This page contains many of the most common questions that we receive at the School of CIS, and the answers to them.


What’s the difference between “CS” and “IS”?

Computer Scientists primarily deal with the “low-level” workings of the hardware and software. Computer Scientists worry about things like hardware register usage, efficient algorithms, novel data structures, and transmission of bits and bytes over a network. Information Systems professionals are more concerned with using computers to solve problems at a higher level of abstraction. They solve problems like, “How do I put together a payroll system for my corporation?”

Registration of CIS Classes

When should I register for CIS classes?

Depending upon your class standing, you should register for CIS classes any time during the registration cycle starting in March through 5pm of the Friday before the start of classes for any given semester.

What is the Drop/Add period?

The first week of classes (Monday-Friday) is the drop/add period. If you wait until this week to register for all of your classes, there will be an additional charge of $50 for registering late. If, however, you have registered for classes already and just want to add or drop a class during the first week of classes, there is no penalty or late fee.

What is the procedure to add a class after the Drop/Add period?

To add a class after the Drop/Add period, you must obtain your instructor’s signature as approval to add their class late, the Director’s (C-2-100 MAK) signature as approval to add a class late, and the Dean’s (332 KEN) signature as approval to add a class late. Dean Plotkowski also requires that a memo be attached explaining why a student is adding a class after the Drop/Add Deadline. An additional charge of $25 for adding a class late will be charged.

Dropping CIS Classes

When can I drop a class without a grade of “W?”

You can drop a class anytime during the first week of classes without a grade of “W” posted to your transcript.

When is the last day you can officially drop a class with a grade of “W?”

You can drop a class anytime within 53 days into the semester. In other words, you can drop a class anytime up to 5 p.m. on Friday of the eighth week of classes. Because of the shortened time frame, this rule does not pertain to the Spring/Summer semester.

What are the procedures to drop a class after the Withdrawal deadline?

To drop a class after the Withdrawal deadline, you must obtain your instructor’s signature as approval to drop, the Director’s (C-2-100 MAK) signature as approval to drop, and the Advising Resource Center’s (200 STU) signature as approval to drop. The Advising Resource Center requires that their form be attached explaining why a student is dropping a class after the Withdrawal Deadline.

Transfer Classes

Where can I go to see if a class will transfer into GVSU?

You can go to the Course Equivalency Guide at: to figure out what class will transfer in as equivalent to a GVSU class.

Who can I talk to about a computing class I think should transfer in to GVSU that hasn’t?

Dr. Larry Kotman handles the School of Computing & Information Systems’ transfer equivalency problems.

Class Substitutions

Who should I contact about a class substitution?

Write the Director of Computing & Information Systems, about substituting one course for another in either the Computer Science or Information Systems Degree.

Second Admit

What does it mean to be “Second Admitted?”

Our students are first admitted to GVSU and then secondly are admitted as either a Computer Science Major or an Information Systems Major.

What do you need to do to be Second Admitted?

As soon as grades have been posted on the five required courses, go to our website at to electronically apply for Second Admit

When will I be notified as to whether I will be admitted or not to the School of CIS Second Admit Program?

Students will be sent official notice (via U.S. Mail) of whether they have been second admitted to either the Computer Science or Information Systems Major the day after grades are due from the faculty. This is also the same day that grades are posted on GVSU’s web page.


What is the procedure if I disagree about my posted grade?

Contact your instructor and talk to him/her why you disagree about the final outcome of your posted grade. If the instructor has erred, he/she will fill out an Authorization of Grade Change form to correct the error.

How long will that take for the error to be corrected?

The Authorization of Grade Change form is filled out and signed by the instructor. The form then is approved by the Director of the School of Computing & Information Systems and is then forwarded to the Dean’s Office for approval. From the Dean’s office the form is sent to Records over in the Student Services building. Once received by them it is posted to your transcript. This process could take up to several weeks before the change will appear on a student’s record.

What is an Incomplete Grade?

An Incomplete grade is a temporary grade given for work that is lacking in quantity to meet course objectives. It may be assigned when illness, necessary absence, or other reasons generally beyond the control of the student prevent completion of the course requirements by the end of the semester. This grade may not be given as a substitute for a failing grade or withdrawal. The student has one semester to submit the outstanding coursework.

What is a Credit/No Credit Grade?

Undergraduate students may elect certain undergraduate coursework on a credit/no credit basis. A maximum of 10 semester hours of major, minor, or cognate courses within the major may be taken on a credit/no credit basis only with the consent of the student’s major department. A maximum of 25 percent of a student’s hours of GVSU courses earned to fulfill graduation requirements may be taken on a credit/no credit basis. Consent is unnecessary if the course is an elective, a general education course, or a degree cognate. A Credit/No Credit form must be filled out and submitted to the Records Office in STU by Friday at 5 p.m. of the first week of classes.

Repeat a Course

If I need to repeat a course, what is the procedure?

Students who repeat a course will have only the last grade counted toward their GPA, whether or not the last grade is higher. Students must notify the Registrar of their intention by filing a Repeat Grade form during the semester in which they repeat the class.  If repeating a course more then once, a Registration Repeat Limit approval form must be filled out, obtaining the correct signatures and drop off at the records windows (150 STU).

MAK Labs

Are the MAK Computer Labs like the labs in HRY?

No, HRY Hall Computer Labs are Window Labs. The Computer Labs in MAK (under the jurisdiction of the School of CIS) are specialized labs.

What Computer Labs are under the jurisdiction of the School of CIS?

A-1-105 MAK – EOS Lab (Exploratory Operating Systems Lab)
A-1-167 MAK – DATACOM Lab (Data Communications Lab)
A-1-101 MAK – ARCH Lab (Architecture Lab)
612 EBD – BioInformatics Lab
358 KEN – CS/CE Lab

MAK Lab Key Cards

How can you gain entrance to the MAK Labs?

You will need to obtain a Key Card in the CIS office at C-2-100 MAK.

What is the cost of a MAK Lab Key Card?

There is a $25.00 deposit fee charged to your student account for a MAK Lab Key Card. The fee is returned when the Key Card is returned. Please note that any late charges on your account due to balances not being paid on time are not refunded.

How long can I hold on to my Key Card?

If you want, you can hold on to your Key card until you graduate. You do not have to turn it in at the end of each semester.

What if I lose my Key Card?

If you lose your Key Card, come to the School of CIS office (C-2-100 MAK) to get another one. You will not have to make another $25.00 deposit. When the new card (or all cards, if holding more than one) is returned, $5.00 will then be deducted from the $25.00 original deposit and you will receive a reimbursement of only $20.

When can I get into the MAK Labs with my Key Card(s)?

With the MAK Lab Key Card(s) the MAK Labs are available 24 hours per day/7 days per week. Late at night you will need to use the inside corner courtyard door to obtain entrance into MAK. There is a box attached to the outside of the building. All MAK Key Cards have been programmed to allow entrance at this point.

EOS Account

What is an EOS account?

An EOS Account gives you access to the LINUX Operating System Lab environment used exclusively by CIS students.

When do I obtain an EOS Account?

When students take CIS 163, they are automatically assigned their own personal EOS Account the first week of classes. If a student transfers in CIS 163, they will be assigned an EOS Account when they start taking a 300-level course or higher.

I forgot my EOS password!

Contact Mr. Ira Woodring, the EOS System Administrator. He will reset your password to a randomly generated password, which is emailed to your student email address.

How long do I keep my EOS Account?

EOS Accounts are removed mid-fall semester for those students who are not currently enrolled. Users will be notified via their GVSU student email address one week prior to account deletion. All accounts are archived before deletion.


Does the School of Computing & Information Systems have any scholarships?

The School of CIS has both Academic Scholarships and Study Abroad Scholarships.

Where can I find out more information about academic computing scholarships?

To find out more about academic computing scholarships, go to CIS Academic Scholarships.

Where can I go to learn more about the School of CIS’ Study Abroad Scholarship?

To find more information about GVSU’s Study Abroad Program, go to:

Internship Program

Do I have to do an internship?

All new CS and IS majors are required to do an internship as part of their degree.

Where can I pick up the Internship Contract?

The School of CIS’ office, C-2-100 MAK, and Career Services, 206 STU, have a supply of Internship Contracts.

Where can I obtain information about the School of CIS’ Internship Program?

To learn more about the School of CIS’ Internship Program, go to our Internship Information page.

MSDN Academic Alliance

What is the MSDN Academic Alliance (MSDNAA)?

The MSDN Academic Alliance is an annual membership program for technical departments in the area of Computer Science, Engineering and Information Systems. The school’s faculty and students may purchase (at very low cost) or download various Microsoft software programs for use on their personal computers.

How do I qualify for the MSDN Academic Alliance Program?

In order to qualify for the MSDN Academic Alliance Program, you need to fall in one of the following categories:

1. Faculty/staff of College of Engineering and Computing.

2. Currently taking a CS, IS or EGR class during the semester.

If you are in one of these groups, you will receive your username and password for the current semester through your GVSU email. You do not need to contact the GVSU MSDN Academic Alliance Administrator.

How long will my account last?

If you are taking a College of Engineering and Computing class, your account will be automatically activated during the second week of classes and will remain active until the end of the semester. There may be a period of overlap between semesters in which your account will stay active (though this may not always be the case). The administration also reserves the right to deny any student access at anytime. If it has been determined the student is using his/her account for non-educational purposes or is distributing software to persons not enrolled in the University, their account will be terminated.

Where can I find more information about the MSDN AA Program?

To learn more about the MSDN AA Program, go to our Dreamspark Information page.


What do I need to do now that I am getting close to graduating?

The semester before you are ready to graduate you must contact the Records Office in Student Services to fill out a “Diploma Card:”

– Undergraduate Degree: The Diploma Card is blue.
– Graduate Degree: The Diploma Card is goldenrod yellow.

The Diploma Card triggers a graduation audit. When the Record’s Office receives this card, the Graduation Auditor sends an audit to the declared major’s department; if a minor is declared, one is also sent to the minor’s department. Once the outstanding criteria have been satisfied, a diploma is then mailed to the student.

Complaint About a Faculty Member

What should I do if I have a complaint about a faculty member?

If you have a complaint, protocol calls for trying to resolve the problem with the faculty member first. Having done this, if you still feel that there is an outstanding problem, the next step is to contact Dr. Paul Leidig, who is the Director of the School of Computing & Information Systems, C-2-118 MAK. After that, if you still feel the issue has not been resolved, you go up the chain of command. The next step would be to make an appointment with the Dean, Dr. Paul Plotkowski (332 KEN).