October 21, 2021


Time is valuable, especially for busy graduate or professional students. Processing degree plans and any changes that might be necessary is no quick or easy feat. Students must obtain signatures from advisors, department heads and other faculty relevant to the approval process. This can take students weeks, especially when additional updates are required. 

For graduate students, a delay in a degree plan approval could mean a delay in graduation. Dr. Butler-Purry, Associate Provost and Dean for the Graduate and Professional School at Texas A&M, recognized this critical need and met it head-on by implementing a cutting-edge service within her department.

With help from the Division of Information Technology, Dr. Butler-Purry and a team of software developers expanded the custom-made Document Processing Submission System to encompass the full degree plan lifecycle.

The current system allows students to:

  • Enter the degree plan with the list of courses for their Graduate Degree.
  • Select the committee members for their degree program.
  • Submit the degree plan for multiple levels of approval.
  • Make changes to those degree plans if needed.

The automated system provides a speedy and accurate approval process to ensure delays are never an issue.

“For the last decade, the software developers in the Division of IT have consistently provided quality service to the Graduate and Professional School,” said Dr. Butler-Purry.

Michael Phillips, lead software applications developer in the Division of IT, has seen his work make a difference. “It definitely saved a lot of time and a lot of frustration on both ends,” said Phillips. “Hosting such a seamless processing system is invaluable for busy groups like Dr. Butler-Purry and her team, and I know their students certainly appreciate the time and effort they save during an already hectic time of their lives.”

Over the last 10 years over 90,000 degree plans and change petitions were entered with over 450,000 approvals. Students, graduate advisors, and faculty have saved over 180,000 hours of unnecessary data entry and processing with the Document Processing Submission System. What would once take days or even weeks, can literally take minutes. 

Michael added that today more than ever before, students expect to do things online while on the move and a tool such as the Document Processing Submission System is essential to meeting their needs.

The Graduate and Professional school remains in constant contact with the Division of IT to ensure the system performs appropriately. The software development team quickly responds to any changes in process or makes updates needed to improve performance.

Dr. Butler-Purry agrees. “Not only did they help us create this custom application, but they also continue to work with us to improve the system by adding new features to make document submission easier for our students.”