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Using Degree Progress Can Prevent Nasty Surprises

Posted on: February 25th, 2013 by TERRIE THOMPSON

The year was 1997, early spring.  I’d been wrapping up my classwork and was planning on graduating in May.  So I retrieved my printed catalog.  You know, the one I hadn’t opened since I started my degree program.  Imagine my surprise when I observed deadlines for May graduation that were only a month away!  I brought this to the attention of my advisor who told me, and I quote (I remember because the memory was traumatic enough that it seared into my memory), “Oh, no.  You won’t graduate in May.  Probably not summer either.  You’d best plan on a fall graduation.”  A fall graduation?!  It’s early February, I’m wanting to graduate in three months, and you’re telling me I’ll be here for another year? Unacceptable! Shocking!  But unfortunately for me, also true.  (Almost. I didn’t graduate in May, but I did graduate that summer.)

I’ll own my contribution to the above scenario:  I didn’t check my coursework against the requirements often enough as I was completing them.  But in my defense, it was a rather convoluted process, involving cross-referencing various books and seemingly duplicate paper print-outs of a sundry sort.  If my work here in the IT Department can spare one student the stress of what I went through in trying to complete my degree requirements, my time will have been well spent.

What is Degree Audit?

By now, most folks have heard of Degree Audit.  But for those of you who are new to the University (like me), the degree audit is an individualized report that reflects a student’s academic progress toward a specified degree.  It compares the student’s course work (both from The University of Mississippi and transfer work from other institutions that have been equated) with the academic degree program, and then prepares a report detailing the student’s progress toward meeting the requirements of a specified degree.  (No more cross-referencing print catalogs and various print-outs!  Degree Audit does all that for you. )

It can also be used if a student is contemplating changing majors (something I did once or twice) or adding a minor by allowing the student to run a simulation in Degree Audit to project how current courses might apply toward the new degree, or see how close the student may be to achieving the new major or minor.

(See more detailed information here.)

What is Degree Progress?

The degree progress report provides a way for students to view their progress toward degree completion.  With this application, students are able to easily keep track of how far they are down the path to their chosen degree.  (See an example here.  For more detailed instructions on how to run yours, click here.)

Project Updates

What excites me about working on the Degree Audit project is that once all the new features are available, we will dramatically decrease the likelihood of students having that catalytic moment of panic and the ensuing stressful weeks of attempting to accomplish the impossible.

This multi-faceted project is like a puzzle box:  the various components must be completed in a certain order.  I’ll be using this forum to keep you updated on where we are in that process, so be sure to check back next month for the most recent project updates.

FAQ on Degree Audit

What are the advantages of a degree audit?

  • Provides an ability to generate data for reports that students and advisors may use for course planning
  • Allows authorized personnel to enter course adjustments for students who may have courses that need to be moved to other requirements
  • Provides timely information of student progress on the web through
  • Improves consistency in advising appointments and graduation clearance

What’s the difference between a degree audit and degree progress?

Degree Progress is a snapshot of how far along a student is toward completing a degree (i.e., courses completed and courses yet-to-be completed).

If you need more information than that (for instance, to see how the courses you have currently completed might apply to a different degree) you might want to run a Degree Audit. It has more advanced options, such as generating simulation audits, generating lists of acceptable courses for each degree’s requirements, and displaying requirement details.

My degree program doesn’t show up in degree progress.  Why not?

New or re-admitted degree-seeking students will not see an audit at the beginning of their first enrolled term. New audits are created before priority registration for the upcoming term. Audits are not created for students enrolled in any of the 2+2 professional programs (i.e. B.S.N. in Nursing) or the undecided programs (i.e. Liberal Arts Undecided).

How often are audits updated?

Other than at the end of each semester, audit results are updated nightly if a student completes a change of program or a change of specialization (major, emphasis, etc.).  Audits are also updated when new academic work is created for a student (transfer equivalency).

Will Degree Audit and Degree Progress take the place of meeting with my advisor?

No. Degree audits are intended to assist students in determining their academic progress at The University of Mississippi. Every effort is made to ensure accuracy; however, final responsibility for meeting graduation requirements resides with the student. Students are encouraged to check with their advisors on a regular basis as they progress towards their degree.

Note: The degree audit is an internal document for advising purposes and is NOT an official document of your academic record.




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