Academic Structure

The academic structure and its elements are the building blocks for an academic institution, from the institution itself down to degrees. Components of the structure include such things as academic careers, academic departments, plans and subplans, course subject listings, etc.

The academic structure is a representation of academic actions approved through governance and should be used as the single source of truth for approved governance actions. Each component of the academic structure has a foundation in policies from the UW System Board of Regents, UW-Madison Faculty Policy and Procedures, and accreditation bodies. The official academic structure is maintained in the Student Information System (SIS) and is accessed electronically through the data extracts from the InfoAccess data warehouse.

Responsibility for maintaining the academic structure in the single source of truth is shared by Data, Academic Planning & Institutional Research (DAPIR) and the Office of the Registrar.

Having a single, codified source for information about the academic structure:

  • Makes it clear how schools and colleges are related to departments, how departments are related to academic plans and subplans, and how departments are related to curricular subjects.
  • Defines how elements of the academic structure are related to budgetary units.
  • Enables the electronic connection between data systems that consume the academic structure and saves the time and resources that would be needed to maintain separate systems.
  • Ensures consistency in reporting about the academic structure by maintaining a single source of attributes of departments, plans, subplans, and course subject listings.

Academic Structure KnowledgeBase Library

DAPIR has collected a series of academic structure-related KnowledgeBase (KB) documents into the Academic Structure KB Topic Library.

Tableau Visualization of the Academic Structure

UW-Madison’s academic structure is captured and detailed in a Tableau visualization titled UW-Madison’s Academic Structure. This visualization includes course subjects and academic plans and subplans with information about the school/college and departments that are responsible for them. It can be filtered to the academic division (school/college) and academic unit (department and department-like units) levels.