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Nebula Planner

The Nebula Planner was made to do one thing: help students plan their college experience at a high level. It does the leg work so students can focus less on the minutiae of planning their studies and more on the experiences that will prepare them as scholars and as members of society.


Planner was born out of a need to replace ad hoc Google Docs and hastily-crafted spreadsheets when planning coursework.

While Planner was primarily inspired by undergraduate academic advising in the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering Computer Science, later inquiries with students from other schools at UTD revealed similar deficiencies or uncertainty when planning coursework.

Additionally, students today more than ever have strong career expectations placed on them. For many people, it's not enough to only graduate. Students are increasingly expected to do things outside the classroom, like participate in volunteer work

Project History

Nebula Planner began its life as Comet Planning, a degree planning tool. It was one of the inaugural projects developed by ACM Engineering (formerly ACM Development) with the following contributors:

The initial commit was made on May 9, 2020 by Aliah.

Early on, its purpose was clear: build a tool that let people visualize their coursework by dragging and dropping it in a clean interface. Sometime near the end of summer 2020, Willie was asked to be Comet Planning's project lead and directly oversaw the project after that.

Over the next year, the project would increase in scope and grow to emphasize a more holistic experience when planning coursework.

At ACM UTD's spring 2021 kickoff, Comet Planning was renamed to "Project Nebula" with its name strongly inspired by Madison York, the editor-in-chief of the Mercury who helped him brainstorm names over hot chocolate.

Over summer 2021, Project Nebula grew to encompass several interconnected projects: a degree planning tool (named Nebula), a public API and visualization dashboard for UTD-related data (Comet Data Service), and later, a guide for students (UTD Survival Guide).

Around September 2021, it was handed over to Rajmeet Juneja so Willie could more effectively oversee Project Nebula as a whole. Also around this time, Project Nebula's degree planning tool was renamed to the Nebula Planner to reduce confusion between it and the larger initiative to build tools that helped students.

On January 24, 2022, the Nebula Planner (finally!) announced its public beta at ACM UTD's spring 2021 kick-off.


Degree Planning

Nebula Planner lets you visualize what courses you're taking across your entire academic career. No need to keep an unwieldy spreadsheet or text document up to date. Simply drag and drop courses between semesters.

Prerequisite Visualization (Coming soon!)

Some majors have many interconnected courses with chains of prerequisites. Nebula Planner will let you visualize them in an easy-to-understand way and track which courses you have left to take.

Degree Plan Validation (Coming soon!)

Knowing what courses to take is already difficult enough, but it's also difficult to keep track of edge cases and how they'll affect other aspects of being a student. What if dropping a course will no longer make you a full-time student? How will withdrawing for a semester affect your financial aid? Nebula Planner will intelligently help you verify that your plan is in line with academic policies in the Catalog.

Historical Courses and Professor Evaluation Integration (Coming soon!)

Sometimes you want to take a course with a specific professor. Nebula Planner will integrate with the UTD Survival Guide and the Nebula API to display historical course information to let you determine how difficult your semester will be and what to expect when taking a class.

Plan Sharing and Export (Coming soon!)

Perhaps someone has asked you what your degree plan looks like in the past. Instead of giving them a screenshot of a document, why not give them a link that lets them experiment with it and apply it to their own? Nebula Planner will let you generate a link to your degree plan, which you can share with your academic advisor or friends.

It will also let you export your plan to file, whether to image, to PDF, or to a spreadsheet.

Planning Co-curricular Experiences (Coming soon!)

Some degree plans require out-of-class experiences, and some career paths encourage summer activities like internships or research experiences to be competitive. Nebula Planner will let you keep track of internships and other activities that complement your coursework all in once place.

Advanced Degree Planning (Coming soon!)

To plan master's degrees for Fast Track while aligning graduate coursework with undergraduate coursework, students have to do even more work. But what if you're also in the Collegium V Honors Program and have additional requirements to graduate? Why not just let Nebula Planner figure out all the edge cases?

Nebula Planner will allow you to keep track of school requirements that may like University-wide honors, major honors, Fast Track coursework, and more.


We're always looking for people to help build features and maintain Project Nebula's apps. See our project on GitHub to get involved!

If you have other questions, contact us at!