2022-2024 Undergraduate Program and Course Catalog

University of Minnesota Twin Cities

Every two years all undergraduate programs must submit an updated program proposal in PCAS. This process ensures every program gets updated and provides current information about the curriculum to students.

Prior to launching the Catalog Project, the Office of Undergraduate Education works with each college to ensure ECAS data is accurate through the “ECAS Data Clean-up Project.” This project ensures that course data, which PCAS pulls from ECAS, is reviewed prior to program review.

    The deadline to confirm or update all requirements in PCAS for review by the Office of the Provost is February 18. By this date, all PCAS proposals should be at the Provost’s queue. The proposals will then go through Provost level review, as well as the usual catalog editor review.

    Catalog Updates in PCAS


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    Ensure all requirements are up to date for fall 2022 and aligned with the catalog goals.

    Goals for the catalog, as fed by PCAS, are to:

    • accurately record all requirements for all majors, minors, and certificates; including requirements at all levels (program, college, campus, university);
    • describe requirements fully and clearly so they can be understood by students, advisors, prospective students, transfer students, parents; and will be clear in the future as well when students return; and
    • document requirements in a manner that works in APAS to document a student’s progress toward and ultimate completion of requirements.
    • requirements align with University policy (e.g. major and minor residency credit requirements align with the Campus-Specific Credit Requirements for Undergraduate Degrees policy).

    Every program (major, minor, and certificate) is required to have a fall 2022 version in PCAS.

    • If there is not a fall 2022 version, create a fall 2022 version in PCAS and make the necessary changes.
    • If there is an approved fall 2022 version in PCAS, review it to ensure that it meets the items on this checklist.            
    • If no changes are necessary, send an email to [email protected] indicating that you have reviewed the program and it is ready for the 2020-22 catalog.

    Specify all requirements.

    Requirements must be clearly and consistently defined at all levels: campus, college, program, sub-plan (for example, major electives or a collegiate first-year experience course) so that:

    • they can be easily understood by people outside of the department and the college (e.g., to advisors across campus and at transfer institutions; to prospective students, to transfer students);
    • they can be useful well into the future (if a student is returning 25 years from now, we should be able to quickly ascertain which requirements were in place at that time);
    • they can be represented accurately in APAS to keep a record of student progress toward degree (what is programmed in PCAS will be reflected in APAS);
    • the need for APAS exceptions is minimized by programming frequent exceptions into PCAS and APAS;
    • the use of descriptive, explanatory text is minimized by using PCAS groups to increase clarity (e.g., the upper-division writing intensive in the major group);
    • redundancy is minimized (e.g. it is not necessary to specify in PCAS that major courses must be taken A-F or that grades of C- or better are required in prerequisite courses, those are in University policy).

    The number of credits entered in the “program length in credits” field should include all credits necessary to complete a program (including prerequisite courses, admissions requirements, as well as major/minor/certificate requirements).

    Prerequisite and admissions courses must be included so that:

    • A student cannot be in the major, or complete the major, without them.
    • APAS reports better display progress toward fulfilling major requirements. The courses will show as fulfilling major requirements, rather than as counting only for free elective credits. 

    Be clear about variable credit courses if more than the minimum credit availability is required.

    • As a simple example, admission to our hypothetical Alchemy B.S. requires two courses totaling 7-8 credits. The courses listed within the Program Requirements section total 60 credits. Therefore, the “program length in credits” is 67-68.

    Courses offered for less than 1 credit (e.g. .5 credit courses) must be reflected as a whole number in the program length in credits. When .5 credit courses are present the program length in credits should be rounded up. Please note: new courses for less than one credit should not be proposed.

    Ensure sub-plans are entered accurately, where applicable.

    For programs that have sub-plans (tracks that are posted to a student’s transcript), are the requirements complete, accurate, and up to date? Does the number or range of required credits included in the “program length in credits” accurately reflect the inclusion of any specific course credits required for the sub-plan(s), and reflect fall 2022 requirements?


    What is the difference between a sub-plan and a track?

    Sub-plan: a formal section of a program plan in PCAS which must be approved by the Board of Regents. Sub-plans are entered in “Step 5” of PCAS, labeled a sub-plan, and have corresponding sample plans.

    Track: an informal way to group courses in a program. Tracks, if used, should exist in “step 4” Program Requirements in PCAS and be labeled as tracks.

    Residency requirements must be clearly defined, and align with University policy.

    Major, minor, and certificate residency requirements should be clearly defined in PCAS and not exceed that defined by the Campus-Specific Credit Requirements for Undergraduate Degrees and Majors, Minors, and Certificates policy. 

    Majors: “at least half of upper-division (3xxx-level or higher) credits that satisfy major requirements…” be earned at the campus awarding the degree. Please make sure this requirement is defined in PCAS under “Program Requirements” and in the “Other requirements” field.

    For example, a program may have:

    Minimum length in credits: 35

    Lower division required courses: 8

    Upper division required courses: 27

    For this example, the program would enter into the other requirements field: “At least 14 upper division credits in the major must be taken at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus.”

    Minors and Certificates: The residency requirement does not need to be listed in PCAS as it is standard for all minors and certificates in APAS. The policy states that “at least 3 upper-division credits that satisfy requirements for the minor must be taken through the campus that will award the minor” or certificate. Individual programs should not establish a higher minimum credit requirement than is defined in policy.

    Review the sample plan for accuracy.

    Sample plans are required for majors, but not for minors and certificates.

    Sample plans for majors:

    • must show how the degree can be completed within the specified number of credits (e.g., 120 credits or 15 credits a semester);
    • must include all required courses and prerequisites for the major (including first-year experience courses and admissions course requirements);
    • must show how the LE and WI requirements can be met;
    • should clearly indicate if any summer term enrollment is required.

    Add all cross-listed identities.

    All identities (designators and numbers under which the same course is offered) must be listed so that students get credit regardless of the designator. All active versions (aliases) of the course must be listed in PCAS. Here is a hypothetical example: for the Immortality B.S., ALCM (Alchemy) 101 is cross-listed with GOLD 101, but only ALCM 101 is currently listed in PCAS. Everywhere ALCM 101 is listed as an option to fulfill a requirement, GOLD 101 must also be added.

    Departmental and collegiate websites should link to the catalog when listing program requirements.

    Best practice is for departmental and collegiate websites with information about program requirements to link directly to the University Catalog. This ensures that current and prospective students can always access the most current requirements. When updating departmental/collegiate websites, please be sure to use the link that will always direct to the most current version of the catalog:

    1. Copy the catalog link
    2. Remove the section of the link directing to a specific term, bolded here: https://onestop2.umn.edu/pcas/viewCatalogProgram.do?programID=135&strm=1179&campus=UMNTC
    3. Add the spliced link to your website (e.g. https://onestop2.umn.edu/pcas/viewCatalogProgram.do?programID=135&strm=&campus=UMNTC)

    Curriculum coded in PCAS must translate to APAS.

    It is not acceptable to have a statement in PCAS or on a departmental website that “APAS doesn’t work for this program.” Requirements should be described clearly enough and with adequate logic so the APAS system can track them and provide an accurate record of a student’s progress toward completion of requirements. PCAS is the official “source of truth” for requirements in place in any given term. Requirements should be clear to current and prospective students, advisors on campus, and transfer advisors in other institutions; and should be written to be comprehensible in the future, when a returning student is working with an advisor to complete those requirements. APAS organization will follow the organization of PCAS, so structure requirements in PCAS as desired on APAS.

    Indicate overlapping programs that students are not permitted to combine.

    If the requirements of a program have so much overlap with those of another program that students will not be allowed to complete both, that should be stated clearly in PCAS. For example, the CBS Biology major states

    “Students completing another major in the College of Biological Sciences are not eligible for the BS in biology. In addition, students completing a degree in biology are not eligible for the following CBS minors, due to overlap: biochemistry, microbiology, plant biology, and behavioral biology.”


    Integrated Degree Program guidelines are followed (where applicable).

    If yes, please update PCAS to reflect the Integrated Degree Program as described in the Integrated Degree Program Guidelines.


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    Combination sample plans

    For programs that are often paired with another program, such as popular double majors or a common combination of a particular major, minor, and/or certificate, consider providing a sample plan showing those combinations. This information is very useful to students and advisors.

    Academic advisor input

    Check with your academic advisors about what questions frequently arise, what information may be missing, and how the current information in PCAS could be presented more clearly. Ask if the requirements as listed in PCAS translate clearly into Grad Planner and APAS reports used by students and advisors.