Understanding the Degree Evaluation

Before you begin the degree evaluation tutorial, be sure to have a copy of yours printed and ready.

An important resource at SDSU is the degree evaluation, also known as the degree audit. Your degree evaluation will become your second most valuable resource after the General Catalog because the degree evaluation outlines everything you are required to complete in order to graduate from SDSU and is personalized specifically to you. You can view your degree evaluation online through the SDSU WebPortal.

The degree evaluation that you view through your WebPortal contains the same information as the degree evaluation that you received at New Student Orientation or in the Academic Advising Center and is updated as you complete classes. Since it updates regularly as you satisfy your degree requirements, it is referred to as a "living document." It is a great resource to help you track your progress toward degree completion!

At this time, you need to have your degree evaluation that you printed earlier. Throughout the lesson, you may want to underline and circle important statements and policies. After you generate your degree evaluation through WebPortal, you will see the following information at the top of the first page: your name, RedID, major, and degree as seen in the example below:

Degree Audit Report

Make sure that this information is correct each time you view your degree evaluation. Listed underneath that is information about the degree evaluation. Please underline "The Office of Advising and Evaluations" at the bottom of this paragraph, and circle the office location, drop-in advising hours, telephone number, and website. Information on academic advising will be included at the end of this tutorial.

The Summary of Results section only appears in the WebPortal version of the degree evaluation. This section lists all of your graduation requirements and is a quick way to see what requirements you have and have not completed. If a requirement is red and says "NO", you must complete this requirement. As you complete a requirement, the title will become green and will say "OK". It is your goal to have all of your requirements turn green.

Summary of Results

See the example below of how your degree evaluation should look going from missing a requirement in a certain section to having completed all requirements in a certain section.

From missing requirement to completed requirement.

The Legend section provides a directory of all of the symbols used in the degree evaluation.

Code legend

The degree evaluation contains information on all of your graduation requirements. Graduation requirements are separated into sections. The top left hand corner identifies if you have completed the requirement or not. Furthermore, the beginning of each section gives information on how to complete that particular graduation requirement.

  • Competancy Requirements and Graduation Writing Assessment RequirementThe first requirement is Freshmen Competency in mathematics and writing. All students are required to demonstrate basic competency in mathematics and written English which are determined by multiple measures of academic proficiency at time of admission.
  • The second graduation requirement is the Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement or the GWAR. To complete this requirement, you must demonstrate your competency in writing skills at the upper division level. To determine how you will complete this requirement, you must first take an examination called the Writing Proficiency Assessment or the WPA. All students must take the Writing Proficiency Assessment (WPA) during the semester in which they achieve 60 units or in the semester immediately following. New transfer students must take the WPA before or during their first semester at SDSU. For more information on the GWAR graduation requirement, consult the General Catalog and the SDSU Test Office at www.sdsu.edu/testoffice.
  • American Institutions RequirementThe American Institutions Requirement is the next graduation requirement listed on your degree evaluation. All students must complete courses that cover American History, United States Constitution, and California State and Local government. The most common way to complete these courses is to complete a pair of courses listed in the General Catalog under graduation requirement IV.

    This student below in this example has successfully completed American History and United States Constitution by passing the United States History AP exam with an appropriate score to receive credit for HIST 109 and HIST 110 at SDSU, so 2 + signs appear. As indicated by the "-" sign, they still need to take a course to fulfill the California State and Local Government portion of this requirement as AP credit does not satisfy this area.
  • Language RequirementThe next graduation requirement listed is the Language Requirement. When we say language, we mean a language other than English. Only students pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Bachelor of Music, or the Bachelor of Fine Arts must complete this requirement. So, if the language requirement box appears on your degree evaluation, you must complete this language requirement. If you do not have a language requirement box listed on your degree evaluation, you do not have to complete a competency in a language other than English. Please read the General Catalog and your degree evaluation for more information on how to fulfill this requirement.
  • Unit, Residence and GPA RequirementsIn the next area of your degree evaluation, you will find three graduation requirements listed together: Unit, Residence, and GPA Requirements.
    • Please underline the following sentence: "Minimum units required for the Bachelor's degree" and the number that follows. The minimum units required for a bachelor degree is 120, but some degrees at SDSU require a higher minimum number. It is important that you know the minimum number of units required for your degree. There are many other unit requirements at SDSU that you see listed here such as minimum upper division units and maximum transferable units. As you reach your junior and senior years, you need to keep a close watch on these requirements.
    • Listed halfway down this section are two of the Residence Requirements. Residence does not mean you are a resident of the United States, California, or even San Diego. The Residence Requirements refer to the minimum number of units you need to complete at SDSU and upper division units at SDSU to qualify for a bachelor's degree.
    • At the bottom of this section, you will see Grade Point Average Requirements. There are four important GPAs and two of those are listed in this section of your degree evaluation.
      A. SDSU GPA - an average based on all courses attempted at SDSU.
      B. Cumulative GPA - an average based on all courses attempted at SDSU and transferable courses at other universities, liberal arts colleges, and community colleges.
    • The other two important GPAs are your Major GPA, which is an average based on all upper division courses attempted in your major department and any other upper division courses required for your major and your Minor GPA, which is an average based on all units applicable to your minor if you are completing a minor for your degree. The SDSU and Cumulative GPAs must always be at least a 2.0 to stay in good academic standing. All four GPAs must be at least a 2.0 to graduate.

Here you will see a section for General Education requirements. What is General Education? At SDSU, we believe well-rounded students should take a variety of courses from different disciplines for a breadth of knowledge. Most students will follow the General Education (or GE) Path outlined in this degree evaluation.

  • GE path outlineSection I is titled Communication and Critical Thinking. Please underline the following: "Complete a total of nine units." You must take a 3-unit class from each of the following three areas:
    • 1 - Oral Communication
    • 2 - Composition
    • 3 - Intermediate Composition and Critical Thinking
    • You will see a list of classes from each area; you need to take one class from each. To determine which class you would like to take, read the course descriptions found in the General Catalog to find out what the class is about and to make sure you have completed any necessary prerequisites.
  • Section II is titled Foundations. It is comprised of 31 units divided amongst the following areas:
  • GE ExplorationsThe next section of GE is Explorations, which is commonly referred to as upper division GE. Courses in this area must not be taken sooner than the semester in which you achieve upper division standing (60 units passed). Courses in this area must be completed at a California State University. At least one course you take for Explorations must satisfy Cultural Diversity which is a course designated with a "+" sign on your degree evaluation. The three parts of Explorations are divided between three subsections, letters A through C. You must take a 3 unit class from each of the following areas:

These sections make up the GE pattern at SDSU.

Following the GE Explorations requirements you will see a breakdown of your major. This section, just like the GE section, is split into two: Major Preparation courses and Upper Division Major courses. In order to move from "pre-major" to "major" status, you must complete your Preparation for Major courses as well as meet a minimum GPA. Each major has different requirements, so meet with your major adviser in your department if you have any questions related to this section or if you need help picking classes. Here is an example:

Impacted Program Premajor

The last page of the degree evaluation provides a running list of all academic course work on your record.

You will also see Advanced Placement credit, International Baccalaureate Credit, and College Level Examination credit results in addition to courses transferred from other institutions along with the SDSU course equivalent. The example below illustrates a student with Advanced Placement credit, SDSU credit, and transfer credit from another institution.

Course summary

If you have transferred in coursework, the following note may appear: "The following transfer courses have not been reviewed. Courses may be applied to meet degree requirements once the review is complete." These courses may show up as "Unknown" as seen in the example below.

transfered coursework

This means that this course is not included in SDSU’s large database of articulated courses that is used to generate the degree evaluation. An adviser in the Academic Advising Center needs to identify the course for it to be entered into the degree evaluation database. If you see this listed on your degree evaluation, please see an adviser in the Academic Advising Center for advice on those courses.

At the end of the Academic Coursework section is a list of courses that you are currently enrolled in. You may see coursework that says "IP" which means "In Progress" or "FP" which means "Future Progress." These are courses you are currently enrolled in either at SDSU or another institution.

While it is important to read and understand your degree evaluation, it is just as important to see an academic adviser regularly, especially if you have any questions about your degree evaluation.

Distinguish between the types of academic advising available on campus and know where to go when you have questions

How Academic Advisers Help: Any time you have a question, you should meet with an academic adviser. Advisers are available to make sure you are on track and making progress towards graduation. Since SDSU has a dual model for academic advising, you need to know which type of adviser you need to speak with based upon your question:

  • Academic Advising Center Advisers: Advisers in the Academic Advising Center are available to help you understand SDSU graduation requirements, including General Education requirements and institutional policies and procedures.
  • Major Advisers: Major department advisers assist with impaction and major requirements. They are available to help you plan your major courses and provide you with advice about career options and graduate school. A directory of major advisers is available at www.sdsu.edu/majoradvisers.

Remember to see academic advisers on a regular basis. Don’t wait until it’s too late!