Loyola University Chicago

First and Second Year Advising

Student Academic Services

Orientation Advising

You may have many questions prior to becoming registered for your first semester of coursework at Loyola University Chicago. You can prepare yourself for registration by reading this guide that explains the curriculum and the registration process.

First Year Registration Guide

To earn an undergraduate degree from Loyola University Chicago, a student must complete the requirements for at least one major program, any additional requirements determined by the college, school, or institute where the major is housed, and 120 credit hours (a typical class is worth three credit hours). Undergraduate students may choose from 80 unique majors and minors in seven different colleges, schools, and institutes.


Unsure what you want to major in? That’s okay! You can begin taking coursework at Loyola University Chicago while you explore your interests. The Undergraduate Admission office offers a fun quiz to help you identify some potential major options.

Wondering how you’ll know what classes to take? During each of your semesters at Loyola University Chicago, you will enroll in a mix of classes that fulfill University Core requirements, major requirements, and any additional requirements determined by the college, school or institute where your major is housed. You may also enroll in minor courses if you choose to pursue a minor program.

  • University Core - The University Core is a curriculum that all undergraduate students must complete. It is designed to expand students’ understanding of themselves and the world, to reinforce the development of skills, and to integrate essential values. The University Core consists of ten different knowledge areas and 16 total courses. Undergraduate students will complete these requirements throughout their time at Loyola University Chicago. Depending on your planned major or minor, you may be excused from completing some of the knowledge areas.
  • Major Requirements - Majors may require from 30 to 86 credits to complete. To find out more about any particular major program’s requirements, visit the program website. Students must complete the requirements for at least one major program to earn an undergraduate degree.
  • Minor Requirements - Minors are optional programs that usually consist of 18-21 credit requirements. Students may choose to complete one or more minors to develop more specialized knowledge. To find out more about any particular minor program’s requirements, visit the program website.
  • College, School, or Institute Requirements - Each college, school, and institute may have additional course requirements that students must complete to earn their undergraduate degree. Many colleges, schools, and institutes have requirements for students to demonstrate proficiency in another language, to complete courses identified as writing intensive, and to participate in an engaged learning experience.

Confused about any of these requirements? That’s okay! The Office of First and Second Year Advising can assist you in understanding your requirements and registering for the correct courses.

University 101 (UNIV 101) is a mandatory, one credit hour first-year seminar course designed to help students build community with peers and the campus, as well as to help students learn more about how to be academically successful at Loyola. Students enroll in University 101 during their first semester at Loyola University Chicago. Successful completion of the course is a graduation requirement. 


Many students who are involved in Living & Learning Communities or various academic and/or mentorship programs will have the opportunity to enroll in sections of University 101 that are tailored to those groups.


Magis Sections

Magis UNIV 101 sections are for students who have a shared identity, interest, or major. These sections will incorporate discussions on how the transition to Loyola may be impacted by these identities, as well as provide additional resources that may be beneficial to the group. If you are interested in participating in a Magis section, please notify an academic advisor during your registration process. Enrollment in these sections is optional.

  • Commuter Students
  • First-Generation College Students
  • Helping Profession Majors (e.g. Education, Social Work)
  • LGBTQ+ Students
  • Marcella Neihoff School of Nursing Majors
  • Parkinson School of Health Sciences Majors
  • Pre-Health Students
  • Pre-Law Students
  • School of Communication Majors
  • STEM Majors (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math)
  • Student Diversity and Multicultural Affairs (SDMA) Mentorship Programs
  • Students of Color
  • Undecided Majors

All undergraduate students at Loyola University Chicago are assigned an academic advisor. For your first two years, you will be advised by the Office of First and Second Year Advising. Just before your third year, you will be assigned a new academic advisor who works in the college, school, or institute where your major is housed. Depending upon your major and minor programs, you may also have a faculty advisor for your major or minor who can provide additional advising regarding course selection, internship and research opportunities in the field, etc.


In the Office of First and Second Year Advising, professionally trained advisors work with students to:

  • Assist in the academic transition to college,
  • Help plan a course of study, including picking a major, making an academic plan, and deciding what courses to take in the upcoming semesters,
  • Explain University policies and procedures and other important academic information,
  • Explain and provide information about the best academic success strategies, and
  • Make referrals to other campus resources.

Once you sign up for summer orientation, you will be asked to complete an advising intake survey via your status page. This will help ensure your fall class schedule is appropriate for you. Academic advisors will then follow up with you with more information and recommendations regarding placement testing. Registration will take place in July.


Many students may receive course credit from tests and/or dual enrollment after their registration is complete; this may require schedule changes. Students will be able to make necessary schedule changes prior to the start of the fall semester. Check out our Course Credit section.

Review the Curriculum

  • Review the University Core curriculum and the requirements for your major program
  • If you are undecided about you major, consider subject areas that you are interested in exploring.
  • Review the recommended courses for your first semester.
  • Learn about the first-year seminar, University 101.
  • Complete any recommended placement testing for language, math, and/or writing.

Consider Your Time Commitments and Preferences

  • When creating a semester schedule, take into account your non-academic commitments such as work and commuting.
  • Think about what time of day you are usually most productive and alert. Look for classes offered during those windows.
  • Prioritize registering for major courses that you know you need to take first. Then build the remainder of your schedule around those courses.
  • Schedule breaks between classes. Try to avoid scheduling more than three classes back-to-back. Buildings on the same campus are usually no more than 10 minutes apart, so taking some back-to-back classes is okay.
  • Account for at least 45 minutes of travel time between classes at the Lake Shore (LSC) and Water Tower (WTC) campuses if you are enrolling in classes at both campuses.

These tutorials may be beneficial for understanding how to utilize LOCUS:


  • Many students will be required to complete language coursework for their college, school, or institute. Students who have previous experience studying Chinese, French, German, Italian, Russian, or Spanish should take a computerized placement exam prior to registering for a language course to determine what course level is most appropriate.
  • Students who have previous experience in another language may consult with faculty in the Modern Languages and Literatures department to determine what course level is most appropriate. Students who are fluent in another language may be able to fulfill their language requirement through a competency exam and should speak with their advisor for more information.
  • Students studying a language for the first time should plan to register for a 101-level course.


  • Students who plan to pursue majors in the areas of business, engineering, math, science, or technology will need to complete calculus-based math coursework. Most pre-health science courses also have pre-calculus or calculus pre-requisites.
  • Your placement into the calculus course sequence can impact your ability complete one of these programs in your planned timeframe. Learn more about what calculus course placement is recommended for your planned major by looking at the Course Recommendations for First Semester.
  • The calculus course sequence is:
    • MATH 100 Intermediate Algebra →
    • MATH 117 Pre-Calculus I →
    • MATH 118 Pre-Calculus II →
    • MATH 131 Applied Calculus I or MATH 161 Calculus I →
    • MATH 132 Applied Calculus II or MATH 162 Calculus II
  • All students will automatically be given a calculus course placement in the above sequence based on their ACT or SAT math subscore (if multiple scores are submitted, then the highest will be used for placement). Students may wish to take a placement test to alter their placement in the calculus course sequence. Learn more about the proctored placement test (called ALEKS) here.
  • Students who wish to practice for the placement test may do so within LOCUS. Be sure to prepare appropriately prior to taking the proctored test.
  • Students taking the proctored placement test may request accommodations due their documented disability.


  • Most first-year students are required to complete UCWR 110 College Writing Seminar in their first year at Loyola University Chicago. Depending on your SAT or ACT subscores in reading and writing, you may be required to take a writing placement assessment to determine whether it is appropriate for you to enroll first in ENGL 100 Developmental Writing or UCWR 110. All international students are required to complete the writing placement assessment.
  • To determine whether you need to take the writing placement assessment, visit your status page. Plan to complete the assessment prior to your summer orientation. Learn more about the details of the assessment before you take it. Answers to frequently asked questions are available.

Many students may be able to earn course credit at Loyola University Chicago through their Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, Cambridge International Exams, and/or CLEP test scores (see our credit conversion guidelines). Course credit may also be earned through high school dual enrollment coursework completed in conjunction with another college or university; students must have earned a grade of B or higher in a dual enrollment course to receive credit for the course at Loyola University Chicago. First-year students may begin with a maximum of 36 credits earned through a combination of test and/or dual enrollment credit.

Once students begin their coursework at Loyola University Chicago, they are limited to completing a maximum of 12 course credits at other institutions during summer periods. This policy has additional limitations.

Major Course Recommendations

Most students who have an intended major will complete at least one major course during their first semester at Loyola University Chicago. Check out the courses recommended for your first semester: 2020 First Semester Course Recommendations


Undecided Major Course Recommendations

Students who are exploring majors have flexibility in their first semester course enrollment. Some resources that may be useful in the discernment process include:

If you are considering a couple of different majors, you may want to enroll in an introductory course from each area in your first semester. You can use the 2020 First Semester Course Recommendations to identify introductory courses. 


If you are considering a major in a science such as biochemistry, biology, chemistry, environmental science, exercise science, forensic science, or neuroscience, it is strongly recommended that you enroll in these courses in your first semester:

  • BIOL 101 General Biology I
  • BIOL 111 General Biology I Lab (1 credit)
  • CHEM 101 General Chemistry A
  • CHEM 111 General Chemistry A Lab (1 credit)
  • MATH 118 Pre-Calculus II or MATH 131 Applied Calculus I depending on math placement

(MATH 131 not required for environmental science or exercise science)


If you are considering a major in an area such as business, computer science, mathematics, physics, or statistics, it is strongly recommended that you enroll in a calculus track math course, according to your math placement


Pre-Professional Course Recommendations

At Loyola University Chicago, pre-professional coursework is completed in conjunction with and/or in addition to your major and University Core coursework.

Additional advising for students planning to complete pre-health coursework is available through the Office of Pre-Health Advising. Students who plan to pursue further education in medicine (including MD/DO and PA), pharmacy, dentistry, physical therapy, occupational therapy, optometry, podiatry, or veterinary medicine should plan to enroll in these courses in their first semester:

  • BIOL 101 General Biology I
  • BIOL 111 General Biology I Lab (1 credit)
  • CHEM 101 General Chemistry A
  • CHEM 111 General Chemistry A Lab (1 credit)
  • MATH 118 Pre-Calculus II or MATH 131 Applied Calculus I depending on math placement

Additional advising for students planning to complete pre-law coursework is available through the Office of Pre-Law Advising. There is no set of specific courses that a pre-law student is required to complete; however, courses that involve problem solving, critical reading, writing and editing, oral communication and listening, research, organization and management, public service and promotion of justice, relationship-building and collaboration, and exposure to the law are recommended.

Still have questions?

Visit our registration FAQs section.