Program of Study and Committee Help

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

Current Graduate Degree Program

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

Modify Degree Program

  1. The options for thesis, non-thesis, or coursework-only 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 okay for you to change your major. Some departments/programs require special permission to do this.
  3. You may add a co-major to your program in the POSC. Choose the department first and then choose from the available majors.
  4. If you want to add an interdepartmental major as your co-major, complete the Request to Add a Co-Major Prior to Committee Appointment form on the Graduate College’s Online & Paper Forms webpage.
  5. You may add a minor in the POSC. 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 must be approved by the Graduate College the semester prior to your preliminary or final oral exam.
  2. Any classes on your POSC that expire before your expected graduation term must either be deleted from your POSC and rerouted or petition for use by completing the Expired Course Petition concurrently with the 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. If you are unsure, check with your department/program office to verify whether someone is eligible to serve.
  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” fields will automatically populate. You must choose the faculty name from the list for the POSC to validate.
  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 by selecting from the dropdown under the “Action” column and choosing “Delete.” You will not be able to change their role. If you need to change the role, you can “Delete” the person and use the “Add” button to re-select them and change their role.
  4. Choose the role of your member (Major Professor or Committee Member). Co-major professors are all designated as “Major Professor.”
  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 and be marked “Minor 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)

Doctoral POS Committee: Must consist of at least five members of the graduate faculty. Three members, including the major professor, must be from within the major or program, and at least one member of the committee must be from outside the student’s field of emphasis. An associate member of the graduate faculty may participate in the direction of a student’s dissertation 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 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. An associate 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.

Master’s—coursework-only: The master’s POS committee for a coursework-only master’s student must include a major professor (often the DOGE of the program). No other committee members are required.

Courses taken as an undergraduate student at Iowa State University

  1. Do not include courses taken as an undergraduate at another college or university.
  2. Please see Graduate College Handbook section 6.3.2.

Courses taken as an undeclared graduate student at Iowa State University

  1. No more than nine credits may be used toward an advanced degree.

Transfer Courses

  1. All transfer courses must be taken at the graduate level and as a graduate student. You must have earned a grade of “B” or better. “P” or “S” grades are NOT ACCEPTABLE for transfer credits.
  2. Attach a copy of your official transcript if the course has already been taken.
  3. You will need to submit a POSC modification if your transfer credits will be taken in a future term so that you can attach a final, official copy of your transcript to the POSC form and enter the grades for your transfer courses.

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. If a course is already listed on your transcript, first click the plus (+) sign. Then type the first letter of the department name and select the department from the dropdown menu. Next, choose the course number by typing the first number of the course and selecting from the dropdown. You can then enter the number of credits, the term, and the year of the course. The name of the course and the grade will automatically populate.
  4. If a course is repeated, list the course each time it is repeated.
  5. If you run out of lines to enter classes, use the “student comments” field to indicate that you took the course but that it is unable to be added to the form.

Research Credits

  1. Only list 699 research credits in this section. No other classes or credits should be listed here.
  2. Make sure that the number of credits taken per semester matches your transcript exactly. You will receive error messages if the POSC does not match your transcript.