Black Graduation Cap with Degree Isolated on White Background.

“Credits to Degree” is the number of credits a student has earned at graduation. In most majors, a student who graduates on time with a four-year bachelor’s degree has to complete 120 credits.

However, as the table below shows, on average UWM students, like many students nationally, complete significantly more than 120 credits at the time of graduation. In fact, on average UWM students complete a full semester of additional course work, even when not counting any remedial units they accumulate.

Average Credits to Degree
Actuals/Goals in numbers UWM Actual UWM Goal
Graduating cohorts 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17 2017-18 3-year 6-year 10-year
New freshmen 136.3 135.4 135.5 135.5 135 133 130
Transfers 142.1 142.8 142.9 142 138 135 133
Note: The data include UWM credits, test credit, and transfer credit, but not remedial and audit units.

Taking extra credits to earn a degree is expensive (tuition, fees, living expenses, books), and taking longer to earn a degree means a delay in joining the workforce. So while students who change majors can expect to take longer, we should look for opportunities to reduce the complexity of our degrees, streamlining the path to graduation.  For example, we should

  • Examine curricula and reducing the requirements/prerequisites students need to fulfil to be allowed to take a course. Are we putting in unneeded complexity that doesn’t add to success?
  • Allowing students to substitute one course with a different one if a course isn’t offered in a given semester.
  • Examine transfer policies and equivalencies, identifying and more broadly accepting transfer credits that students with the background they need to succeed.