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Child pages
  • Sample Plans

This page contains information about managing Sample Plans in MAUI.

Image of an example sample plan.

Sample plans are tools that show the sequencing of students' academic requirements and co-curricular activities mapped across multiple sessions.

Each sample plan is connected to an active Program of Study. However, each Program of Study may have multiple sample plans. For example, there is one plan for Public Health B.S. Beginning with General Chemistry, and one plan for Public Health B.S. Beginning with Principles of Chemistry.

Sample plans are intended to show one way to complete Program of Study requirements that will be applicable for a significant population of students. We do not expect departments to create a new sample plan record for each unique student situation. We do not expect students to follow the exact sequencing shown on the sample plan. Advisors work with their advisees to help customize each individual student's plan.

As program requirements change, sample plans will also change. Each sample plan is effective starting in a specific academic year. Once a sample plan has been approved it can remain in effect for multiple years if the department does not have any new changes that would require an updated sample plan.

Sample plans are viewable to administrators in MAUI under the Registrar tab, Academic Structure section, "Sample Plans" link. Administrators are welcome to view sample plans for any Program of Study.

Approved sample plans will be viewable to the public in MyUI. They will be viewable to those who visit MyUI without logging in. Students who are logged in will be able to open the sample plans for their declared Programs of Study and they will also be able to search for other sample plans (e.g. if they are considering changing their major). Students will be able to load sample plans into their MyPlan tool in MyUI. MyPlan is a dynamic tool that allows students to explore different ways of sequencing their coursework.

Sample plans do not replace Degree Audit nor do they replace advising. MAUI, MyUI, and printed sample plans all include the disclaimer "A Sample Plan represents one way to complete a program of study. Actual course selection and sequence will vary and should be discussed with your academic advisor(s)." If the student is logged into MyUI to view Sample Plans, then the disclaimer text will include a link to the Programs of Study and Advisor page in MyUI where the student can find name and email address for their assigned academic advisor(s).

The General Catalog will include the main sample plan for a Program of Study. Not all sample plans will be included in the General Catalog.

For any questions or concerns please contact the Sample Plan team at reg-sample-plans@uiowa.edu.

Roles, Workflow, and Timeline:

Each sample plan is associated with a Program of Study. The academic unit associated with that Program of Study may choose a representative who is responsible for initiating create and update forms in universal workflow to manage sample plans for their area.

The Sample Plan team in the Office of the Registrar is responsible for checking MAUI validations, data entry for newly created sample plans, data entry for updates, and monitoring the timeline.

All sample plans for the upcoming year must be finalized in time to be published in the General Catalog for the upcoming year.

Workflow Path and Stops:

  1. Initiator:

•Sample plan discussions occur during General Catalog review period

    • Outside of the formal sample plan workflow form, many departments will also use an informal system to facilitate the creation and review of sample plans within their department. These processes are not included in the formal Sample Plan workflow.
    • Departments may initiate plan updates prior to catalog copy completion, however, the Sample Plan team will not return the sample plan to the initiator for review until they have received notification that the catalog copy is finalized.

•Sample Plan workflow and General Catalog workflow open in early November.

•Ensures sample plan reflects catalog information

2. Sample Plan Team:

•Reviews plans and communicate via email for any additional information
•While the Sample Plan team is entering data into MAUI the plan may not be viewable (In Progress status)
•Approves workflow, sample plan now Pending status

3. Initiator:

•Receives updated form showing changes from previous plan
•Can also view plan in MAUI
•Verifies department requirements are met
•Approves workflow

4. College:

•Verifies college requirements are met (For example: Gen Eds, any course requirements happening in certain years)
•Approves workflow

5. Sample Plan Team:

•Once the workflow form is received and approved, the sample plan is in Approved status.

Please see the Sample Plan Workflow page for more information on workflow path and stops.

Clicking the "save for later" button will save the workflow form as a draft. The draft can be viewed by clicking on the "form search" link on the left side of the screen on the main Sample Plans page.

What needs to be submitted in Sample Plan workflow?

Department initiators do not need to request these changes in course information:

  • course renumbering
  • course title changes
  • number of s.h. changes
  • course drop from MAUI Course Library

These changes will be automatically updated by the Sample Plan team because the Office of the Registrar already has this information from the Course Approval process.

Typically sample plans do not include information about prerequisite or corequisite requirements. We expect students to navigate to MyUI to find this information. MyPlan will show warning messages if the student is planning to take a course and they have not yet completed the prerequisites for that course.

Department initiators do need to request these changes that will not be automatically updated by Sample Plan staff:

  • change in additional description
  • program requirement changes (e.g. a new requirement that future students must complete an additional core course)
  • change in sequence (e.g. moving a course that was previously in the first semester into the fifth semester)
  • changes in co-curricular, application, research, seminar, internship, informational mile markers
  • change in footnote wording

Mile Markers:

"Mile marker" is the terminology for each line or entry within a sample plan. In many cases each mile marker will show one course or requirement area.

Image: five mile markers within one sample plan.

Mile markers are always assigned one of these types:

  • Course
    • Validated by MAUI Course Library:
      • Cannot enter a course number that does not exist in Course Library.
      • During the Sample Plan team's data entry, MAUI displays the valid number(s) of s.h. for that course number. Courses with "arranged" s.h. may have a blank s.h. field in sample plans.
    • Allows for next session courses.
    • Uses course level information. Sample Plans and MyPlan do not use any section level information.
    • CLAS major sample plans: Per CLAS, RHET:1030 - Rhetoric and ENGL:1200 - The Interpretation of Literature should always be entered as "RHET:1030 or ENGL:1200" in one mile marker and "ENGL:1200 or RHET:1030" in another mile marker.
  • General Education
    • CLAS Core (CLAS majors)
    • General Education (Non-CLAS majors)
    • These mile markers will automatically pull into the work area in MyPlan.
    • We prefer listing a specific GE requirement area on the sample plan, e.g. "GE: Historical Perspectives" instead of "GE: General Education course."
    • Note that RHET:1030 - Rhetoric and ENGL:1200 - The Interpretation of Literature are entered as course mile markers, not general education. This way these mile markers do not automatically pull into the work area in MyPlan, they will remain in the same session where they exist on the sample plan (i.e. they may remain in first year fall in MyPlan) instead of losing their place in the sequencing.
  • Elective
    • Major elective (e.g. "Major: lower level statistics course")
    • Elective Focus Area (Engineering terminology)
    • General elective
  • Application
    • General application (e.g. applying to switch from the B.A. to the B.S. program)
    • Audition
    • Admission application (e.g. medical school)
    • Degree application
    • These mile markers should not include specific deadline dates or specific application material instructions (e.g. prompts or length limits for application essays). If these details change then the sample plan will no longer be correct. We suggest using footnotes to point students back to the website where they can find the most current and accurate information.
    • These mile markers can be entered either in specific terms (e.g. Social Work Interest lists an application mile marker in the spring of their second year) or in academic career (e.g. Social Work B.A. lists an application mile marker as an academic career to show that an application is required before being admitted to the program).
  • Co-curricular (presentations, conferences, student organizations)
  • Other
    • Exam (e.g. MCAT)
    • Honors (separate honors work)
    • Internship (if not a course)
    • Informational (for notes, e.g. "students in this program must maintain a 3.0 g.p.a. in all major courses")
    • Research (if not a course)
    • Seminar (if not a course, e.g. "first-year seminar")
  • Degree Audit Requirement (for future developments)

Mile markers that are assigned Academic Career or year-specific status will automatically pull into the work area in MyPlan.

In cases where students may choose from multiple course options to fulfill a requirement, here are some suggestions:

  • Course type mile markers may include up to three course numbers, e.g. “MATH:1460 or MATH:1550 or MATH:1850.”
  • Major elective type mile markers may use a description, e.g. “Major: introductory calculus/statistics course,” "Major: additional B.S. requirement," or "Major: biology elective III."
  • Footnotes can provide longer text descriptions including lists of course numbers, e.g. "Select art history survey course from ARTH:1040, ARTH:1050, ARTH:1060, ARTH:1070, and ARTH:1095."
  • In MyPlan students will be able to edit mile markers so that their individualized plans show the one course they plan to take.

It could be problematic to list only one course in the mile marker when there are actually multiple options. Without including all options in the plan students may not realize that they can also choose from the other course options. If all students are choosing one course it could lead to issues with over enrollment or under enrollment.

Mile markers may include one number or a range for s.h. (e.g. 3 s.h., 3-4 s.h.). A large range cannot be listed in one mile marker (e.g. 1-11 s.h.). This needs to be split between multiple mile markers.

In the future the mile marker types will be used for projecting the number of students who may enroll in a course and other types of reporting.

Mile markers have a 250 characters (including spaces) length limit. In practice, shorter text descriptions are encouraged.


Footnotes may be used to give more information, e.g. “Students complete the experiential learning requirement by choosing an approved option.” This footnote helps students remember that they cannot choose just any experiential learning course, it has to be a course that has been approved by the department.

Footnotes have a 500 characters (including spaces) length limit. In practice, shorter text descriptions are encouraged.

Global Footnotes:

These footnotes are used widely across multiple sample plans.

  • CLAS:
    • GE CLAS Core courses may be completed in any order unless used as a prerequisite for another course. Students should consult with an advisor about the best sequencing of courses.
    • Students who have completed four years of a single language in high school have satisfied the GE CLAS Core World Languages requirement. Enrollment in world languages courses requires a placement exam, unless enrolling in a first-semester-level course.
  • Colleges outside of CLAS:
    • GE courses may be completed in any order unless used as a prerequisite for another course. Students should consult with an advisor about the best sequencing of courses.
    • Students are required to have completed the fourth-level proficiency in a single world language or the second-level proficiency in two different world languages.
    • Tippie RISE: Complete at least one of the following: Research with Faculty, Internship Course, Study Abroad, Experiential Course.
  • Major requirement also fulfills a GE requirement:
    • Fulfills a major requirement and may fulfill a GE requirement.
  • General electives:
    • Students may use their elective courses to complete a double major, minors, or certificates.


These examples may be helpful for those who are crafting sample plans.

  1. Mile marker in academic career: "Admission Application: Students apply to the B.A. program through a selective process." With footnote: "The following foundation courses may be completed prior to admission to the Elementary Education program, but are not prerequisites for admission: EPLS:3000, PSQF:1075, EDTL:4900, EDTL:2122."
    From sample plan for EDUC Elementary Education BA, fall 2018.

  2. Mile marker in third year fall "ECON:3650 - Policy Analysis or elective course" and mile marker in third year spring "ECON:3800 - Law and Economics or elective course." With footnote: "Choose from ECON:3650 or ECON:3800 for the second economics foundation requirement."
    From sample plan for CLAS Ethics and Public Policy BA, fall 2018.

Best Practices:

We recommend that the initiator check that all General Education and program requirements are included on the sample plan. The college level approver also checks that all GEs and college-specific requirements are included. This includes the World Languages GE even though many students complete this prior to their first year. Students who have fulfilled the World Languages GE requirement through high school coursework should delete the World Languages mile markers from their MyPlan.

We recommend that the initiator check that the number of s.h. in each semester is appropriate. For example, for the first semester of an undergraduate plan it may not be appropriate to list a total course load of 18-20 s.h. However, if it is the case that 18-20 s.h. is what students in this program of study are actually taking then it is appropriate to list this on the plan.

We recommend that the initiator check that the overall total number of s.h. is appropriate. For example, a plan for an undergraduate major should total to 120 s.h.

We recommend that the initiator check that course sequencing is appropriate. For example, in some cases it may be best to list foundational or core courses in the first year, and in other cases the timing of when to take these courses may not be important.

We recommend that the initiator check for duplication and regression issues.

Some departments list more major elective mile markers on their plans than what is actually required for the student to graduate. This is fine, however, we recommend including a footnote so that students are aware of the actual requirement they need to complete. For example, “students are required to complete 15 s.h. in major electives.” Some plans also use the footnote, "This course is recommended not required."

We encourage departments to seek feedback from students on their sample plans regularly if possible and to consider making adjustments if there are suggestions that could make the sample plans more helpful for students.

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