Seniors: DegreeWorks Will Determine Your Future

When It Comes to Graduation, DegreeWorks is More Than Just an Icon Floating Around On Banner


Published February 18, 2010

With the spring semester underway, hundreds of seniors are anxiously awaiting graduation. Some are headed for the real world in search of a job that actually pays the bills, while others are prolonging the college experience by heading to graduate school.

aying attention to Degreeworks now will save seniors stress come graduation. (Courtesy of

But no matter what the future holds, most seniors are already visualizing themselves dressed in caps and gowns, ready to get the paper proof of their four years of blood, sweat and tears. But there might be a bump in the road that many seniors didn’t envision, and that bump is DegreeWorks.

DegreeWorks, part of the Banner system, is a comprehensive audit of all the courses and credits a student has taken at Fordham, including transfer, study abroad and AP credits. The audit lists courses by sections needed to fulfill a student’s core curriculum,  major curriculum and minor curriculum. The system is pretty self explanatory: a green box means successfully completed, the blue squiggly line means in progress, and the dreaded empty, red box stands for a big, fat “Not Complete.” The audit also states a student’s GPA, class and credit count.

It may seem helpful, which it definitely is. But it also may strike students as unimportant if some information is incorrect, and this is where things get sticky.

“DegreeWorks is new; [the class of 2010] is the first class that is being cleared using DegreeWorks [for graduation],” explained Cecilia Petit-Hall, assistant dean for seniors at Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC).

The fact that it’s new means many students don’t take advantage of or even know how to use the DegreeWorks system.

“I imagine this first year, like anything that’s new, will be a little more painful than it needs to be,” said Petit-Hall. “[But] it’s like anything new: for the first group that goes through it, it’s a little bumpy, but eventually it becomes the old hat and we all know how to work it.”

While it may be new, DegreeWorks is unbelievably important, as it will be the audit used by the deans in determining the graduation status of seniors.

“I haven’t really used [DegreeWorks], but I’m obviously concerned now,” said Patrick Shae, FCLC ’10, after learning about the importance of the program.

“I was not aware, but that’s a little frightening,” said Laura Benigno, FCLC ’10.

Knowing that the program will be used as the checklist of completed requirements  for graduation, many FCLC seniors have concerns regarding the status of their DegreeWorks audit.

“There are a lot of errors in [my] DegreeWorks,” said Hannah Lee, FCLC ’10. “I’m a psych major but my 3000-level courses were listed as elective courses.”

“I’m in the Honors Program but [DegreeWorks] told me I’m not,” said Yelena Ambartsumian, FCLC ’10. “It also said I had to take all the core classes, which wasn’t right either.”

Yet students who recognize discrepancies in their DegreeWorks shouldn’t panic.

Petit-Hall explains the solution: “Under elective credits are courses [students] have taken that the system is reading as electives. [These courses] haven’t been automatically assigned under the major, minor or the core, but that adjustment has to be made manually with a substitution waiver form that needs to be signed by the departmental associate chairs.”

And that is exactly what Petit-Hall is willing and ready to do, which is why she encourages seniors to make an appointment in room 804 and fix the problems now instead of letting them cause chaos come May.

“My calendar fills up but I always see students as walk-ins,” said Petit-Hall. “During that meeting I’ll pull up exactly the screen that the students saw, the screen that made them nervous, and I’ll look to see what [the problem] is.”

Students in certain programs may be particularly susceptible to mistakes in the DegreeWorks program, but the program will increase its accuracy in categorizing courses as more students make appointments to fix incorrect information.

“Departments like the Honors Program or small program[s] which [are] interdisciplinary are very specific; [they] have more specific requirements or more lenient requirements,” said Petit-Hall. “So one person [from these programs] may be the first to report [their] DegreeWorks core is all wrong, but when the adjustment is made it’s made across the entire population.”

DegreeWorks isn’t all problems, with many students finding the audit easy to use and accurate.

“It works very well, much more accurately than the OASIS degree audit,” said Mohammad Usmani, FCLC ’11.

“[I’ve had] no problems yet; the interface is pretty straight-forward,” said Michael Bonfiglio, FCLC ’10.

“I like Degreeworks. I understand problems are bound to come up with a new program,” said Maya Saoud, FCLC ’10. “ I think the features are much more helpful than OASIS and better lay out  what someone needs to complete before graduating.”

“I had taken two communication courses through Syracuse abroad that should have transferred as two electives towards my communications major but instead they showed up under general electives,” Benigno said. “[DegreeWorks] helped me actually [because] without it I probably wouldn’t have known that my credits didn’t transfer towards my major, stalling my major fulfillment process.”

A requirement for all graduating students that often gets overlooked is the fact that they not only need 124 credits to graduate,  but they also must have 36 three- or four-credit classes.

“I think one of the significant benefits [of DegreeWorks], from my perspective, is that students will start thinking about the 36 three- or four-credit class [requirement] in the same way they think about the 124-credit [requirement],” said Petit-Hall.

At the end of the day, seniors need to take advantage of DegreeWorks so come May, everyone’s graduation process is hassle-free.

“The next few months are going to be really busy for everyone and so [if] students take a proactive stance and say, ‘Let me look at my [audit] and see what it looks like,’ it’ll be a much smoother run,” said Petit-Hall.