Curricular Analytics Project

What are these squiggly lines? Our academic curriculum. Another tool for academic programs to examine their curriculum is through these interactive maps created through the Curricular Analytics Project (CAP). The goal of the CAP is validating the relationship between curricular structure and student outcomes. UT Dallas is one of 30 research universities in a three-year project (September 2021–August 2024) using the CAP tool for all undergraduate degree programs, conducting complexity score analysis, engaging in conversations with faculty, and creating a plan to use CAP in program reviews and assessment practices.

Metrics (

Several metrics (blocking factor, delay factor, centrality, complexity) have been identified to quantify curricula and degree plan data. These metrics are used to calculate the overall complexity of curricula and degree plans after they are uploaded. 

Complexity Score Analysis

Faculty are asked to review the results and engage in discussions about potential curricular changes that may be implemented to decrease curricular complexity. Several points of consideration have been noted below. These might be helpful in deciding which type of curricular revisions are best suited for the benefit of achieving equitable student success outcomes.

High complexity scores – Are the scores high in comparison with peer academic programs both within and outside of institution?

Long course sequences – These are shown to increase the probability that missteps will result in overall added time-to-degree. It is important to note that long sequences of prerequisites are especially daunting for students on four-year scholarships or who are otherwise under-resourced and already vulnerable to stopping out and/or delay.

Bottleneck courses – These are defined as courses that have a number of pre-requisites and serve as pre-requisites to several courses. Bottleneck courses tend to be in high demand. Can the learning outcomes for a bottleneck course be distributed to other courses so that more pathways to progress are created?

Late Core Curriculum Courses – Are students delaying completion of core curriculum course work and thus delaying the benefit they would receive from having completed them earlier in their studies? If so, what structural factors are driving these tendencies and how can combinations of curricular restricting and data-informed academic advising change such identified patterns.

Few Electives – Do required interlocking course sequences provide relatively little choice along with relatively little course scheduling flexibility? Does relatively little choice meet students’ diverse academic interests and career ambitions? Does the rationale for little choice and flexibility stand up to comparative analysis of peer structures?

Entry-Level Mathematics – For programs requiring Calculus, is Calculus necessary? If it is, are they arriving at the first Calculus courses too late (or too early)?

Bottom line: What’s the best way to move through the curriculum?

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Email Gloria Shenoy ( for access to the UT Dallas CAP curricular maps and additional resources.