3.3 Plan of Graduate Work

A. Plans of Work for Master's Students
B. Plans of Work for Doctoral Students
C. Contents of Plans of Work
D. Creating and Revising Plan of Work
E. Annual Progress Evaluation

A. Plans of Work for Master's Students
Master’s students are required to complete a conditional Plan of Graduate Work (POW) -- also known as Graduate Plan of Work (or Plan of Work) -- in consultation with their advisor/advisory committee by the time they have completed half of the credits required for the degree. The Plan of Graduate work is submitted online through MyPack Portal.

The final POW submitted to the Graduate School must be approved by two parties: 1) members of the advisory committee for programs with a required thesis, or the major professor for Option B students 2) the Director of the Graduate Program (DGP). The approved POW must be submitted electronically by the DGP to the Graduate School.

The latest that the final POW may be submitted to the Graduate School is when a student submits the Request for a Permit to Schedule the Master's Oral Examination or Request for Option B Graduation Checkout (see Master's Degree: Summary of Procedures, Section 3.8). Under certain circumstances, the Graduate School may request a POW earlier. If there is anything unusual about the POW that makes its timely approval doubtful, the DGP is strongly advised to submit it as early as possible.

B. Plans of Work for Doctoral Students
Doctoral students are required to complete an online POW in consultation with their advisory committee by the time they complete 18 hours of coursework. The final POW must be submitted to the Graduate School as early as reasonably possible, but at the latest when the student submits the Request to Schedule Oral Preliminary Examination. The final POW must be approved by members of the advisory committee and the Director of the Graduate Program (DGP).

When the DGP electronically submits a POW to the Graduate School, the Graduate School Records Unit will evaluate it and inform the program whether or not the POW meets all Graduate School degree requirements. The Graduate School will withhold approval of any doctoral student’s POW or Request to Schedule Oral Examination until all documents necessary to complete that student’s permanent file are received. If any materials are missing, the POW will be denied with the reason for the denial communicated to the DGP. Typical missing items include transcripts for post-secondary work still undertaken at the time the applicant was admitted to the graduate program.

C. Contents of Plans of Graduate Work
Whether optional or as part of the degree requirement, the POW must:

  1. include both a list of the course work to be undertaken (in all programs) and the thesis or dissertation topic (except in non-thesis master's programs);
  2. be developed by the student and his/her advisory committee;
  3. be approved by the committee and the DGP or Department Head prior to submission to the Graduate School for final approval; and
  4. be submitted prior to completion of one-half the total master's program or upon completion of 18 hours of a doctoral program.

D. Creating and Revising a Plan of Work
The POW must contain accurate information about any transfer credits to be used for the degree. Any request to include transfer credit should be submitted to the Graduate School prior to the start of the student’s graduate program or no later than before the end of the first semester. In addition, should there be any anticipated exceptions to registration policies that could affect the POW, the student must inform the DGP and Graduate School of these prior to the start of the graduate program, or no later than before the end of the first semester.

E. Annual Progress Evaluation
The Graduate School requires all graduate programs to complete an annual evaluation of progress toward degree for each graduate student. This evaluation process should involve the student, at least one academic advisor/committee chair, and the DGP. Each evaluation must include the following items:

  1. the student’s report of activities and achievements for the preceding year (e.g., courses, honors, milestones achieved, and professional development);
  2. the student’s own evaluation of his or her progress;
  3. an evaluative response to the student’s progress report by at least one faculty advisor/committee chair; and
  4. a completed POW (see POW requirements).

As part of each annual evaluation, the student’s major advisor should review the POW to evaluate progress and provide guidance as appropriate.