Returning BSCS students may have noticed a change to the BSCS curriculum: CISC 360 (“Computer Architecture”) is no longer required, and CISC 372 (“Parallel Computing”, formerly “Parallel Programming”) is required. This change reflects the growing importance of parallelism in the computing world.
However, BSCS students should be aware that they are responsible for meeting the requirements that were in effect when they matriculated (became a student) at UD. If you are a returning student, this change does not affect you. Unless you want it to: you do have the option of changing your degree requirements to a later (more recent) version. If you have not yet taken CISC 360, and are more interested in parallel computing than in architecture, you might consider switching to the 2016-17 BSCS. I asked Dan Reidinger, Assistant Registrar, how it all works.
SS: As degree requirements change, which version is a student responsible for satisfying?
DR: Students are held to the degree requirements in place when they matriculated (the set of requirements in the catalog that corresponds to the term of admission for freshman and transfers, or term of readmission for readmits). However, students are eligible for a more recent set of catalog requirements if the change is to their benefit (i.e. a college/department can’t force a student into a more rigorous curriculum if that change was made after the student’s matriculation). Changing majors or colleges does not “reset” a student’s catalog year – they are still held to the requirements in place when they matriculated, by default.
SS: Great, if the student wants to do it, what is the process?
DR: The Change of Catalog Year form must be submitted by an advisor (anyone with an advising role in UDSIS has access to the form). That form is then approved by the appropriate AA Dean’s office before being reflected on the student’s record. The form can be found on the blanks tab in webforms – there is also a link to it within the forms box in Advisor Center (UDSIS) when viewing a student record. NOTE: if you have the need to make a similar change for a group of students (i.e. all students in a particular major are being moved to a newly approved set of requirements), you can email me directly rather than put individual forms through for each student.
SS: What if you change your mind? Can a student change back?
DR: Students can change back under the following circumstances: they have maintained matriculation since the change and were not discontinued or readmitted, and the major/minor/concentration has not been disestablished through the faculty senate by the time they wish to change back.
SS: What is the right vocabulary to describe these different editions of things?
DR: We have two terms that are used to describe the edition/vintage of a program: Catalog Year and Requirement Term. Requirement term is the specific term that the student matriculated. Catalog Year is the set of Requirement Terms that fall under a particular Academic Catalog (i.e. 2016 Spring requirement term is part of the 2015-2016 Catalog Year; 2016 Fall requirement term is part of the 2016-2017 Catalog Year).
There isn’t a word/term for when a student declares and begins pursuing a particular major/minor that I’m aware of. The policy is more concerned with when the student matriculates. The catalog in place at that time is the “contract” with the student – even if they switch majors after a year or two, they are still eligible for the requirements of the newly declared major that were in place when they entered the University.
SS: Is this stuff spelled out anywhere?
DR: Within a student’s degree audit, there is a link in the header box at the top for “Requirement (Catalog) Term” that describes the policy: “The requirement terms for career, program (college) and plan (major/minor) are based on the semester that you matriculated at the University. If a plan’s curriculum changes to your benefit, you may be approved for a more recent requirement term. If you feel that any of these terms are incorrect or that you need a change in requirement term for a particular plan, please notify your advisor or Academic Assistant Dean.”
SS: Dan, thanks as always for making the complicated seem so clear.