The number of students per catalog year has varied during past catalog years. The calculation for 2012 is for the total to the current date. JAILYNN ZENGER | Scroll Illustration

The new catalog for Fall Semester 2012 will have a flexible degrees. It is not the catalog itself that creates flexibility, but the degree structure within. “There’s a new degree structure called the standard degree,” said Sean Tippetts, manager at the Academic Discovery Center (ADC).

Tippetts said the standard degree will require students to take foundations courses and major requirement courses. The rest of the 120 credits required for graduation can be filled using elective credits. This new degree structure allows students to graduate without necessarily completing a minor or clusters. However, all majors do not offer the standard degree.

Tippets recommends students talk to their ADC to see if the standard degree is being offered for their major. Students who have a specific pathway in mind can tailor their classes toward what is needed for a particular career. Inefficient uses of elective credits are possible, but not recommended.

“Students are unwise if they use electives simply to fill 120 credits,” Tippets said. “Rather students should use elective credits to better prepare for their future after graduation.”

Not only will the ADC let students know if a standard degree is possible, but they can also discuss what electives will best serve students for their future plans. The standard degree structure can also benefit transfer students.

In the past, classes taken at other universities haven’t always corresponded with the requirements of minors or clusters fully. Transfer credits no longer have to be applied in this way, but can be counted as electives within the standard degree, allowing students to graduate more easily. When a student is thinking about switching to a different catalog, they must keep many factors in mind.

“As you are considering this as a possibility, your academic discovery center can help tremendously, so you can see if it makes sense for you and if it’s a wise decision,” Tippets said. It’s important for students to check with the ADC to see if a different catalog year is possible or wise.