Frequently Asked Questions



1. What is GPS (Graduation Planning System)?
2. Why is UAB implementing a degree mapping system?
3. Which programs will be available in the degree mapping system?
4. Which software did we purchase?
5. Will there be training for users of the degree mapping system?
6. How will the degree mapping system be updated each year?
7. The Graduation Planning System (GPS) will allow us to eliminate paper checksheets, but how safe is the data? Do we need to print a keep copies of the degree audits?
8. Which web browsers should I use to access GPS?

1. What is GPS (Graduation Planning System)?
GPS is the Graduation Planning System, a web-based tool to help students and advisors monitor progress toward degree completion and plan for future coursework. GPS compares the degree requirements of the UAB Undergraduate Catalog and the coursework completed on the student’s record to produce an easy-to-read audit.

2. Why is UAB implementing a degree mapping system?
UAB students have requested an easily accessible online system to show them their remaining degree requirements, as well as a planner for completing those requirements. Students have indicated that they want to be able to access this information from the web at any time. Retention and graduation literature also shows that degree mapping systems lead to higher graduation rates.

3. Which programs will be available in the degree mapping system?
All undergraduate programs will be in the system by September 1, 2012. Currently GPS is available for undergraduate students in the School of Engineering and the School of Health Professions.

4. Which software did we purchase?
The degree mapping software is DegreeWorks. It is produced by Ellucian, the same company that produces Banner, our student information system that most people access through BlazerNET. Because both products are from the same company, they integrate well.

5. Will there be training for users of the degree mapping system?
Yes, we will provide training for students, faculty, and staff. More details will be posted when specific dates are confirmed, and some training resources will be available online.

6. How will the degree mapping system be updated each year?
When schools or departments make curricular changes and submit them in the catalog update cycle each spring, the degree audit administrators will receive a copy of the changes and incorporate them into the degree audits for students who begin in that new catalog year.

7. The Graduation Planning System (GPS) will allow us to eliminate paper checksheets, but how safe is the data? Do we need to print a keep copies of the degree audits?
Various elements of the GPS will be backed up very frequently to ensure that the data are secure in case of a system problem or failure. Some of these backups occur every two hours, and others occur nightly and weekly. In general, we will retain the backups from the past 6 months on tapes that are secured in an off-campus vault.

8. Which web browsers should I use to access GPS?
Users should access GPS through Internet Explorer or Firefox.