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Academic Requirements & Course History Reference Guide - for Advisors & Staff

Introduction

Learn to work with the interactive Academic Requirements Report, the Academic Requirements & Course History PDF, and the Course History page.

For details of how to navigate to the Academic Requirements Report, the Academic Requirements & Course History PDF, and the Course History page, please see Staff, Navigate to the Student Services Center Page (for SPIRE A users) or Advisors, Navigate to Your Advisee's Student Center (for SPIRE users with the Advisor role).

For further assistance:

  • For technical help with the new Academic Requirements Report or Course History page, contact: SPIRE User Support at spire-support@oit.umass.edu.  
  • For help with the content of the new Academic Advisement Report or Course History:

Academic Requirements

View the Academic Requirements Report

This section explains how to use the interactive Academic Requirements Report for undergraduate students.  (See also the Academic Requirements Terminology section, below.)  For details about the content of the Academic Requirements Report that are beyond the scope of this document, please contact the appropriate Registrar’s Office (Undergrad Registrar or CPE Registrar).

See the Introduction, above, for links to find how to navigate to the Academic Requirements Report.  When the Academic Requirements Report opens for the selected student, the student’s name displays at the top of the page, along with the institution and career information and the date and time that the report was last generated. 

Note:  The Registrar’s Office generates the first Academic Requirements Report for each student.  The SPIRE system then generates an updated report only when something changes in a student’s record.  The date on the interactive report reflects the most recent change.  The date on the PDF report shows when the report was first generated.

Below the date on the Academic Requirements Report, there are display options to collapse all or expand all.

To display both met and unmet requirements, click expand all.

IMPORTANT:  You must click expand all to be sure that requirements are met.  Classes that are In Progress (In Progress) or in the student’s Shopping Cart (Planned) will show up as completing requirements in the Academic Requirements Report.  Be sure to read the Shopping Cart Warning and the notes about repeating a course near the top of the Academic Requirements Report.  Encourage students to clear out their Shopping Carts as soon as they have finished registration for the term.

To collapse all sections so that only section headings and requirement group headings show, select collapse all.

To return to the initial display setting, use the browser back button.  Alternatively, click Cancel at the bottom of the page to return to the Student Services Center page.

You can expand or collapse individual sections of the Academic Requirements Report by clicking the green arrows to the left of the section (requirement group) or subsection (line) headings.  A right-facing arrow (Expand section) indicates that a section is collapsed and may be expanded.  A down-facing arrow (Collapse section) indicates that a section is expanded and may be collapsed.

Requirements are labeled as Satisfied or Not Satisfied

Course Tables

Courses that can satisfy requirements appear in tables in the Academic Requirements Report, with table headings Course, Description, Units, When (Term), Grade, Notes (if there is an exception), and Status.  If there are many courses in a given table, only 10 display to start.  At the bottom of the table, there are links to View All, proceed to the next set of courses, or go to the Last courses in the table, as illustratted below:
View All; First; 1 - 10 of 27; Last

Once you proceed past the first 10 courses, you may click First to go back to the first 10.

Icons indicate courses that were Taken (Taken), are In Progress (In Progress), or are Planned (Planned, in the student’s shopping cart).  Refer to Course History or the Academic Requirements Report & Course History PDF to find out about any credits obtained through testing or transfers.  Enrolled courses for the current or next semester appear in the Academic Requirements Report as In Progress (In Progress).

Click on any course title to view its Course Details (Career, Units, Grading Basis, and Course Components), Enrollment Information (e.g., prerequisites), and Description (including General Education designations).  You may view these details for any courses in the table, whether they are already taken, are in progress, or may be used to satisfy a requirement.

If you see a link to View Course List instead of a list of courses that could fulfill a requirement, click View Course List to bring up a table of courses that meet the requirement.

Any exception to the usual requirements for a particular student display as a hyperlinked note number in the Notes column of the course table.  Click a note number to see a table of note numbers with the associated descriptions of the exceptions.  An example of an exception description is Accepted as a required course, plus the Advisement Override (AO) number, e.g., AO12345.  The person who entered the exception may also include other information, e.g., the date of the exception, the name of the person who approved it.  For older exceptions, the description may just consist of the AO number.  If you have questions about an exception, please contact the appropriate Registrar’s Office and tell them the AO number.

View Academic Requirements Report & Course History PDF

In addition to the interactive Academic Requirements Report, staff can access a PDF file that combines a student’s academic requirements information with his/her course history as a single printable file. (See the Course History Page section below for further information about the Course History page.)

The main differences between the PDF file and the Academic Requirements Report are that the PDF:

  • is static, with no expandable or collapsible parts and no clickable links.
  • displays the date the Academic Requirements Report was first generated for the student.
  • has heading information at the top that does not include the 8-digit SPIRE ID but does include program, plan, and subplan information.
  • has different heading formats.  Section, or requirement group, headings are bold and underlined, as in
    PUBH: Social Sciences Subplan;
    subsection, or requirement headings, are underlined without bold, as in
    PUBH: Social Sci Math/Stat;
    and numbered line headings within requirements are smaller, indented, and underlined, as in
    2. Take one statistics course.
  • indicates units taken as used, instead of actual.
  • course table labels are Courses Used or Courses Available, instead of The following courses were used to satisfy this requirement or The following courses may be used to satisfy this requirement.
  • course table column headings are Term, Subject, Catalog Nbr, Course Title, Grade, Units, and Type, instead of Course, Description, Units, When, Grade, and Status
  • course tables are sorted by Term, Subject, and Catalog Nbr, instead of by Course (subject and catalog number).
  • has more detailed codes for Type, instead of icons for Status.  See the Type Codes table below for further details.
  • shows long lists of courses that may be used to satisfy a requirement in their entirety.  Courses are identified only by subject and catalog number in the PDF and are not clickable. 
  • exceptions display as, e.g., ENVIRSCI 101 has been directed to this line. / Authorized as a required departmental course. AO12345 / Entered by: ASBARRON, instead of with a hyperlinked number as in the Academic Requirements Report.
  • includes course history at the end, sorted by Term, Subject, and Catalog Nbr.

The main differences between the PDF file and the Course History page are that the PDF

  • is static, sorted by Term, Subject, and Catalog Nbr.
  • has codes for Type, instead of icons for Status.  See the Type Codes table, below, for details.

At the top of the first page of the PDF you see University of Massachusetts Amherst and Page 1 of X.  Further down is the report title, Academic Requirements Report, and then For [student’s name] prepared on, followed by the date that a report was first generated for the student.

Below the student’s name and the report generation date are columns for Program and Requirement Status.  The student’s Career, Program, Plan(s), and Subplan(s) appear under the Program heading.  Satisfied or Not Satisfied appears under the Requirement Status heading, depending on whether the requirements for the corresponding Career, Program, Plan, or Subplan are satisfied or not.

As in the interactive Academic Requirements Report, requirements are labeled as Satisfied or Not Satisfied.

In the Academic Requirements Report & Course History PDF, codes (not icons) are used in to indicate course status, called Type, as shown in the following table:

Type Codes in the Academic Requirements Report & Course History PDF Compared to Status Icons in the Academic Requirements Report and on the Course History page

Academic Requirements Report & Course History PDF

Interactive Academic Requirements Report

Interactive Course History

EN, for Enrolled:
indicates a course taken at UMass Amherst

Taken, for Taken:
indicates a course taken (includes test, transfer, and other credits)

Taken, for Taken:
same as EN in the PDF

IP, for In Progress:
indicates a course that the student is enrolled in for the current or next term

In Progress, for In Progress:
same as IP in the PDF

In Progress, for In Progress:
same as IP in the PDF

OT, for Other Credit:
indicates on-campus test credits (rarely used)

Taken, for Taken:
same as above

Other Credit, for Other Credit:
same as OT in the PDF

SC, for Shopping Cart:
Indicates a course is in the student’s Shopping Cart

Planned, for Planned
(in Shopping Cart)

Planned, for In Cart
(in Shopping Cart)

TE, for Test Credit:
indicates a requirement was filled by test credits

Taken, for Taken:     
same as above

Test, for Test Credit:
same as TE in the PDF

TR, for Transfer Credit:
indicates a course was completed by transferring credits from another program or institution

Taken, for Taken:
Same as above

Transferred, for Transferred:
same as TR in the PDF

Academic Requirements Terminology

This section includes some frequently used Academic Requirements Report and Course History terms and definitions.

Academic Requirements Report
The interactive Academic Requirements Report is new in SPIRE as of Fall 2009. It replaces the static Degree Progress Report (a.k.a. Degree Audit) in previous versions. It details what academic requirements are met and remaining for a given undergraduate student to complete his or her program. The new interactive format allows students and advisors to quickly navigate to information about classes that satisfy any unmet requirements.
 
Academic Requirements Report & Course History PDF
A PDF (Portable Document Format) file that contains the information from the Academic Requirements Report and Course History in a static format intended primarily for print.  View and print PDF files using Adobe Reader software. See also the definitions for Academic Requirements Report and Course History.
 
Course Component
Each course consists of at least one component (e.g., lecture, lab, seminar, practicum, etc.). Some courses have multiple components, such as a lecture and a discussion or a lecture and a lab.
 
Course History
A new interactive page added in the 2009 SPIRE upgrade that shows the courses a student has completed or for which he or she is currently enrolled and allows sorting by course (subject code and number), description, grade, status, term, or number of units. The Academic Requirements Report & Course History PDF contains a static version of a student’s course history sorted by term and course.

Enrolled (EN)
The abbreviation EN is used only in the Academic Requirements Report & Course History PDF to indicate that a class was taken at UMass Amherst.

Exception
An exception to the usual requirements approved for an individual student.  Exceptions in the Academic Requirements Report appear as a hyperlinked note number in the Notes column of the table that lists courses that may be used to satisfy a requirement.  Click the note number to see a table of all of the exceptions for that student, each with its description, such as Accepted as a required course.  Every description includes its Advisement Override number.

Generate
Produce, run, or create a new Academic Requirements Report.  Most SPIRE users will view Academic Requirements Reports that were generated previously.  The Registrar’s Office generates the first Academic Requirements Report for each student.  The SPIRE system then generates an updated report for a student only when something changes in the student’s record or related requirements that could affect the report, such as when the Registrar’s Office posts a grade for that student.

Grading Basis
How a class is graded, such as Letter Grading or Pass/Fail.

In Progress (IP)
The abbreviation IP is used only in the Academic Requirements Report & Course History PDF to indicate classes a student is enrolled in for the current or next term.  In the Academic Requirements Report and on the Course History page a yellow diamond icon (In Progress) indicates the classes a student is enrolled in for the current or next term.

Interactive
Responsive to user input.  The new interactive Academic Requirements Report accepts user input to expand and collapse sections and to drill down to more detailed course information.  Also see the definition for Academic Requirements Report, above.

Internal Transfer (IT)
Listed in the Legend of the Academic Requirements Report & Course History PDF as indicating that a class transferred from another program at UMass Amherst, however, IT is not currently used.  All transferred courses are listed as TR for Transfer in the Academic Requirements Report & Course History PDF.

Line Heading
The heading for a specific line of a requirement in the Academic Requirements Report.  Line headings are numbered, e.g., 2. Take one statistics course.

Other Credit (OT)
The abbreviation OT is used only in the Academic Requirements Report & Course History PDF to indicate on-campus test credits. Identified as Other Credit (Other Credit) in Course History.  Rarely used.

Planned
In the Academic Requirements Report and on the Course History page a blue star icon (Planned) indicates the classes that are in the student’s Shopping Cart (or Planned). 

Requirement Group Heading
The heading for a group of requirements in the Academic Requirements Report, e.g., General Education Requirements or PUBH: Social Science Subplan for the Social Science Subplan requirement group for the Public Health Science major.

Requirement Heading
The heading for a specific requirement in the Academic Requirements Report, e.g., PUBH: SocialSci Math/Stat  for the Math and Statistics requirement that is part of the Social Science Subplan requirement group for the Public Health Science major.

Run
See the definition for Generate, above.

Shopping Cart
The abbreviation SC is used only in the Academic Requirements Report & Course History PDF to indicate classes in a student’s Shopping Cart.  In the Academic Requirements Report and on the Course History page a blue star icon (Planned) indicates the classes that are in the student’s Shopping Cart (or Planned).

Static
Does not allow user input.  The Academic Requirements Report & Course History PDF is a static report. Also see the definition for Interactive, above.

Test Credits (TE)
The abbreviation TE is used only in the Academic Requirements Report & Course History PDF to indicate that a requirement was fulfilled by test credits.  In the Academic Requirements Report, test credits are listed simply as Taken (Taken).  In Course History, they are identified as Test (Test).

Transferred, or Transfer Credit (TR)
The abbreviation TR is used only in the Academic Requirements Report & Course History PDF to indicate that a class transferred from another program at UMass Amherst or from an external institution. In the Academic Requirements Report, transfer credits are listed simply as Taken (Taken).  In Course History, they are identified as Transferred (Transferred).

Units
Also known as credits.

View
In the new version of SPIRE, most users will view Academic Requirements Reports that were generated at an earlier time by the Registrar’s Office.  Also see the definition for Generate, above.
 

Course History Page

On the My Course History page, the student’s name and 8-digit SPIRE ID are at the top. Just below the page title on the left side of the page is the Select Display Option box:

Select Display Option box

The default setting is Hide courses from Shopping Cart.  Click the Show courses from Shopping Cart radio button to include courses from the Shopping Cart in the course history table. The Shopping Cart courses are those that the student is considering for enrollment.

Courses are sorted by Course, i.e., subject and course number, by default. You can change the sort order by using the sort box next to the Select Display Option box:

   Sort box

Choose the primary sort from the Sort results by drop-down menu.  The choices appear as an alphabetical listing of the column headings from the Course History table:  Course, Description, Grade, Status, Term, and Units.  You can also choose an optional secondary sort from the Then by drop-down menu, which repeats the same choices.  Click the sort button to update Course History.  The sorts produce the usual alphabetic and numeric ordering, except that the Term sort lists the terms in chronological order, like a transcript.  Note:  The Grade sort is an alphabetic sort, so A comes before B, but B comes before B+, and CR (for transfer credit) comes between C- and D.

Just above the Course History table is a legend that explains the icons in the Status column of the table.  There are Course History status icons for Taken (Taken), Transferred (Transferred), Test (Test), Other Credit (Other Credit), In Progress (In Progress), and, if Show courses from Shopping Cart is selected, In Cart (Planned). 

Click any course title in the Description column of the Course History table to view Course Details (Career, Units, Grading Basis, and Course Components), Enrollment Information (e.g., prerequisites), and Description (including General Education designations).

Click Cancel at the bottom of the Course History page to return to the student center tab of the Student Services Center.

You may use the back button to return to a previous sort.  To return to the initial sort, use the back button or click Cancel at the bottom of the page to go back to the student center tab of the Student Services Center.