Advising FAQ

Welcome! If you are need simple answers to common questions, advice from faculty, or looking to answer general questions, you’ve found the right place!!


Advising is around the corner, but now matter the time in the semester, good advice is always welcome. Our faculty with Materials Science and Engineering are some of the most educated people in their field worldwide. With an understanding in advanced materials properties, behavior, etc, it’s professionals like our own that make learning fun, and break boundaries on what we already know.


Below is a list of MSE Academic Advisors; if you know your advisor, their respective contact information for each faculty member can be found by clicking their name, which takes you to their profile page.


Prof. Donald Brenner
Department Head and Kobe Steel Distinguished Professor
Professor Elizabeth Dickey
Associate Department Head
Prof. Veronica Augustyn Prof. Albena Ivanisevic
Prof. Yaroslava G. Yingling
Director of Undergraduate Program
Prof. Maury Balik Prof. Jacob Jones Prof. Jag Kasichainula
Prof. Thom LaBean Prof. Franky So Prof. Joe Tracy Prof. Zlatko Sitar

    1. When does pre-registration advising begin and how do I get advised?
      • MSE advising typically begins after Fall Break (for spring registration) and after Spring break (for fall registration).
      • Verify your enrollment date in MyPack Portal.
    2. I tried to register, but My Pack says I do not have a valid enrollment date. Why is this?
      • You are trying to register prior to your enrollment date.
      • Verify your enrollment date in MyPack Portal.
    3. What can I do if I do not meet the prerequisites for an MSE class?
      • Prerequisites are enforced for all MSE courses. See the course catalog to review prerequisites.
    4. How can I get into a class outside of the MSE department that is restricted?
      • When there are open seats in a course that are reserved for specific majors, you may attend class the first day and ask the instructor for permission to have one of the restricted seats.
      • If instructor approval is required, use a schedule revision form to add the course to your schedule. You can pick up a schedule revision form from the College of Engineering located in Page Hall. This form requires the instructor’s signature.
      • If the course restriction says departmental approval required, you may contact the instructor to find out who in the department can grant permission (permission must come from the department teaching the class).
    5. What are the humanity/social science (GEP) requirements for the MSE curriculum?
      • All engineering students are required to take seven GEP courses (21 credit hours total) from several different categories.
      • For MSE students, 3 of the 21 credit hours must be an ethics course.
      • GEP courses must be taken for a grade.
      • Your degree audit will be the most accurate resource of approved GEP courses.
      • Use the College of Engineering form to keep track of your GEP courses.
    6. What is a good minor to complement my MSE major?
      • The most popular minors for MSE students include mathematics and physics because some required courses can double count as MSE technical electives.
      • A minor in business administration is helpful for students who plan to get an MBA.
      • Some MSE students minor in a foreign language.
      • For more information visit the NCSU Minors website.
    7. How do I declare a minor?
      • Contact the coordinator of your intended minor program.
      • If the coordinator asks you to schedule an advising meeting, you may want to come prepared with a minor declaration form.
      • The minor audit will appear under “Degree Audit” in My Pack and will be designated on your official transcript at the same time your degree is conferred.
    8. How do I get into a full class?
      • First, get on the wait list if you can. Note that wait lists are closed the first day of class and deleted on the last day to add a class.
      • Attend the first day and see if there is room and the instructor is willing to take extra students into the class.
      • For non-MSE courses, ask the instructor for an appropriate contact person in his/her department for manual addition.
    9. What are the differences between distance education and regular classes?
      • Students are not required to come to campus for distance education courses, except for some exams. Exam accommodations can be made for students out of state.
      • Distance education tuition varies depending on the session in which the course is taken. Check the University Cashier’s Office website for pricing.
      • Distance education courses meet curriculum requirements the same as regular courses.
      • Some on-campus courses are listed as “internet” courses. These ARE NOT distance education courses; they are regular courses that will be administered online. They will be billed as regular courses.
    10. Can my MSE advisor help me get into non-MSE courses?
      • No. Only administrators in the department offering a course can add or remove students from classes in that department.
    11. Are MSE courses offered during the summer?
      • Currently, the only MSE undergraduate level courses offered over the summer are MSE 200 and MSE 201.
    12. Can I take more than 18 credit hours in a regular semester?
      • The MSE department will not approve all course load waivers – this is done on a case-by-case basis.
    13. I have taken or plan to take a course at another college that I intend to transfer to meet one of my MSE requirements. How can I make sure the course will transfer (This includes study abroad)?
      • First, check the database of pre-approved transfer courses. If the course does not appear on either list, it will have to be evaluated for equivalency.
      • You must provide a complete syllabus or comprehensive list of covered topics for evaluation. These materials should be submitted to the department responsible for the course that you intend to substitute.
      • Contact Dr. Kim Roberts ( (study abroad students contact Mr. Brian Koehler in 120 Page Hall for help locating departmental representatives who can evaluate your transfer course.
      • To transfer your course to NCSU, have an official copy of your transcript sent to the NCSU Office of Undergraduate Admissions.
    14. I want to add/drop a course after the last day to add/drop. Can I do this?
      • Check university deadlines for adding/dropping courses each semester.
      • Late course additions must be approved by the instructor of the course and the College of Engineering. A schedule revision form should be used to add a course.
      • Late course drops are permitted only under certain extenuating circumstances. A schedule revision form should be used and accompanied by a letter of explanation addressed to Dr. Dave Parish, Assistant Dean of Academic Affairs, justifying the request and supporting documentation (doctor’s notes, counseling center notes, etc.).
      • Students who have a legitimate reason for dropping a course after the deadline should first consult the University Counseling Center.
      • Familiarize yourself with the university policy on late drops (withdrawals).
      • Schedule revision forms can be acquired from the College of Engineering located in Page Hall.
    15. I need to reserve a classroom for a student organization-related event. Who should I contact?
      • Please contact Ms. Edna Deas with all room reservation requests.
    16. How does the grade exclusion policy work?
      • Familiarize yourself with the official university grade exclusion policy.
      • You can download the grade exclusion form here.
      • Students may exclude grades (C- or lower) in up to two courses at any level.
      • Note that the excluded grade will remain on your transcript and the course cannot be used to fulfill degree requirements.
    17. How many times can I repeat the same course?
      • The university allows only two repeats of the same course if a grade of C- or lower is earned.
      • Students must receive permission from Dr. Dave Parish, Assistant Dean of Academic Affiars, to take a course for the third time.
      • Courses in which a grade of C or better is earned cannot be repeated.
    18. I have a hold on my account that is preventing me from registering. How can I get the hold removed?
      • Determine what kind of hold you have, they fall into 4 main categories and the error message should give you an idea of which type of hold you have:
      • Advising/registration hold: Follow the MSE advising instructions.
      • Academic warning hold: Complete an academic advisement report and bring it to your adviser.
      • Non-payment/cashier’s office hold: Late payments for tuition or student health services. Payment must be made to the University Cashier’s office before the hold can be released.
      • Student conduct hold: Academic integrity or student conduct violation. Contact the Office of Student Conduct for more information.
    19. How can I find out whether I am suspended or on academic warning?
      • Log into MyPack Portal and view your Degree Audit.
      • Click on Total Units in the top right corner of the Degree Audit.
      • Academic standing is shown at the bottom of the Total Units page.
    20. I have been notified I am on academic warning and need to meet with my advisor. What should I do?
      • Bring a copy of an academic advisement form to your academic advisor. Be sure to fill out the top box before you come.
      • Failure to follow these steps will result in a hold on your account that prevents registration for the next semester.
    21. I received an e-mail notifying me that I am on progress toward degree warning. What does this mean?
      • Progress toward degree warning means you are not progressing in your degree as required by the university (e.g., taking too many non-curriculum courses, repeating courses too many times, poor grades, etc.).
      • Students who do not show improvement after one semester or fail to meet with Dr. Yingling will be expelled from the MSE department and switched to the internal transition (TRU) program
      • Familiarize yourself with the university policy on progress toward degree.
    22. What is the difference between a co-op and an internship, and when is the best time to apply for one?
      • A co-op is a structured, university approved work program designed to allow students to alternate semesters of school and paid work in their field of study. During semesters of work, students enroll in a zero credit co-op class (COP ***) that allows them to maintain continuous enrollment. Co-op generally requires one extra year in school to complete the program, and the time spent working can be applied toward a professional engineering license. For more information about co-op, visit the co-op website. Students should apply for the co-op program after they have applied for CODA and officially joined the MSE program.
      • An internship is a short-term job in the student’s field of study. Students normally apply for internships on their own, just like a regular job. Most students who choose to intern do so during the summer. Since there is no internship program offered through the university, a student who interns during a regular semester is considered withdrawn from school and must reapply to return the next semester. This can be avoided by taking at least one course from NCSU while interning, on-campus or via distance education (non-MSE courses only). Internships CANNOT be applied toward a professional engineering license. Students may intern any time.
    23. Can I receive course credit for an internship or engineering-related job?
      • Course credit cannot be awarded for paid internships or jobs.
    24. Is there a course that will help me prepare for the fundamental of engineering (FE) exam, and is the class required to take the exam?
      • The FE preparation course is E 490.
      • E 490 is not required to take the FE exam.
      • More information about the FE exam can be found here.
    25. How do I apply for scholarships, and what are my odds of receiving one?
      • Students should complete the online scholarship eligibility form to apply for all COE and MSE scholarships.
      • MSE and COE scholarships are awarded only to students who have formally joined the MSE program through the CODA process.
      • About 15% of MSE students received some type of COE or MSE scholarship.
      • Odds of receiving a scholarship vary by year. GPA (cumulative and major), financial need, personal statement, and classification are strongly weighted in the awarding process.
      • Availability of funds determines the number and amount of new scholarships awarded each year.
    26. I am interested in doing undergraduate research. How do I get started?
      • If you are doing well in your classes and have time for outside activities, then undergraduate research may be for you. It is an excellent experience that prepares you for higher education.
      • The best way to get started is to look through the faculty profile pages and select a few faculty who work on research topics of interest to you. Contact the faculty members of interest (include a short statement about yourself and your resume in an email) and ask them about availability of undergraduate research opportunities.
      • Opportunities may also be announced in the weekly MSE email blast.
    27. Where can I find help planning out my remaining courses to make sure I graduate on time?
      • Use your degree audit as your guide for planning courses.
      • If you want to deviate from the suggested sequence of courses in the degree audit, be sure you will meet prerequisites for future courses.
      • Most MSE classes (except MSE 201) are only offered one time each year.
      • Take advantage of the plan of work feature in MyPack to plan out all of your courses.
    28. Which courses in the MSE curriculum can be taken for credit only?
      • E 115 and HES courses can be taken for credit only.
      • All other courses, including general education requirements, must be graded.
    29. Where and when are the departmental and university graduation ceremonies?
      • Information about the university graduation ceremony can be found here.
      • For information about the MSE graduation ceremony please contact the MSE undergraduate office.
      • – Apply for graduation at the beginning of the semester or summer
        session in which you are completing the last courses you need to complete
        your curriculum requirements.
        – Applications for graduation are done through MyPack Portal (
        -Add this link: