Guide for First Year Undergraduate Students

Here you can find everything you need to know about buying books, choosing classes, declaring a major, speaking to an advisor, or getting some extra help in your classes. This guide was written by first-year students, for first-year students.

Picking Classes

Picking classes in college is nothing like picking classes in high school. It can be harder to get the classes you want, and all the different courses you can take can be overwhelming. We’ve provide some tips and links to get you started; be sure to talk to an advisor at the Engineering Advising Center. Remember: first-years are required to meet with an advisor before registering for classes.

Required Classes

All Engineering degrees at Michigan have a certain set of requirements in common. In order to graduate, you will eventually have to complete these courses. See your advisor or check out the Engineering Bulletin for more information.

Engineering 110

About one third of Engineering students are undecided when they get to Michigan, and another third change their minds while they’re here. ENGR 110: The Engineering Profession is meant to show you a little of all 12 disciplines, to help you decide which one to study. Your grade is based on homework and attendance, and there are no exams. Even if you already have an idea of which direction you want to go, you should think about this class; you’ll at least get two credits out of it, and you might find something you’re even more interested in.

Courses For Your Major

Most students take core classes their first year, but some do take introductory courses for their future major. Each department keeps a list of required courses on its website. You can find links to each of them at the link below.

Course Guides

Use these to find classes to take each semester. Remember: if you’re not sure what to take, contact an advisor at the EAC.

Informal Learning Spaces

Informal Learning Spaces are areas around campus where you can study for exams, meet with groups for classes, or do homework. They include lounges, computer labs, and open areas with tables and chairs, like the Mujo Cafe in the Duderstadt Center.


College can be a lot to deal with, especially as a first-year. That’s why we have the Engineering Advising Center. At the EAC, you can get help planning your classes, get advice about declaring a major, find out where to get help for a tough class, or just talk to someone when you need it. The advisors are here to help you; no matter what you want to talk about, they’re ready to listen. Take advantage of the EAC – you’ll make things a lot easier on yourself.

Buying Books

In high school, you were probably given all your textbooks for your classes each semester. In college, you’re going to have to buy them. Luckily, there are four different bookstores on campus, and all of them are open for extra hours at the start of each semester. You can even buy many of your books online, and get them sent straight to your dorm.

Local Bookstores

Helpful Hints

  • Buy books used. You’ll save a lot of money.
  • Get your books as early as you can – sometimes they run out.
  • Be careful about buying online. It’s easier to get the wrong book, and harder to return it.
  • If you do buy online, make sure to plan for the delivery time.
  • For second semester, ask around — someone might already have the book you need.
  • Bring your class schedule with you to show to a store employee to make sure you buy the right book(s) for your section(s).
  • If you’re not sure about a book, ask someone. It’s best to ask your professor directly, or talk with friends and upper-class students.