Once upon a time.. WAY back when I was in college. Each year the university put out a "course catalog". This book had all the majors and the exact degree requirements for each. For each class there was a basic description (not a class schedule) containing all the prereqs for each class.
When you declared your major (usually sophomore year) you were "frozen" into that particular year's course catalog - so they didn't change the graduation requirements once you started. How does this work now? I googled "A&M course catalog" and found only years before 2009. For 2009-10 it just says "pickup form" and there's no mention of 2010-2011.
I'm sure it's online, but having the book was nice to browse thru while planning out your remaining classes. It was also nice to have this concrete evidence of your requirements - not some online link that could be changed at any time.
So someone please bring me up to the modern day and how this works now? My son will start in ChemEngr in the fall, so that is the major I am currently interested in. Thanks!
Last year at my sons NSC we were able to pickup a course catalog and a CD of the course catalog (if I remember correctly at the MSC Bookstore. You should also be able to look at the course requirements for his degree on the engineering college's website.
Hope this helps!
As for the course catalog, you can get one from A&M. If you call the bookstore, they can mail one to you (for a fee, of course).
In terms of "locking into" degree requirements, I am not sure how that works now. As you said, in the "old days" - the catalog was your contract with the university with respect to degree requirements, usually for when you entered the university. But some schools no longer publish a catalog (LSU, for example).
I would think that when your son meets with his academic adviser for ChemE (or a general adviser) - a file should be started on him, including a curriculum worksheet that details the requirements and marks his progress. I used to give my students signed copies of their worksheets whenever they met with me.
If you go to the applicant tab in the Howdy portal and look inthe admissions block there is a link to download the course catalogs. The newest one is 2009-2010 though. If you go to the my record tab and look under registration you can click on schedule of classes and actually see the classes that are offered next fall. My D has gotten a kick out of seeing all the different classes that are offered for P.E. I know it feels good for us old timers to have solid books to look at, but apparently it doesn't bother the kids at all to have to go online for everything. Although, I'm sure that there are still books out there somewhere. Actually, I just looked and in the new student conference booklet we received, it said that the students would get a free catalog card at check-in to be redeemed at the bookstore. I assume this is the course catalog.
My son is just finishing his "fish" year at A&M. He is in the College of Liberal Arts. The dean of the college told us specifically last year that the degree outline in the catalog the year he starts with his major is his contract for the degree plan. If the college changes any requirements after that, he is not held to those new obligations, but may finish with his original degree plan in his first catalog.
However, he did say, if the student himself makes changes that are approved by his advisor to the degree plan (ie substituting a required course with an equivalent class), make sure he has those changes IN WRITING signed by the advisor to prove he has met the original degree requirements.
<<make sure he has those changes IN WRITING signed by the advisor to prove he has met the original degree requirements. >>
Bingo!!! The curriculum worksheet I used with my students was like a family bible! Every change, substitution, exception was noted on there and initialed by me. For anything that needed approval from above me, I kept the original document in the file (note or letter or whatever) and a copy was stapled to the worksheet. The student also got a copy stapled to his/her updated worksheet.
^^ LOL!! I made regular semester visits to my geology advisor at UNO, but after the 2nd semester he realized that I knew what I was doing so he would just chat with me for a while and then sign my form!
It really doesn't get to be a problem if you are coming in fresh and don't change majors. But if you're bringing in a bunch of AP or transfer credits, or if you have changed majors, then it can get sticky.