Program of Study and Committee Help

This website contains detailed information about each section of the online POSC form.

Graduate Degree Program

  1. Your degree sought cannot be changed with the online POSC form.
  2. You are not able to change your department with the POSC form.
  3. If the information on your student record is not correct, then contact your department/program office to take care of the necessary paperwork to have it changed.

Modify Degree Program

  1. The options for thesis, non-thesis, or coursework can only be changed if your degree offers that specific option. Example: If a degree offers a choice of thesis or non-thesis, then you would be able to select one of those two options. Coursework only would not be accepted.
  2. You will only be allowed to change your major, if the major is within your current department. Check with your department/program office to make sure it is OK for you to change your major online. Some departments/programs require special permission to do this.
  3. You may add a co-major to your program with the online POSC form. Choose the department first and then choose from the available majors.
  4. If you want to add an interdepartmental major as your co-major, it is best to complete the request by paper to your department/program first before doing the online form.
  5. You may add a minor with the online POSC form. When adding a minor, remember to add a minor representative to your committee.

Expected Completion Dates

  1. The expected term and year of graduation cannot be the current term. The POSC needs to be approved the semester prior to your preliminary or final oral exam.
  2. Any classes listed that are taken over seven years from the Expected Completion year will be considered over-age and needs special permission from your major professor and the Graduate College to be included on your POSC.

Committee Members for Ph.D., Thesis, Non-Thesis

  1. Make sure all of your committee members have Graduate Faculty status. All tenured/tenure track faculty members at Iowa State have Graduate Faculty status. Lecturers, researchers, or affiliates (people not working at Iowa State) may or may not have Associate Graduate Faculty status. Check with your department/program office if needed to verify the status.
  2. If your committee has not yet been approved, choose “Add” from the Action column. Start typing the last name of the faculty member and then choose the name from the drop down menu. The E-mail Address and Majors will automatically be filled in. You must choose the faculty name from the list for the e-mail and majors information to populate.
  3. If your committee has been previously approved, “Approved” will show under the action column. You will be able to delete a committee member if you choose. You will not be able to change their role. If you need to change the role, then “Delete” the person and use the “Add” button to re-select and change their role.
  4. Choose the role of your member (Major Professor or Committee Member).
  5. At least one of your committee members must be marked as “Outside.”
  6. If a graduate minor has been declared, a graduate faculty member from the minor program or interdepartmental minor must serve as a representative. The major professor and the representative from the minor field may not be the same person.

Composition of the POS Committee (Graduate College Handbook)

Master’s with thesis: The master’s POS committee for a student completing a thesis consists of at least three members of the graduate faculty. It must include two members, including the major professor, from the major or program. The committee must include member(s) from different fields of emphasis so as to ensure diversity of perspectives. A term member of the graduate faculty may participate in the direction of a student’s master’s research as a co-major professor if a full member of the graduate faculty serves as a co-major professor and jointly accepts responsibility for the direction of a program of study.

Master’s with creative component: The master’s POS committee for a student completing a creative component consists of at least one member of the graduate faculty as the major professor. Individual programs should consider whether the minimum number of committee members should be increased for the benefit of the students. The number of committee members in addition to the major professor will be established and monitored by the major/program/department.

Doctoral POS Committee: Must consist of at least five members of the graduate faculty. Three members, including the major professor, from within the major or program and at least one member of the committee must be from outside the student’s field of emphasis. A term member of the graduate faculty may participate in the direction of a student’s master’s research if a member of the graduate faculty serves as a co-major professor.

Courses taken as an undergraduate

  1. Do not include courses taken as an undergraduate at another college or university.
  2. No more than three 3-credit classes or two 3-credit classes and one 4-credit class can be used to meet graduate degree requirements. The classes need to be at the 4XX or 5XX level. These classes cannot have been used toward your undergraduate degree, nor have been taken as a special student.

Courses taken as an undeclared graduate student

  1. No more than nine/ten credits may be used toward an advanced degree. This would include either three 3-credit classes or two 3-credit classes and one 4-credit class.

Transfer Courses

  1. All transfer courses must be taken at the graduate level and be taken as a graduate student with a grade of “B” or better. “P” or “S” grades are NOT ACCEPTABLE for transfer credits.
  2. Attach a copy of your transcript if the course has already been taken.
  3. Transfer credits to be taken in the future will need to have a modification POSC done later to attach the transcripts.

Courses taken (or to be taken) as a degree seeking graduate student

  1. Courses graded Pass/Not Pass (P/NP) may not be listed on the POSC.
  2. Graded courses must have a grade of “C” or better to be included in the POSC.
  3. Make sure the department code is correct, spacing is important. Example: Mechanical Engineering is M E, not ME.
  4. If a course is already listed on your transcript, then you just need to add the department code, number, credits, semester, and year. The name of the course and the grade will automatically populate.
  5. If a course is repeated, list the course each time it is repeated. If you run out of lines to enter classes, use the notation field to indicate the number of credits for a repeated class that will be included in your POSC.

Research Credits

  1. Only list 699 Research credits in this section. No other classes or credits should be listed here.
  2. List each semester that 699 credits are taken.