Encoding Graduate Degree Programs

The UW Graduate School in partnership with the UW Registrar’s Office is in the process of encoding graduation requirements for graduate degree programs in a central degree audit system.

Encoding Calendar List of Encoded Programs

Degree Audits

Once a degree program is encoded, degree audits for students in that program can be generated from several student information systems at the UW. The degree audit is used by students, their advisers, and the Graduate School at various points in students’ careers.

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  • Students use the degree audit in MyPlan, the UW’s online academic planning tool
  • Advisers should review students’ degree audits in MyGrad Program – Department View when monitoring students for satisfactory performance and progress toward completion of their graduate degree program.
  • Students should review a degree audit when (a) scheduling a doctoral general or final exam, (b) submitting an Educational Specialist degree request, and/or (c) submitting a master’s degree request in MyGrad – Student View.
  • Advisers should review degree audits in MyGrad Program – Department View when approving students’ (a) doctoral general or final exam requests, (c) Educational Specialist degree requests, and/or (b) master’s degree requests.
  • Advisers should review degree audits when recommending students’ candidacy and graduation to the Graduate School.
  • The Graduate School reviews degree audits when graduating students from the UW.

Encoding Process

This flowchart illustrates the typical encoding process, which occurs within one quarter.

Submit Forms > Review Forms > Encode Graduation Requirements > Test Degree Audit > Approve Degree Audit > Publish Degree Audit
Grad Program GEMS DARS Grad Program GEMS DARS

These are roles and responsibilities of the offices/units in the encoding process.

Graduate Programs Provide GEMS and DARS with graduation requirements for graduate degree programs. Test degree audits. Approve degree audits.
Graduate Enrollment Management Services (GEMS), UW Graduate School Review graduation requirements for graduate degree programs for alignment. Test degree audits. Approve degree audits for publication.
Degree Audit Reporting Services (DARS) Office, UW Registrar Encode graduation requirements for graduate degree programs in the central degree audit system. Test degree audits. Publish degree audits.

Initial Encoding: Steps for GPAs

Degree Requirements Form

The following instructions are for the initial encoding process — encoding a graduate program’s graduation requirements for each of its graduate degrees.

  1. Find your graduate program on the calendar. Some things to consider that might require a calendar change.

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  • Are faculty available for consultation?
  • Do you have significant vacation or personal time away planned?
  • Are you on limited appointment (for example, 10-month appointment)?
  • Is your program under review?
  • Is your program in the process of making major curriculum changes?
  • Is your program going through accreditation?
  • Do you have admissions deadlines?

If you have concerns, please contact GEMS at gemshelp@uw.edu, 206.685.2630 or the GPA Hotline.

  1. Make a note of the deadline and notify your leadership and persons or groups that may need to be consulted. (For example, the GPC, the Chair or Director, the program’s curriculum committee.)
  1. Watch the video (coming soon) to learn about the encoding process, including guidelines for the Degree Requirements Form. It is highly recommended that you watch the video two quarters prior to encoding graduation requirements. This will allow adequate time to assess current policies and procedures and consult with GEMS on specific issues.
  1. Submit Degree Requirements Form to gemshelp@uw.edu.
  • Graduate programs are responsible for making sure they are in alignment with graduation policies and procedures before they submit forms.
  • Graduate programs must submit a form for each degree code to GEMS by the quarterly deadline.
  • Forms that do not follow the guidelines will be returned to graduate programs.
  1. Be prepared to set aside time during the quarter your graduate degree programs graduation requirements are encoded to work with GEMS and DARS and to test degree audits. The encoding process needs to be completed by the end of the quarter.
  1. Update program’s online content, graduate student orientation materials, and/or graduate student handbooks or manuals as needed.
  1. Attend a Training Webinar
    Several training webinars are offered every quarter. Graduate programs may attend a webinar at any time and may attend multiple times. It is highly recommended that graduate programs attend a training webinar prior to or immediately after degree audits are published. Graduate programs may also request an in-person training through the DARS Office by sending an email to dars@uw.edu.


The following are the quarterly deadlines for submission of Degree Requirements Forms to Graduate Enrollment Management Services (GEMS):

  • January 10 for Winter Quarter encoding
  • April 10 for Spring Quarter encoding
  • July 10 for Summer Quarter encoding
  • October 10 for Autumn Quarter encoding


If you have questions, please contact GEMS at gemshelp@uw.edu, 206.685.2630 or the GPA Hotline (unpublished).

After Encoding: Steps for GPAs

Download Degree Requirements Form Download Changes to Degree Requirements Form

The following instructions are for graduate programs that have gone through the initial encoding of graduation requirements for its graduate degree programs and now are offering a new degree program or have made changes to an existing degree program.

To learn more about the approval process for new graduate degree programs or making changes to existing graduate degree programs, refer to Creating and Modifying Programs and contact the Office of Academic Affairs and Planning (OAAP) in the UW Graduate School.

New Graduate Degree Programs

When a new graduate degree program has been approved by OAAP, a Degree Requirements Form should be submitted by the graduate program to GEMS at gemshelp@uw.edu by the deadline following the approval date by OAAP. For example, if a program is approved on May 25, a Degree Requirements Form should be received by GEMS no later than July 10.

Changes to Degree Programs

When “significant” changes have been approved by OAAP, graduate programs submit a Change to Degree Requirements Form to GEMS at gemshelp@uw.edu immediately following the approval date by OAAP.


These terms and phrases are used frequently and may not be familiar to everyone. Therefore, a definition and/or brief explanation is provided here.

Alignment – When graduation requirements for graduate degree programs are in agreement with the Graduate School’s policies on graduate degree requirements. These policies can be found in several Graduate School Policies and are summarized in Policy 1.1 Graduate Degree Requirements.

Degree Code – A combination of codes that uniquely identify a degree program at the UW. Degree requirements are encoded at the degree code level. When students graduate, the degree code attached to their record is mapped to the degree audit for that degree. Graduate programs must therefore, submit a Degree Requirements Form for each and every active degree code.

Example of Degree Code: 0 C ANTH 00 – 2 – 1

0 C ANTH 00 2 1
Campus Code College Code Major Code (Abbreviation) Pathway Code Degree Level Code Degree Type Code

*A report on Degree Codes can be retrieved from the B.I. Portal.

Degree Audit –  A computer-generated analysis that enables students and their advisers to assess the student’s academic progress and unfulfilled degree requirements. The degree audit also enables the Graduate School to confer UW graduate degrees. The UW uses the CollegeSource’s u.achieve® degree audit system.

Degree Program – This refers to a graduate degree offering unit, which is most often, but not always, a department.

Encoding –  The process of converting degree program graduation requirements into a coded form that can be read by a computer. Encoding is done by staff in the Degree Audit Reporting System (DARS) Office in the UW Registrar’s Office.

Publish – When a degree audit is “live” or made available in all student information systems.

Student Information Systems – The student information systems at the UW currently using the central degree audit system are MyPlan, MyGrad Program (MGP), and the Electronic Academic Records System (EARS).