Welcome to Workday Student 101! From this page you can find educational material on foundational concepts that are new with Workday. These topics will be important to understand as we transition from our current student systems.

There is a lot to learn about Workday, and we want to make it easy for you to find relevant information. As we roll out new material throughout the project, we’ll group related topics together and recommend content to review before jumping into more complex topics.

Available now

Academic Units

Academic units are the primary organizational structure in Workday Student. They are used to represent schools, divisions or any other unit that admits students, offers programs of study or offers courses. Academic units are structured together to manage academic process flows, security access, Workday rule inheritance and reporting.

Programs of Study

Within Workday Student, programs of study are used to organize academic functions (such as courses or sections), people (such as faculty or students) and/or credentials (such as a degree or certificate). Today’s major program (MP) in SIS is the analogue to a program of study in Workday.

Business Processes

In Workday, a business process, or “BP,” is an automated workflow that routes tasks to designated users. Common tasks include to-dos, reviews and approvals. Notifications can also be set up to notify a user that a step has begun or was completed, or a particular review response was selected. 

The Cloud

Workday is a cloud-based system, meaning it’s hosted on Workday’s servers and accessed over the internet via web browser or application. Because Workday Student is cloud-based, WashU will be on Workday’s regular release cycle for updates and improvements to functionality and data protection.

Effective Dating

An effective date in Workday is the date when a version of something goes into effect, such as a course title or pre-requisite requirement. Based on the action being completed, this may be a past, present or future date. Effective dating is beneficial to edit data in Workday without losing prior history, schedule changes to go into effect at a future date, or report on how something was configured at a certain point in time.

Coming Soon

People in Workday

Prior to Workday, staff, faculty and students existed in multiple systems (i.e., HRMS, SIS, etc.), and different data was attributed to the person’s record depending on which “hat” they were wearing. In Workday, however, a person who wears multiple hats (e.g., student, staff, student worker) at WashU will have one profile and a single, unified set of personal data.

Academic Calendars

Academic calendars define the academic periods (semester, summer, etc.) with start and end dates that make up the WashU academic year. Academic calendars are assigned to academic units or programs of study to manage related activities, like timing of course offerings, grading and student registration.

Courses & Components

Similar to course entries in WUCRSL today, courses in Workday are a series of educational objectives in a subject, typically leading to earned academic credits. This topic addresses how course details (meeting time, location, delivery mode, e.g. lecture, lab) are shown within Workday. It also addresses related ideas like subjects, course sections and course components.


In Workday, we will follow a common structure for grading, meaning that the types of grades students can receive will be consistent across our schools where possible. This topic introduces how grading will work in Workday.


Security drives what you can see (student records, student notes, etc.) and do (create a course, review a student bill, etc.) in Workday. It also drives academic process flows, defining who reviews and approves each task.

Is there a Workday topic you’d like to hear more about? Let us know!