Program of Study and Committee

The Program of Study and Committee (POSC) form

Forming a POS committee and filing the Program of Study form are done electronically in the POSC form on AccessPlus. The Graduate College POSC form serves as a contract between the student and the Graduate College, indicating the minimum coursework that must be completed for a degree.

Students should prepare a tentative Program of Study in consultation with their major professors and arrange a meeting of their POS committee to discuss the proposed Program of Study and research plans. All committee members must be present.

In preparing the Program of Study, the student and major professor should refer to the course requirements to ensure that the planned coursework:

Who needs to file a POSC?

All Ph.D. and master’s graduate students will need to submit a POSC. Early selection of a major professor, appointment of a committee, and development of a program of study are very important. It is recommended that the committee be formed as early as the second semester of graduate study. The POSC must be approved by the Graduate College at least 3 calendar months before the preliminary oral exam (for Ph.D. candidates) or the semester before the final oral exam (for master’s students).

I am in a certificate program. What do I need to file?

If you are earning a certificate, you will need to complete a Certificate Program of Study. This is an online form available on the Graduate College website.

I am a double degree student. What do I need to do?

Double degree students are completing two differently named master’s degrees for two diplomas at the same time. For double degree students completing a thesis or creative component, the final project must integrate subject areas from both majors.

A double degree student will need to file one program of study and committee form for both the degrees. These forms can be found on the Graduate College website. Double degree students follow all published POSC and graduation deadlines.

I am a concurrent student. What do I need to do?

Concurrent students are completing two graduate degrees at the same time. You will need to submit two separate POSC forms, one for each degree. The degrees or the POSCs do not necessarily have to be done at the same time. See Chapter 4 in the Graduate College Handbook for more information.

Who do I talk to regarding the information on the POSC?

You will first need to identify a major professor who will be the major advisor for the completion of your graduate degree. More than one major professor can be identified in various situations. Committee members assist the major professor in guiding the graduate degree program. Your program staff person can also assist in answering program-related questions. The Graduate College can help with any questions about how to complete the form and troubleshooting errors.

How many committee members will I need?

All Ph.D. programs require at least five members, including the major professor, on the POSC form.

If you are a master’s student completing a thesis, you are required to have at least three members on your POSC form, including the major professor.

Master’s students with creative component only require one to three members. You will need to check the specific requirements of your program.

Master’s students in a coursework-only program require at least one member of the graduate faculty in the designated major. This is often the DOGE of the coursework- only program.

I have my committee, what’s next?

Once you have established your committee, it’s time to work with your major professor and committee to develop your program of study. A Program of Study Committee (POSC) Worksheet is available to assist you in preparation for submitting the POSC.

First POS Committee Meeting

In most cases, a student's POSC form is approved during the first POS committee meeting. Approval of the POS must be obtained before the end of the first semester of the student’s second year (Ph.D.) or before the end of the first year (M.S.)

At least one week prior to the scheduled POS committee meeting, students should prepare the following documents:

The Description of Proposed Research should be concise (usually 2-3 pages) and summarize the major objectives of the research project and planned approaches to achieve these objectives. Because the POS must be approved soon after the student has chosen a major professor, the research description is expected to be preliminary; it is understood that the student's plans may change as the research progresses. The written proposal should be viewed as a tool to help the student plan the dissertation or thesis research and to aid the POS committee members in evaluating whether the proposed POS coursework is appropriate. The Description of Proposed Research should be emailed to the committee members one week prior to the first meeting.

Students should be prepared to make a brief oral presentation at the first POS committee meeting. Typically, the student describes his or her academic background (undergraduate institution, previous degrees, research experience, research interests, career goals) during the first few minutes of the meeting. The student then briefly summarizes the proposed research and solicits input from committee members.

How do I file the POSC online?

You will complete, submit, and revise your POSC through AccessPlus. You will need to log in to AccessPlus and find and click on the student tab in the upper right-hand corner on your AccessPlus homepage. Once you’re on the homepage, find the Graduate Student Status tab on the left menu, and click on it. On the Graduate Student Status page, you’ll see two columns. Go to the middle section of the right column and find the button labeled MY POSC Form, and click on it. Once you have your POSC form open on AccessPlus, it’s time to begin filling it out. Please go to the POSC help page to learn how to complete the form.

If you are a double degree student, go to the Graduate College website under the “Current” tab. Click “Online and Paper Forms.” The double degree POSC will be found under the “Double Degree Forms” heading.

Is there a deadline for submitting the POSC form?

Yes! As you complete your graduate studies, there are requirements and specific deadlines associated with graduation. The requirements vary based on the degree that you are seeking. Please review these requirements and deadlines very carefully by visiting our Dates and Deadlines webpage.

REMINDER: Don’t forget to check with your program for departmental deadlines, which you may also be required to follow!

What type of information is in the Graduate College Handbook?

All the policies and procedures that you will need to follow as a graduate student are included in the Graduate College Handbook. Your department or program may have more restrictive requirements, but the basic policies enforced by the Graduate College can be found online.

Where can I find additional help?