Program of Study

Program of Study

Students must submit a Program of Study for approval by the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies which will have been developed in consultation with the advisor. The Program of Study should be developed early in the second semester and submitted to the School of Graduate Studies.

The Program of Study is a listing of the courses and credits needed to meet the requirements for the degree and major (area of concentration). In addition to a major, some students elect to obtain a minor (a concentrated study in a specific supporting field) or to take courses in a cognate area (a selection of courses providing broad support to the major). The courses selected for the major, minor, and/or cognate must be included on the Program of Study. It is the student’s responsibility to know what the course and credit requirements are for their department. The student should consult with their advisor or the Graduate Director of their department when preparing their Program of Study.

The Program of Study will include academic coursework in one major department, as well as coursework from related departments, i.e., a minor or cognate. At least one-half of the work must be in the major field.

If transfer credits are to be included on the Program of Study, make sure they can be applied to the degree. Transfer courses must be listed on the Program of Study exactly as they appear on the transcript with the exception that quarter credits need to be converted into semester credits. For detailed information, refer to the Transfer of Graduate Credits section in the Graduate Catalog. 

All members of the student’s Advisory Committee must sign the Program of study. Some departments may allow the Program of Study to be submitted prior to selecting a committee. In these cases, only the advisor must sign the Program of Study. Contact the graduate program director with questions about the program's policy. The graduate program director is also required to sign all Program of Study forms prior to submission to the School of Graduate Studies. Changes to the Program of Study can be made by completing the change form found on the School of Graduate Studies Web page. After the all signatures are collected, the form should be submitted to the School of Graduate Studies for the Dean’s approval. Do not submit a new program of study, unless there are major changes.

Maximum and Minimum Academic Load

A full course load for a graduate student is 9 credit hours in a semester, including summer session. A graduate student may carry no more than 15 credit hours per semester, including the summer session without permission of the student’s advisor. Graduate Assistants must carry at least 6 credits each semester, including a summer session.

Minors and Cognates

Some degree programs require or permit academic work outside of the major field of study, which may be called a minor, (at least nine credit hours), or a cognate, (at least six credit hours). Credit hours earned towards a previously awarded degree or certificate cannot apply to a minor or cognate.

A minor is a concentrated study in a specific supporting field at the graduate level. A minor must be titled and identified on the student’s program of study and be approved by a Graduate Faculty member of the minor department/program. The minor will be listed on the student’s transcript, only if the minor has been approved by the State Board of Higher Education. Only courses approved for graduate credit may be included in a minor. If the student is doing a non-thesis option, the Graduate Director of the minor department must sign and approve the program of study. For students writing a thesis or dissertation, one of the student’s advisory committee members must be from the minor department.

A cognate is a selection of courses providing broad support to the major. All courses numbered 300 or above listed in this catalog, including those offered by departments or fields that do not offer graduate courses or graduate degrees, may be included in the cognate. Exceptions may apply to language courses where lower level courses may be allowed to fulfill cognate requirements. (Note: advanced approval of the program and graduate dean is required.) Courses should be taken in two or three departments or fields. A cognate area will not be titled and will not be listed on a student’s transcript. Courses from the student’s major cannot be used as a cognate area. Students wishing to pursue a cognate must fulfill all degree requirements for their program. Courses that are not approved for graduate credit cannot count towards the degree requirements, but may satisfy the cognate requirements.

NOTE: When a graduate student elects to take a 300 or 400 level course that has been approved for graduate credit or a 300 or 400 level course as part of their cognate, it is understood that the student will be required to do additional work of greater complexity, over and above that typically required of undergraduates. Usually, such work is of an independent nature.