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Degree Planner Introduction

Degree Planner is an interactive online eAdvising tool that functions in PeopleSoft to help students be more proactive with their course planning. The result is a more efficient and engaging experience that gives students a visual presentation of their current academic status and their future path. The intent is to aid students in completing their degree quicker and more effectively while also providing the campus with course need information for enrollment planning. For more information of the Degree Planner, please review our How-To Guides.

Success Visualized

Progress towards completion of the student’s academic goals is presented in a simple graphical representation on the landing page in the planner.
Screenshot of Graphical Representation of Academic Goals Completion

Requirements for majors, minors, and general education are displayed in a recommended sequence on one page using real time information regarding the individual student’s progression. Test Credit, Transfer Credit, Remediation, and courses taken at Cal State San Marcos and approved course substitutions are all taken into account in addition to course prerequisites and Fall or Spring only course offerings, providing the students with a custom recommendation for success. 

Students can further customize their recommendation by increasing or decreasing the number of units they plan to take in a semester, and add summer and winter intersession courses. When the number of units planned is altered or intersession terms added, the recommendation will be updated to provide the student with a new customized recommendation.

Comprehensive Planning

Degree Planner allows for the selection of courses to meet individual requirements where a range of courses are available, such as electives or general education. It includes an interactive filter to allow students and advisors to select courses that best fit their degree requirements. As courses are selected or planned, the filters for courses already planned are removed to help avoid duplicating requirements. Note: only NEEDED courses from the student’s Academic Requirements Report (ARR), or the red boxes, are displayed in the Degree Planner.
Screenshot of Selection of courses in degree planner Screenshot of Interactive filter on degree planner

Benefits to the Campus

Once the majority of students are using Degree Planner, student selections can be used to predict course demand, allowing CSUSM to make more informed resource management decisions. Other benefits include providing students with prescriptive advising online 24/7 and providing comprehensive advising appointments vs. course selection appointments.

Ease of use

Degree Planner provides drag and drop ease of use for a more user friendly experience in further customizing the student’s path to degree completion. The drag and drop feature obeys programmed prerequisites and fall/spring only course offerings to ensure a student’s recommended roadmap is feasible.
Screenshot of drag and drop in degree planner

Degree Planner also works with the Schedule Assistant tool so that students can move the next term’s suggested courses to the Schedule Assistant. Students then use the Schedule Assistant to find the class schedule that works around their personal lives (i.e. work, athletic practice, lunch, study time, etc.)

Degree Planner History

Cal State San Marcos was chosen as a pilot campus for the Degree Planner because we have several other electronic academic advising tools in place and up to date. CSUSM has been working with the Office of the Chancellor and two other CSU Campuses: California State University, Long Beach and California State University, Chico since April 2014 to modify the Degree Planner for implementation at the three CSU campuses and other interested CSU campuses in the future. Degree Planner was made available to a pilot group of students at CSUSM in November, 2014.

Implementation of the Degree Planner is a collaborative effort between Academic Affairs and Student Affairs. CSUSM received funding from the CO, due to our “readiness” to adopt and adapt technology, as proven in our use of eAdvising tools such as the online Academic Requirements Report (ARR). Funding was part of the money set aside from the $10M fund reserved for the use of technology to improve student learning and progress toward degree completion by reducing the effect of bottlenecks. These resources funded two eAdvising tools: Schedule Assistant and the Degree Planner. These tools augment electronic solutions that support academic advisement in some way.

The following majors went live with the Degree Planner in Nov 2014. Primary majors went live in Fall 2015.  Secondary majors and minors will go live during the 2015-2016 Academic Year.

Pilot Majors (Live Nov 2014)

  • Applied Physics: Applied Electronics Concentration
  • Applied Physics: Applied Physics Concentration
  • Business Administration: Accounting
  • Business Administration: Global Bus Mgt/Entrepreneurship Option
  • Business Administration: Global Bus Mgt/Marketing Option
  • Business Administration: Management/Entrepreneurship Option
  • Business Administration: Management/Mgt & Organizations Option
  • Business Administration: Pre-Business
  • Computer Science: Computer Information Systems Concentration
  • Computer Science: Computer Science Concentration
  • Kinesiology – Applied Exercise Science Concentration
  • Kinesiology – Health Science Concentration
  • Kinesiology – Physical Education Concentration
  • Kinesiology – Pre-Physical Therapy Concentration
  • Kinesiology - Pre-Kinesiology
  • Undeclared

Degree Planner vs. Academic Requirements Report (ARR)

Degree Planner should not be viewed as a replacement for the Academic Requirements Report (ARR). Some degree requirements cannot be built into a sequence, such as GPA and Residency requirements. Students should continue to view their ARR for a more comprehensive view of their progress at Cal State San Marcos. For convenience, the Degree Planner contains a link to the ARR with planned courses which are represented with a blue star to help students determine if they are planning appropriately for those requirements that cannot be placed into a Degree Planner sequence.