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Degree Planner Frequently Asked Questions

Alerts

I. Degree Planner problem with the GE Area titled "GE ELECT 2nd"

Students following the 2020-2021 Cal Poly Catalog and the 2021-2022 Cal Poly Catalog and adhering to the "Standard GE Template" (as opposed to the "High-Unit GE Template"), please NOTE:

There is a General Education Area requirement titled "GE ELECT" that you will see reflected in your Degree Planner. The GE ELECT area is comprised of two courses: 

  1. GE ELECT 1st (one course from GE Area B, Area C, or Area D)
  2. GE ELECT 2nd (one course from a GE Area not used to fulfill GE ELECT 1st)

Degree Planner is not recognizing the restriction for the second course (GE ELECT 2nd). Degree Planner is often erroneously planning a double-count course for GE ELECT 2nd with a course from the major requirements. The major requirement course CANNOT be used to fulfill GE ELECT 2nd as it is from the same GE Area that was used to fulfill GE ELECT 1st.

Please disregard Degree Planner warnings and/or messaging for the GE ELECT 2nd requirement, and be sure to manually select a course that is NOT from the same GE Area as the course used to fulfill GE ELECT 1st.

You may want to utilize the Class Search tool in PeopleSoft to help find GE Area courses (Area B, Area C, and Area D).


Frequently Asked Questions

*Please note that Degree Planner is a student planning tool and should not be relied upon for graduation purposes. You must check your Degree Progress Report regularly.

 

Most common questions

1. Find Degree Planner

Degree Planner is located in the Student Center. In your My Cal Poly Portal, your Student Center will appear on the left-hand side under your "My Apps":

          Student Center can be found under "My Apps" on the Cal Poly Portal.       

Both Degree Planner and Schedule Builder are located in the Student Center under the "Academics" tab on the left-hand side of the screen:

          Degree Planner can be found under the "Academics" tab in the Student Center.

2. Log into your Degree Planner

Degree Planner is a tool that benefits you. Your accuracy helps you graduate on time as Cal Poly can anticipate your plans and ensure that your academic needs are accommodated.

To ensure that your planned courses are considered in course demand data for the upcoming terms, log in at least once between the end of Add/Drop for the current term and the end of Add/Drop for the next term (excluding summer). The Add/Drop deadline falls on the 8th business day of each term. Check important dates on the Course Demand Login Calendar or the Office of the Registrar's Calendars and Deadlines page.

Degree Planner compliance enforcement has been suspended. Failing to log into Degree Planner during a term login window will NOT result in a delayed registration appointment.

3. Add a course to your plan

Degree Planner imports all course requirements directly from your Degree Progress Report. You should not add a course to your plan using the "Add an elective course" button unless the course is intended as a Free Elective [for possible exceptions, see also "Prepare for an Individualized Change of Major Agreement (ICMA) or undeclared concentration/minor" or "Plan courses for an Individualized Course of Study (ICS)"].

Sometimes you will need to locate a course in your plan in order to move it to a different term. See the next two questions for instructions on finding courses within your plan and for more information about planning Free Electives.

4. Determine where a course is planned/Print Path

Because all courses in your declared program of study are imported into Degree Planner, you may want to find where courses exist in your plan in order to move them to different terms. There are two methods to view all courses within your plan:

  • Method 1 - Expand All:

 Expand All option

  • Method 2 - Print Path: The "Print" Path Action will create a printable version of your plan that also contains other information about your past courses, required General Education courses, unplanned requirements, and requirement options within your major. To view, click the "Path Actions" button in the upper right-hand corner and select "Print":

        Print option in Path Actions

5. Remove a course/requirement

You are able to exclude a course (or requirement) in your plan.*

To prevent a course/requirement from appearing in your plan, follow these steps:

  • Find the course/requirement, click on the three dots, and select "Remove":

          Remove a course option

  • The course/requirement will be moved to "Unplanned Requirements" and automatically locked:

          Course locked in Unplanned Requirements

*NOTE: Removing a course/requirement can result in issues if it is a prerequisite for additional courses/requirements in subsequent terms. Please plan accordingly. It may be preferable to leave a course/requirement in your plan if removing it results in problems.

6. Adjust your Expected Graduation Term

Your Expected Graduation Term is assigned after you reach 72% degree completion (78% for Architecture and Landscape Architecture majors). Your progress is visible to you on the Academic Progress Gauge on PolyProfile. Once your Expected Graduation Term is assigned, it is visible to you in Degree Planner:

          Expected Graduation note

*NOTE: You are unable to add terms past your assigned Expected Graduation Term. To change your Expected Graduation Term, submit either a Notification of Earlier Expected Graduation Term or a Request to Extend Expected Graduation Term.

 

adding and moving courses in your plan

7. Add a Free Elective course

Degree Planner calculates your Free Electives and adds the estimated number of required courses to your plan. The system provides an alert if you will be deficient in total units for graduation:

   Notification of total unit deficiency.

Degree Planner is a student planning tool and should not be relied upon for graduation purposes. Check your Degree Progress Report regularly.

There are two methods for adding Free Electives: 

  • Find a Free Elective in your plan (see previous question for instructions on finding courses). Free Electives are designated with a letter "E" symbol beside them. Move courses to the desired term (see next question) or keep the Free Elective in the existing term. Then click "Select Course":

          Select Course button

  • Add a Free Elective to any term by clicking on "Add an elective course." Free Electives added by you will automatically adjust the number of Free Electives in your plan:

          Add an elective course

*NOTE: Only use the "Add an elective course" button to add a Free Elective [for potential exceptions, see also "Prepare for an Individualized Change of Major Agreement (ICMA) or undeclared concentration/minor" or "Plan courses for an Individualized Course of Study (ICS)"].

8. Move a course/requirement to a different term

Find the course (or requirement) you want to move, click the three dots, and select "Move":

          Move course option

When a course (or requirement) is moved to a new term, it becomes "locked" in that term.

9. Lock/unlock a course/requirement

Once you move a course/requirement to a new term, it is automatically locked by the system:

          Locked course

A lock prevents the system from moving the course/requirement when your plan refreshes (see next question regarding what triggers a path refresh).

To lock or unlock a course/requirement, simply click on the lock icon. 

Tip: When planning an upcoming term, you can lock courses you intend to keep and move unwanted courses out. Locked courses are preserved unless your final registration contradicts your plan and triggers a refresh.

10. Understand what triggers your plan to refresh

The Notifications Center in the upper right-hand corner will alert you about changes to your plan and summarize the changes after your path refreshes:

          Notifications Center

A path refresh can be triggered by universal curriculum/course changes or by your personal academic status. The following is a list of factors that can impact your plan:

  • Universal course change (prerequisites, term typically offered, etc.)
  • Universal curriculum change (requirement update for your catalog and program of study)
  • Personal registration update (if actual enrollment deviates from original plan)
  • Personal transfer work posts to your Degree Progress Report
  • Personal program of study change
  • Personal failed course

When any of the above occurs, Degree Planner will automatically refresh your path the next time you log in. This refresh may shuffle the position of the planned courses in your path and move requirements to an earlier or later term.

See previous question regarding how to prevent the system from moving a course out of a desired term (lock) during a subsequent refresh.

11. Choose/change a course within a requirement option

Some requirements contain options and require IMMEDIATE attention in order to ensure the best user experience.

NOTE: If you delay selecting an option, it can cause significant issues:

  • Courses dependent on Option courses as prerequisites may display in "Unplanned Requirements" (instead of in the terms of your plan) because the Option contains a prerequisite course for subsequent requirements.
  • Courses requiring Option courses as prerequisites may appear out of sequence and before the prerequisites.

If applicable, you will see option choices displayed within an "Option" section on the landing page:

Option in Unplanned

Selecting an option will prompt the system to add the corresponding course choices to terms within your plan (note that you are unable to make course selections here): 

          Select an Option when needed.

To select a course for an option, you must first find your selected option within your path. Remember that the option is placed within a term after you make your option choice (for instructions on finding requirements within your path, see "Determine where course is planned/Print Path"):

Option courses will appear in the given term.          

12. Plan General Education requirements

Degree Planner will customize your GE requirement listings and display the appropriate GE Areas that align with your Cal Poly catalog and your major.

GE Areas that are satisfied by required major/support courses should NOT be planned in Degree Planner. Please verify the required GE Areas for your major by reviewing the GE section listed beneath your major in the Cal Poly Catalog.

Follow these steps to plan a GE requirement:

For a GE Requirement, clicking the "Select Course" button will display courses from GE Areas required for your catalog/major:

          GE Requirement

You are able to sort GE course options by GE Area:

General Education Filter

View course details for a course within your GE list to verify the GE details of that course. You can open a course by clicking on the carrot to the left of the course name:

General Education Description

13. Add courses to a summer term

Summer terms are universally set to contain zero (0) units. Adjust the units above zero to prompt the system to add courses:

          Summer Term units

*NOTE: Once the units are adjusted, Degree Planner will automatically add courses to your summer term.

14. Add required Topics courses

Topics courses appear in your plan. However, you are unable to specify the exact Topics course you intend to take.

*NOTE: Please disregard a warning message after "Verify Path" saying "You chose a course that satisfies one or more requirements, not just the one you were intending to satisfy."

 

adjusting term details

15. Adjust the number of units in a term

Degree Planner is universally programed to load each term with a maximum of 18 units.

To change the number of units:

  • Go to the desired term and click on the green pencil icon in the "Max Units" window:

Adjust the max units

  • Adjust the units to match your desired total.
  • "Save" your new maximum unit total:

       New max unit total

16. Prevent Degree Planner from adding more courses to a term

Degree Planner is universally programed to plan a maximum of 18 units each term. If you have a term planned and do not want Degree Planner to add more courses, you can update the maximum number of units in the term:

  • Go to the desired term and click on the green pencil icon in the "Max Units" window:

Adjust units

  • Adjust the units to match your desired total.
  • "Save" your new maximum unit total:

Save new man unit total

17. Plan a course in a term when the system determines the course is not offered

Departments forecast when courses will be offered. The data is stored in Degree Planner and enforced by the system (Degree Planner will warn you if you are planning a course in a term it is not typically offered).

View course details to check when a course is offered. To find course details:

  1. Click on the "Select Course" option on your landing page, or open the term, and click the "Select a course" option.
  2. Click on the carrot to the left of the course name to open the course details.

The terms typically offered are visible under the "Offered" subheading:

Term typically offered information is listed for each course.

*NOTE: Sometimes departments offer courses during different terms than they intended. If you are certain that a course will be offered in a term that contradicts the offered information, you can move the course to your desired term and lock it (see "Lock/unlock courses"). When you move the course, Degree Planner will still warn you that the course is not typically offered in that term.

18. Designate a different last term in your plan

There are a number of factors that can delay the last term in your plan, including:

  • Too few units/courses planned in previous terms
  • Courses toward the end of your plan are only offered in certain terms
  • Transfer work has not been processed
  • Wrong Expected Graduation Term (see next question)

You may need to check whether the above variables are impacting your plan.

19. Understand how terms are assigned in your plan

Degree Planner automatically displays five years of terms in your plan. This will often result in a plan that extends past your intended graduation term. Please note that courses are typically only planned for the number of terms that coincide with your flowchart, although there are exceptions. Once you are assigned an Expected Graduation Term (EGT), your plan will only extend until your EGT.

 

planning transfer courses, study abroad, and leaves

20. Alert Cal Poly if you will not attend a term

Complete the Cal Poly Undergraduate Informal Time Off form. For questions or support, contact a Retention Specialist at retention@calpoly.edu.

Adjust your term units to zero (0) to signal that you will be away (see next question regarding study abroad/transfer courses).

  • Go to the desired term and click on the green pencil icon in the "Max Units" window:

          Adjust units in a term

  • Set the maximum number of units for the term to zero (0).
  • "Save" your new maximum unit total:

          Zero units

If you intend to be absent for a year, click on the "Mass Edit Max Units" button at the top of your landing page:

          Mass Edit Max Units

Within the Mass Edit Max Units window, select the terms you are going to be absent and set the "Max Units" to zero (0). Click "Update Selected" to change the maximum unit totals for those terms to zero (0):

Mass Edit Max Units window

21. Start planning as an admitted transfer student

Your transfer records will need to be processed before you attend your first term at Cal Poly. Once your transfer transcripts have been thoroughly reviewed, you will receive an email from the Evaluations Unit of the Office of the Registrar (evaluations@calpoly.edu) indicating that your transcript evaluation is complete and your Degree Progress Report (DPR) is ready to be viewed.

Please WAIT until you receive this notification from Evaluations to begin using your Degree Planner. If you view your Degree Planner before your transfer records have been thoroughly evaluated, you may see inaccuracies in your plan.

22. Plan for study abroad or transfer courses

If you anticipate that a requirement will be met by a study abroad course, plan the corresponding Cal Poly course in Degree Planner. Plan the course in the term you will study abroad.

 

planning changes to your degree objective

23. Prepare for an Individualized Change of Major Agreement (ICMA) or undeclared concentration/minor

Only your currently declared program of study (major/concentration/minor) will be visible in your plan (see next question about planning your declared minor).

If your major requires a concentration and you have not yet declared one, you will see a block of Concentration Courses in "Unplanned Requirements." Seeing your Concentration Courses in "Unplanned Requirements" should serve as a reminder that you must declare your concentration.

          Concentration Courses

Do not attempt to move the box into your plan. Instead, follow the instructions listed below.

Choose which action to take before an anticipated program of study change:

  1. Wait for courses in new program of study to appear in your plan. Your plan will automatically refresh to contain new requirements.
  2. Add courses that are not in your plan by using the "Add an elective course" button option until your program of study officially changes and prompts your plan to refresh.*

*NOTE: If you add courses as electives, your plan must be adjusted once your program of study changes. The system will not recognize your electives as required courses. Delete the elective courses once your concentration is officially declared (find where courses reside in your plan by using the "Print Path" option).

24. Plan your declared minor

Only major/concentration requirements are added to terms in your Degree Planner. Minor course requirements will appear in "Unplanned Requirements":

Minor requirements

Once your minor is declared, move all minor courses/requirements out of "Unplanned Requirements" and place them in your desired terms (see "Move a course/requirement to a different term").

25. Plan your double major

Both of your majors will display in your plan title. However, only the primary major path courses/requirements will be automatically generated in your plan. Use the "Add an elective course" option within terms to add courses for your non-primary major.

26. Prepare for your switch to a Blended degree program

Blended students are not currently provided access to Degree Planner. In order to preserve your plan before you are locked out (when you transition to graduate student standing), you may want to print a copy of your plan (see "Determine where a course is planned/Print Path").

27. Plan courses for an Individualized Course of Study (ICS)

Nonspecific ICS course requirements appear within terms in your plan.

You will see a "Select Course" button beside each requirement:

          Individualized Course of Study

However, you are unable to plan courses for your ICS and will see this message after choosing "Select Course":

ICS course warnThe ICS requirement will be cleared once the approved course is processed in the DPR.

There is also a note explaining each ICS requirement: 

ICS Notes       

Selecting "Notes" will open this message:

 This requirement will be met once approved course is added in the DPR.

Conclusion: You do not need to plan ICS courses. As your ICS courses are processed and display in the ICS section of your Degree Progress Report, those corresponding placeholder requirements will vanish from your plan.

 

planning specialized courses

28. Plan a course if a prerequisite is not met

Degree Planner enforces prerequisites based on requirement lines in the Degree Progress Report (DPR). You can progress to a subsequent requirement (versus course) once it is met. Therefore, once a substitution is fully processed and the requirement is met, Degree Planner will plan subsequent requirements that are dependent on that requirement prerequisite.

You will need to obtain a permission number when you register for a course without completing the prerequisite course.

It is possible to remove a required prerequisite course from your plan if you know it will be substituted (see "Remove Course"). However, removing a course can result in problems with planning subsequent courses, so it may not be the most favorable option.

29. Plan a course that satisfies multiple requirements

Sometimes you will want to plan a course to satisfy multiple requirements for graduation (GE/Major/Minor). GE courses that are officially required within your major will be anticipated by Degree Planner and handled appropriately (duplicate requirements will be removed from your plan). However, you will need to anticipate unofficial situations where a course may meet multiple requirements and, therefore, appear as a duplicate in your plan.

In the event that you will use a course for multiple requirements, you should plan the course once. If the course is needed as a prerequisite for your major, you should choose to plan the major course. The other duplicate requirements that contain that course should be moved to "Unplanned Requirements."

To move a requirement to "Unplanned Requirements," find the requirement you wish to remove, select the three dots, and choose "Remove":

          Remove duplicate course

The system will caution you that there could be unintended consequences. For instance, if the removed course is a prerequisite for subsequent courses, multiple planned courses may move. This is the warning:

Remove Requirement warning message

The duplicate requirement will then be locked in "Unplanned Requirements":

          Duplicate course in Unplanned

30. Plan a repeat course

If you previously failed or withdrew from a course, find the course/requirement within your plan (see "Determine where a course is planned/Print Path") and select the exact course you took previously for the same requirement.

If you passed a course but wish to retake it for a better grade, add the course as a Free Elective in Degree Planner (see "Add a Free Elective course"). Please speak with your advisor to learn more about Cal Poly's Grade Forgiveness Policy before retaking a course.

If you may not pass a current course and want to plan it in a future term, add the future course as a Free Elective during the interim before grades post. If you do not pass, you must then add the course under the proper requirement and delete the course you previously added as a Free Elective. If you pass, delete the Free Elective course you added.

31. Plan an HNRS (honors) course to satisfy a degree requirement

Degree Planner defaults to add non-honors courses to your plan. If you intend to take the corresponding HNRS course to satisfy a requirement, leave the regular course in Degree Planner to prevent issues. Once you prepare to enroll using Schedule Builder, you can delete the regular course and manually add the corresponding HNRS course to your schedule for that term. First-year students are registered into HNRS 161 and HNRS 162 during block enrollment and can disregard planning for both courses.

 

additional degree planner functions

32. Reset path

The "Reset" Path Action clears all previous planning activity.

To reset your path, click on "Path Actions" in the upper right-hand corner of your landing page and select "Reset":

          Reset path option

*NOTE: Any previously selected courses will be lost and will require your attention.

33. View course details

Check the prerequisites, term typically offered, and general description of a course by reviewing the course details:

  1. Click on the "Select Course" option on your landing page, or open the term, and click the "Select a course" option.
  2. Click on the carrot to the left of the course name to open the course details:

Course details open

*NOTE: For issues regarding term typically offered, see also "Plan a course in a term when the system determines the course is not offered."

34. Verify path

Use the "Verify" Path Action to check your path at the end of your planning session. This process runs your planned courses against your Degree Progress Report (DPR) to determine where courses align with requirements while verifying that nothing has been duplicated:

          Verify Path Action

*NOTE: "Verify Path" does not run your planned courses against all degree requirements (GWR, USCP, residency requirements, etc.). You must review your Degree Progress Report regularly.

 

troubleshooting

35. Use a supported browser

Please use Chrome or Mozilla Firefox to access Degree Planner. Using supported browsers will prevent potential performance issues.

36. Remove excess courses from the current term during the enrollment window

After enrollment, your enrolled courses will display with a green symbol to the right of the course name:

          A green symbol indicates that you have enrolled in the course.

If you are content with your schedule and want to eliminate extra non-enrolled courses that appear in your plan, you can reduce the "max units for the term" to push extra courses to a subsequent term.

37. Determine why multiple major requirements are appearing in the "Unplanned Requirements" column

Some requirements in your plan may contain options and require IMMEDIATE attention in order to ensure the best user experience:

Option in Unplanned

If you delay selecting an option, requirements may display in the "Unplanned Requirements" section because an option contains a prerequisite course which is required for subsequent requirements. For more information about selecting options, see "Choose/change a course within a requirement option."

Courses may also move to Unplanned if you remove a prerequisite course from your plan using the "Remove Course" button. For more information about removing a course, see "Remove a course/requirement."


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