Degree Audit Programming

Smart Planner Introduction

Smart Planner is an interactive online system that functions within PeopleSoft to help students be more proactive with their course planning. The result is a more efficient and engaging experience that gives students a visual representation of their current academic status and their future path toward graduation. The intent is to aid students in completing their degrees more quickly and effectively.

Students and advisors are able to:
  • View the student's individual remaining academic requirements to complete declared majors and minors in semester format
  • Plan the specific courses they intend to take to meet the requirements of their program
  • Run a Degree Progress Report to include planned courses to assure they have been planned appropriately for all degree completion requirements
  • Import this plan into Schedule Builder during registration periods, simplifying the process of registration for both students and advisors

Success Visualized:

Progress toward completion of the student’s academic goals is presented in a simple graphical representation on the landing page in Smart Planner. Requirements for majors, minors, and general education are displayed in a recommended sequence on one page using real-time information regarding the individual student’s progression. Test Credit, Transfer Credit, Remediation, courses taken at Chico, and course substitutions are all taken into account to provide accurate remaining course requirements. The Smart Planner recommendations include consideration of prerequisites and Fall/Spring only course offerings, providing the students with only feasible recommendations.

Students can further customize their recommendation by increasing or decreasing the number of units they plan to take in a semester and adding summer and winter intersession courses. When the number of units planned is altered or intersession terms are added, the recommendation will be updated to provide the student with a new customized recommendation.

Comprehensive Planning

Smart Planner allows for the selection of courses to meet individual requirements where a range of courses are available, such as general education (GE). It includes an interactive filter to allow students and advisors to select courses that best fit their degree requirements, while GE areas that have been met are removed from the filter to help avoid duplicating requirements.

Once the majority of students are using Smart Planner, student selections can be used to predict course demand, allowing California State University, Chico to make more informed resource management decisions.

Ease of use

Smart Planner provides drag-and-drop ease of use for a more user-friendly experience in further customizing the student’s path to degree completion.

The drag-and-drop feature obeys programmed prerequisites and Fall/Spring only course offerings to ensure a student’s manually altered roadmap is feasible.

Smart Planner History

The Smart Planner was developed at the University of Arizona (UA) between May 2011 and June 2013. UA provided a Smart Planner demonstration at a Higher Education User Group meeting in 2013. When UA realized the interest the system was generating, they decided to license the technology to other schools, including Boise State University and the California State University system.

Chico State was chosen as a pilot campus for the Smart Planner because we have several other academic advising tools in place and are up to date. Chico State has been working with the Office of the Chancellor and two other CSU Campuses: California State University, Long Beach and California State University, San Marcos since April 2014 to modify the Smart Planner for implementation at the three CSU campuses and other interested campuses in the future. Smart Planner was made available to a pilot group of students at Chico State on October 6th, 2014 making Chico State the first CSU to allow students to use the product.

Smart Planner is now available to all students in catalog years 2013 and beyond, including majors, minors, and general education- even undeclared students have a Smart Planner.


Smart Planner should not be viewed as a replacement for the Degree Progress Report. Some degree requirements cannot be built into a sequence, such as GPA, Residency, and requirements that can be met while completing other requirements, such as Global Cultures, US Diversity, and Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GW). Students should continue to view their Degree Progress Report for a more comprehensive view of their progress at California State University, Chico. For convenience, the Smart Planner contains a link to the Degree Progress Report with planned courses which are represented with a blue star to help students determine if they are planning appropriately for those requirements that cannot be placed into a Smart Planner sequence.