Degree Completion Planning

Your Individualized Degree Completion Plan (IDCP) is a tool designed to help students more efficiently map the path towards timely graduation.

Meet with your advisor!
Meet with your advisor!

You will use the Individualized Degree Completion Plan spreadsheet to develop a personalized plan of study for your academic career. This will allow you to clearly see what needs to be accomplished and in what time-frame to meet your goals. This plan can help save time and money by highlighting the most direct route towards degree completion and graduation.

All students that reach 45 credit hours will need to complete a plan. If you are a new transfer or a student nearing 45 credits, please be prepared to complete the IDCP for your next advising meeting. Note, if you have less than 45 credits, it is still an excellent idea to complete an IDCP.

How do I complete the IDCP?

  1. To complete the IDCP, start by reading the Instructions below.
  2. Next, download the IDCP Excel spreadsheet. If you do not have Excel you can obtain a student copy from TU's Office of Technology Services and all campus computers have Microsoft Office. Please submit the file as an Excel file!!
  3. You will also need to access some additional information on your Towson Online Services page, and you will need some additional documents including:
    1. ESS Advising Checklists
    2. Course Rotation Scheme (when courses are offered)

BEFORE YOU MEET WITH YOUR ADVISOR, you must email your ESS checklist and IDCP to Linda Morton ( THIS IS MANDATORY!

Instructions for completing the IDCP:

Important:The Individual Degree Completion Plan is a useful tool to help you reach your academic career goal. It is, however, a "living document" in that it will likely change over the course of your Towson career. Many events can necessitate that students change their plans (course offerings, dropping a course, etc.) and hence, it is important to be flexible. Ultimately, it is the student's responsibility to ensure they are on track to meet their graduation and career goals. Advisors and advising tools are here to help but the most successful students are likely to be those that put effort into planning their future.How to complete your ESS Individual Degree Completion Plan

  1. Open the necessary documents and websites
    1. Open Your Academic Requirements - Go to Towson Online Services, click on 'Self Service', and then 'Student Center'. On the left hand side, next to your schedule, select 'Academic Requirements' from the drop-down menu. This report provides all the requirements for graduation [e.g., total college credits, core courses, major requirements, etc.]. For many, viewing the pdf version of the Academic Requirements is easier than viewing it online.

      These link to the Towson University Online catalog for lists of courses requirements by concentration.
      For Environmental Science
      For Environmental Studies
    2. Complete the ESS Individual Degree Completion Plan spreadsheet - Click the ESS Individual Degree Completion Plan link to access the excel template and create an individualized academic plan with the courses you need to complete in order to graduate. Again, keep in mind your prerequisites.
  2. Review the ESS_degree_completion_template for your Major - Review the example template for the ENVS major for a sample plan that will allow you to graduate in 4 years. You can use this as a rough guide to completing your 4 year plan.
    NOTE: Your 4-year plan will be based on your chosen track/concentration.
  3. Review Course Rotation Planner - Other departments within the Fisher College of Science and Mathematics or the College of Liberal Arts offer the majority of courses in the Environmental Science and Studies program. The compiled list of courses on the ESS course rotation page tell you which semester courses in different departments are offered.
  4. Check Your Prerequisites - Using the TU online course catalog, write down the prerequisites for the courses you have not completed. Check to see if you have completed the prerequisites; if so, cross them off. If not, this will aid you in deciding which courses need to be completed first.

    Example: BIOL310 Environmental Conservation has several potential prerequisites. In this case, if you took BIOL 202 and 10 additional units of biology, geography or physical science you would have met the requirements and can enroll for the course.
    Application of ecological theory to conservation of biological diversity. Exploration of past and present processes leading to and maintaining diversity and how such processes are impacted by human disturbance. Average of three laboratory hours per week. Prerequisites: BIOL 190, BIOL 201 or BIOL 202 and 10 units of biology, geography or physical science coursework.
  5. Know which courses you have not yet completed - Using the 'Academic Requirements' listed for your program of study, write down all Required and Core courses that you have not yet completed. The ESS checklist is also useful here – the checklist and the Academic Requirements site should agree. Make sure that any courses you've completed show up as completed on your Academic Requirements page – any discrepancy should be reported to your advisor AND discussed with the office of Admissions' transfer evaluation office – they approve courses that have been transferred.
  6. Open the ESS checklist for you concentration: Go to the ESS Advising Checklist web page forms and click on the concentration that you have chosen [your 'sub-plan' in people soft]. The ESS checklist is a tool to help with advising and planning. It is probably easiest to complete the ESS checklist and the Degree Completion Plan at the same time.
    1. On the ESS checklist, mark an 'X' for courses you've taken, and mark an 'IP' for courses in progress.
    2. Save the checklist using your last name and the term and year in the file name: Lastname_sp2015.doc
  7. Click on the spreadsheet to open it in Microsoft Excel or save it to your computer. NOTE: if you do not have Excel on your computer you can purchase a version at a significantly discounted rate or you can use any one of the computers on campus.
  • After the speadsheet is open in Excel, fill in the top information.
  • Input the Total credits earned to date.
  • Input the Total credits enrolled in current term.
  • Input the Total upper-level (300-400) credits earned to date.
  • Input the Total upper-level credits enrolled in current term.
  • Note that several inputs will update and add credits automatically (indicated on template).
  • Fill in the remaining schedule by term. Indicate the term and year and go from left to right and then down in sequence. Include the requested information for each course.
  • START with the next semester in which you will be enrolled then complete the other semesters.
  • Make sure you have a minimum of 120 units in the Total credits on Plan below box when completed.
  • Make sure you include all Core courses you have not completed as well as all major requirements.
  • Make sure you have a minimum of 32 units of upper-level (300-400) courses.
  • Remember you will have to have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 to graduate.
  • When you're done, save your file (use your student ID number, last name and date as the file name e.g., 01234567FISHER10-15-14) and attach the file in an email to your adviser.

TIPS for completing the ESS degree completion plan and ESS checklist:

Using scratch paper, you can figure out a logical sequence of courses making sure that prerequisites are taken first. Electives can be noted simply as 'electives' and core courses as 'core' without providing course details.

It is a good idea to distribute your major requirements across your remaining semesters (NOTE the prerequisites!), then note when you can complete your core requirements and then fill in any remaining credits.

FINAL STEP: Schedule a MANDATORY meeting with your advisor - Schedule a meeting with your advisor by emailing at . Bring a copy of your ESS checklist and the ess_degree_completion_plan.xls with you as well as sending an electronic version in advance of your meeting. You and your advisor will review the plan and when finished and approved, you will both sign the approved plan. You will keep a copy of the signed, approved plan; and your advisor will keep a copy of the signed, approved plan.