in a course?

  • The Incomplete is an "I" grade on grade report or transcript
  • Incompletes are arranged by agreement between the student and professor because the student is unable to complete the semester's work on time due to an emergency such as illness
  • The Incomplete means that the work for the course will be completed after the conclusion of the semester
  • Grades of Incompletes are not given to graduating seniors
  • The deadline for completion of work: 30 days into the next regular semester
  • An Incomplete received in fall term must be completed by around third week of February
  • An Incomplete received in spring term must be completed by around mid-October of following academic year
  • Notification of the deadline is sent to the student by the Registrar

Q. How do I locate and contact my academic dean?

  • College of Arts and Sciences - CNS 100
    Dr. James Simon, Dean, ext. 2221
    Dr. Aaron Perkus, Associate Dean, ext. 2918
    Ms. Susan Peterson, Assistant Dean, ext. 2223
    Ms. Andrea Martinez, Assistant Dean, ext. 2227
  • Dolan School of Business - DSB 1125
    Dr. Donald Gibson, Interim Dean, ext. 2841
  • School of Engineering - MCA 106
    Dr. Jack Beal, Dean, ext. 4147
    Dr. Bill Taylor, Associate Dean, ext. 4147
  • School of Nursing - SON 104
    Dr. Lynn Babington, Interim Dean, ext. 2701
    Dr. Theresa Quell, Undergraduate Student Services Director, ext. 2704
    Dr. Joyce Shea, Undergraduate Program Director, ext. 2575
  • Office of Academic Support and Retention - Kelley Center
    Ms. Heather Petraglia, Director, Kelley Center, ext. 2222
    Ms. Kristen Kobylenski, Assistant Director, Kelley Center, ext. 2222
    Ms. Colby Caron, Assistant Director, Kelley Center, ext. 2222

Q. How do I go about getting a tutor?

  • Call Disability Support Services at ext. 2615, Kelley Center
  • For help with writing papers, contact the Writing Center, (203) 254-4000 ext. 2529, DMH 247
    • Dr. Elizabeth Boquet, Director; register for appointments online at The Writing Center.
  • For help with mathematics courses, check with the Mathematics Department about the hours for the Mathematics Center, BNW 12, ext. 2515
  • Help is available for students taking Micro and Macroeconomics. Check with your professor.
  • Help is available for students taking AC11 and AC12. Check with your professor.