Link to University of Wisconsin-Madison home page


Repository for Administrative Data and Reports

Intended to Graduation Major Flows

Last Updated

This workbook is intended to address questions about the degree to which students' intended majors are accurate predictors of their eventual graduation majors. The accuracy of a student's intended major has implications for enrollment and curricular planning, advising, staffing, and the provision of other academic services.

Report URL
Data Cookbook URL (requires authorization)
Data Domain(s)
Academic Planning, Admissions, Student Record
Access Restrictions
UW-Madison Employees (NetID Required)
Data View Information
Important Notes

This workbook uses a Sankey diagram ( to display the flow from intended majors to graduation majors. Students' intended majors are on the left (from) side of the diagram and students' graduation majors are on the right (to) side of the diagram. Hover over the bars in the middle to see the number and percentage of students moving from intended majors to graduation majors.

How students are determined to have 'stayed' in their intended major for this analysis is important to understand in order to make appropriate conclusions. Because students only have a single intended major but can have multiple majors at graduation (sometimes with different attributes) we determined that a student 'stayed' in their intended major if any of their majors at graduation had the same attribute as their intended major. When students 'stayed' in their intended major (or the attribute of their intended major, depending on flow selected) they are counted once in these flows. When students did not 'stay' in their intended major they are counted once in each of their graduation majors if those majors have different attributes.

For example:

1. A student who intended a major in Physics (a STEM major) and graduated with a major in Economics (not a STEM major) and Chemistry (a STEM major) counts once has having graduated in the 'same' major they intended when using the STEM flow.

2. A student who intended a major in Psychology (in the Social Sciences disciplinary area) and graduated in Neurobiology (in the Biological Sciences disciplinary area) and Mathematics (in the Physical Sciences disciplinary area) is counted once in Biological Sciences and Physical Sciences at graduation when using the disciplinary area flow.


Name Functional Definition Data Domains
Disciplinary Division

The four divisions established on the basis of related subjects of teaching and research and are independent of colleges, schools, and departments, and include: Biological Sciences, Arts and Humanities, Physical Sciences, and Social Sciences.

Academic Planning, Employee Record
First Generation Status

An undergraduate is considered a first generation student if they reported on their application for admission that neither of their parents had earned a four-year college degree. All others, including those who did not respond to the question are considered non-first generation.

Student Record
Health Flag

Indicates whether the plan is institutionally defined as a Health program for analytic purposes in that its focus is on preparing students for work or research in health-related fields.

Academic Planning
International Students

Non-immigrant visitors who come to the United States temporarily to take classes.

University of Wisconsin - Madison
Legal Sex

A person's biological or reassigned sex as printed on legal documents.

Categories include Female (F), Male (M), Other Legal Sex (O), undisclosed (U).

Definition provided by the Data Guidelines for Legal Sex and Gender, endorsed by the Data Governance Council Feb 20, 2024 and published at

Core Person
New Freshman

A new undergraduate student enrolled in a degree-granting program for the first time. When enrollment occurs in summer, students are still considered new freshman in the subsequent fall.

Student Record

Plan codes that are institutionally defined as STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) for analytic purposes based on the plan's CIP code. The STEM assignment is made when the curriculum is focused on math, statistics, physical science, biological science, natural science, technology, and/or engineering principles. In almost all cases, the CIP code associated with plans will be in the following areas: 01, 03, 11, 14, 15, 26, 27, and 40.

Academic Planning
School/College of Major

Indicates the school/college that has ownership of the major.

Academic Planning, Student Record
Transfer Student A student who enrolls at UW-Madison after previously attending another college or university as a degree-seeking student at the same degree level. Student Record
Tuition Residency

The residency status of a student for tuition purposes. Some non-resident students from Minnesota ("Minnesota Compact" students) pay tuition based on a legal agreement between the states of Wisconsin and Minnesota.

University of Wisconsin - Madison
Underrepresented Student of Color

A domestic (non-international) student who identifies, alone or in combination with other racial/ethnic categories, as African American/Black, American Indian/Alaska Native, Hispanic/Latino(a), Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, or one or more of the following Asian subcategories (Cambodian, Hmong, Laotian, or Vietnamese).

Student Record