College of Agriculture & Natural Resources
Animal & Avian Sciences

Creating a 4-year plan

Creating a plan for how you will complete your requirements is a vital component for your success as an undergraduate. Not only does planning early ensure you aren’t missing any required courses, it is essential in making sure you have allowed time to take all the courses you are interested in taking!

The most important thing to keep in mind is that knowing your course requirements and making sure you are completing them is your job as a student. You are responsible for selecting courses that fulfill those requirements. As advisors, we are here to help guide you towards your goals: talk about interships, study abroad and other curriculum enhancing opportunities, give career and life advice, and help you address specific issues, but we do not pick classes for students. As you look through the many courses you can take at UMD, we can help you chose one course over another in line with your goals, but we do not create your schedule for you. This guide will walk you through the resources you should use to create a plan, as well as some tips and suggestions.

Step 1: Start by making sure you know which option you are in.

  • Determine which ANSC option you are in. If you do not know your ANSC option, you can easily view this by going to your Unofficial Transcript.

Step 2: Once you have determined your option, gather the materials you will need to use.

  • Download the Curriculum Worksheet for your option. This is a list of all the course requirements for that option.
  • Download a Sample 4-year Plan to use for reference. *Note that your 4-year plan may vary slightly or significantly from the sample plan, depending on AP credits, transfer credits, double majoring, etc…do not be alarmed!
  • Download the Excel workbook template which will walk you through building your course plan.
  • Use UAchieve (UMD's degree auditing program) to help you look at what degree requirements you have already satisfied, and what you still need to take. View the User Guide for instructions on how to run and interpret your audit.

Step 3: Familiarize yourself with your requirements and what courses will satisfy those requirements, as well as when courses are offered.

  • A comprehensive list of all ANSC courses, which tells you the course names, when each class is offered (semester and year), and the required prerequisites.
  • A complete list of which ANSC courses have been approved to count as Management requirements and Advanced ANSC Elective requirements.
  • Your General Education requirements are indicated on the curriculum worksheet, along with which required courses in ANSC also fulfill those requirements.
  • Benchmarks: Make sure you are meeting benchmarks in your plan. Students who are not meeting benchmarks will be required to switch to another major.

Step 4: Use the resources and tips to create your own personalized course plan!

  • The Excel workbook template you downloaded in Step 2 will walk you through building your course plan, and help keep you on track with which resources you should be consulting.
  • READ Prerequisites! Make sure you have completed all required prerequisites before attempting to register for the course which requires them. Not adhering to required prerequisites can and will get you dropped from courses. If you are not sure what a prerequisite is asking for, ask that department and get clarification BEFORE you register.
  • Tip: Start by adding required ANSC courses to your plan, so you can work around them.
  • Tip: Try to complete many of your Gen Ed requirements early on.
  • Tip: Try to find courses that double count (for more than one Gen Ed requirement, or an ANSC requirement and a Gen Ed requirement) to maximize your scheduling flexibility.

Additional tips:

  • Mark the courses you are using for Gen Ed/ CORE with the designation for which requirement they’re fulfilling (e.g. SP, IS). This makes it easy to keep track of!
  • Clearly mark your semesters (ie: Fall 2015, Spring 2016). This makes it easy to make sure that you are planning to take a course in a semester it is offered.
  • Check your credit totals for each semester to ensure you aren't exceeding 17 credits in a given semester, and that total adds to at least 120
  • Do not try to schedule more than 3 laboratory courses in any one semester
  • If you are using one course to fulfill two requirements (ex: taking ANSC255 to satisfy an ANSC management requirement as well as in-major Scholarship in Practice) make sure that you only include the credits ONCE in your total number of credits.

Finally, your course plan is not set in stone! You can alter it at any time, so long as you make sure to check that you have paid attention to all prerequisite requirements, what semester courses are offered, that you are still meeting all the requirements for graduation, and that your total credits add up to at least 120.


ANSC and AGNR Peer Mentors:

ANSC has its own in-house Peer Mentor right in the ANSC building, available to meet with students. The AGNR Peer Mentors are upper level students who can also help you create a workable plan, and who can give you first hand advice about which courses to take.



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