Degree Progress FAQs
Non-Bowdoin credits which were applied to a student’s academic record prior to Fall 2013 will all be reflected as general credit. “GENL” indicates that the course will not be equivalent to a Bowdoin course during the registration process. Non-Bowdoin courses which are applied to a student’s record after the start of Fall 2013 may be displayed in one of three ways, depending on how a department has approved the credit on the appropriate approval form prior to a student taking courses elsewhere.
Courses will either be 1) not equal to a particular Bowdoin course but counting towards general requirements as “General Credit” or 2) a direct equivalent to a Bowdoin course or 3) General Credit that the department approves to count for a Major or Minor requirement. For instance, if a student is a History major, and the department has approved a non-Bowdoin course toward the History major but it has no exact Bowdoin equivalent, the department will approve it as “History Unspecified” on the Application for Transfer of Credit form which will then be indicated in Polaris Degree Progress.
For more information, visit the transfer credit page of our website.
Degree Progress assigns courses to meet division and distribution requirements using a "best fit" approach that will be fluid as more courses are taken. Keep checking Degree Progress during Registration rounds and after grades are awarded each semester to see how your progress is developing. If a course has two distribution designations, that course will be applied to only one distribution requirement.
For example, if a course is designated as “b - DPI, IP”, the course will meet the social and behavioral sciences (b) division requirement as well as either the difference, power, and inequity (DPI) distribution requirement OR the international perspectives (IP) distribution requirement. At the end of the semester, this course will randomly fall under one of the distributions assigned to it in your Degree Progress on Polaris. Until you take another DPI or IP course, the course will remain under the one which your degree audit randomly selected. Therefore, if your Degree Progress selected this course as fulfilling IP, but you want it to count for DPI, once you take another IP course the first course will then fall under the DPI requirement being met.
An important exception: You may not fulfill the VPA distribution requirement and the humanities (c) division requirement with the same course; they must be fulfilled by two separate courses. A course that has “c - VPA” assigned to it will always be used to fulfill the VPA distribution requirement first because there are more humanities (c) courses than visual and performing arts (VPA) courses.
Trying to decide whether to change your declared major/minor but not sure if you could fulfill the requirements on time? Then try out the "What If" function in Degree Progress. Located on the left-hand navigation bar. The "What If" function allows a student or advisor to assess a student's record against the degree requirements of a department or program.
"What If" does not officially change the major or minor; that is done by connecting with a faculty member in the department/program that hosts the intended major/minor. If they approve the addition of the major/minor, they will email the Office of the Registrar to have the official change made. Students may request to drop a major/minor by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org without permission.
- Class Year/Cohort never changes. A student remains with the class which they matriculate with.
- Class standing for the current semester is based on a combination of credits earned after matriculation and number of semesters enrolled at Bowdoin. Students may email email@example.com about applying for advanced class standing after registration has occurred during the semester in which they are a first-semester junior.
- Anticipated Academic Completion refers to the date which students anticipate they will complete all academic requirements for the degree. Students who have taken a leave from the college are responsible for updating the Registrar with a new anticipated academic completion date and may do via the Student Biographical Change Form.
- Anticipated Commencement is the year which a student intends to participate in commencement. Students may take part in only one Commencement, and they are normally expected to complete all degree requirements before they participate in graduation exercises. Students with two or fewer credits remaining and who can expect to complete all requirements by the end of the following August may be allowed to participate in Commencement but will not receive a diploma. In such cases, the degree will actually be conferred in October or December following the completion of all requirements, and the diploma will be mailed to the student at that time.