SMU in Four University Advising Center

New videos on understanding the Degree Progress Report released

The Degree Progress Report (DPR) is arguably the most essential tool for preparing for an advising meeting. Although you might think you understand the DPR, it can be tricky to read for even the most experienced advisor.

The Advising Resources Canvas Course (permission required) has a section devoted to the DPR, and SMU’s wiki pages on the subject are helpful. But if you’d rather watch the movie than read the book, the Registrar and Office of Information Technology (OIT) partnered to produce new videos on understanding the DPR and DPR Summary.

These two short videos cover a lot of ground, so you will likely learn something new, no matter how much you already know. Using the DPR and DPR Summary in new ways could make advising easier and better.

Of course, the DPR should also be an essential tool for students to independently navigate their academic requirements. Encourage your students to prepare for your meeting by visiting their DPRs to find out what requirements remain unfulfilled. Since that’s no easy task, a video for students can be found on this Student Essentials Academic Progress webpage

Please contact Josh Beaty, SMU in Four Advising Pillar Chair, at with questions. Special thanks to the Registrar and OIT teams for their efforts on these projects.

Office of General Education

Student communication shared concerning changes to Writing in the Major Proficiency and Experience

The following communication was sent to all undergraduate students on the Common Curriculum from the Office of General Education.

Subject: Changes to your Writing in the Major Proficiency and Experience

November 10, 2022

Dear SMU Common Curriculum Students:

We are writing to you with important information about changes to the Writing in the Major (WiM) Proficiency of the Common Curriculum (CC) that were made to make it easier to administer and fulfill.

  1. We will be tracking student completion of the WiM Proficiency through program assessment, rather than through Degree Progress Report (DPR) tracking.
  2. This change will go into effect tomorrow, November 11.
  3. This change will make it easier for departments to administer and assess this Proficiency and for you (students) to fulfill it.

On September 9, 2022, the Council on General Education approved a proposal to change how the Common Curriculum’s  Writing in the Major Proficiency and Experience is tracked on your Degree Progress Report and replace it with program-level Writing in the Major student learning outcome.

What does this mean for you? Ultimately, this Common Curriculum change merely moves tracking from the student level (e.g., on the DPR) to the program level (e.g., program evaluation process). Therefore, you will notice the WiM Proficiency and Experience will no longer appear on your DPR.

Writing in your academic discipline remains important to your undergraduate education at SMU. The knowledge, skills, and abilities SMU expects of our graduates will remain the same, without students having to worry about finding a particular course tagged for the WiM graduation requirement. These learning outcomes will be achieved across one or several of your major-required courses.

Questions related to this change can be directed to your academic advisor, faculty advisor, or the Office of General Education at


Dustin Grabsch 

Assistant Provost for Undergraduate Education & Academic Success

Office of General Education

Degree Progress Report changed to better align with Second Language Requirement

The Academic Records Committee made modifications to the Degree Progress Report (DPR) related to the Second Language Requirement (SLR) effective September 28, 2022.

No changes have been made to the Common Curriculum Second Language, the change relates to the manner the DPR reports a student has satisfied the requirement.

As a reminder, the SLR requires that a student complete a second language course in the second semester or higher. From Fall 2020 to Fall 2022, the DPR was set up such that students needed credit for both 1401 and 1402 for the SLR to show as complete. This setup caused many problems because most students at SMU do not take 1401. Rather, they start their language study in a course at the second semester or higher. Under this system, the Department of World Languages and Literatures had to manually award credit for 1401 to all of the students who began in 2nd semester or higher, in order to have the DPR show that the SLR was complete. As a result, many students who had satisfied the SLR had DPRs that showed the requirement as unsatisfied.

To correct this issue, we have reverted the DPR tracking of the SLR to the system that was in place from 2016-2020. Under this system, the DPR requires only the completion of a course in the 2nd semester or higher to show that the SLR is satisfied.  This will improve DPR tracking of the SLR for the overwhelming majority of SMU students.

If you have questions about how to account for the completion of 1401 for student-athletes or other populations, please contact Jay Orenduff, the Second Language Advisor at