SIS graduation requirements are “not met” for many seniors

It’s the email every soon-to-be-graduating student hates to see: “IMPORTANT: Spring (May) 2016 Degree Requirements are Not Satisfied.” The email proceeds to inform the many students who receive it that they are missing some element needed for a May graduation according to the Student Information System (SIS).

For some students, ensuring their graduation requirements were satisfied simply meant finally completing their SAGES portfolios. For other students, however, things were a little trickier, as SIS said they needed to take courses which either no longer had the same course number or no longer existed.

According to Nancy DiIulio, the senior associate dean of Undergraduate Studies (UGS), this inconsistency between what courses a student needs to take and what courses are available happens when a department changes their degree program requirements but a student does not update their degree requirement term to match these new requirements.

Occasionally an academic department in the university chooses to update their degree requirements by renumbering courses, removing requirements, switching required and elective classes or changing a variety of other things. When this happens, a student is able to update their degree requirements to the newest degree program offered by the department, or they are able to continue to graduation while sticking with the original graduation requirements they had.

The Political Science department, for example, changed a couple of course numbers in 2013, and seniors now have to seek approval for the previous course numbers. Hayley Rassuchine, a graduating fourth-year student, did not mind having to submit a form for this.

“I think the polisci department did their job,” said Rassuchine. “I think you have to be in charge of your own academics and know what has to be done.”

According to DiIulio, there have been cases where a department updates its degree requirements and every student chooses to continue on an older program for the degree. DiIulio says that updating to the newest set of degree requirements after a department changes their requirement seems to be a more common path for students. Students are not updated to the nearest degree requirement term automatically because they are “expected to adhere to the degree programs present when they matriculated.”

Despite this, students sometimes have no choice but to update their requirement term to the newest one as departments remove or replace courses that were previously required. When this happens, a student can fix their graduation requirements in a couple of ways. They can submit an Advisement Report Correction Form with either an adjusted requirement term or with selected course substitutions, which is available in the UGS office or at the first link on They can also choose their preferred requirement term when filling out the Major Declaration/Change Form, which is available in the UGS office.

Once a student submits one of these completed forms to the UGS office, it is given to the appropriate undergraduate dean’s office, who, after approving it, sends it to the Degree Audit and Information Services Specialist, who manually sets a course exception for each student in SIS. This whole process takes less than a week according to DiIulio.

Justine De Angelis, who graduated last semester, said that it took about a week for her graduation requirements to be adjusted in SIS.

“Undergraduate Studies was pretty helpful and responsive when I emailed them,” said De Angelis. “As long as I graduated, that’s what mattered to me.”

There is one issue with this process that she admits: If a student enrolls in a course and then chooses to use it as a substitute for a different course, the degree requirement for that substituted course will not be shown as satisfied until final grades for the enrolled course have been posted, which is opposed to SIS’s normal practice of showing a degree requirement as satisfied unless a student fails the class. This is an issue on Oracle’s end (the company that handles things like SIS and Human Capital Management for the university), she says, and it’s something that the university has been working with them to fix.