What is a program of study?

The program of study helps you define your path to degree completion. Create your program of study in collaboration with your major professor or advisor(s).

The program of study defines:

  • The courses you plan on taking as a graduate student
  • Who is on your graduate committee
  • Whether your degree is thesis or non-thesis
  • If you are completing a minor and/or an option

The Graduate School uses your program of study to determine your eligibility for exams and to complete the final audit of your course work prior to awarding your degree. Please review the policies listed on the program of study form.

How to create an effective program of study

Your program of study helps you and your major professor develop clear expectations for completion of the degree. When creating the program consider program requirements, whether courses are offered when you need them, and when you intend to complete your thesis or capstone requirement. Talk with your major professor about how to create your full faculty committee and get input from these professors regarding the courses you take and a reasonable time line for completion of degree requirements.

You should refer to your program’s advising handbook or similar document to understand the requirements for your degree before you meet with your professor. It is also important to read and understand the Graduate School policies shown on the program of study form.

Submitting your program of study form

For master’s students, we recommend submitting the program of study form before completing 18 graduate credits and no later than 15 weeks prior to the defense.

Doctoral students are required to submit the program of study form by the fifth term.

Additionally, Doctoral and MAIS students are required to hold a program of study meeting with their committee. The GCR on the committee needs to submit a program meeting form to the graduate school.

Submitting the form early allows time for the Graduate School to advise you on university requirements and for you to make adjustments should your plans or course offerings change.

To make changes to an already approved digital Program of Study, please use the Petition for Change in Program of Study form.


Get paper and digital program of study forms