Electronic Plan of Study - Online MSCE

All degree seeking graduate students are required to submit an electronic plan of study (EPOS) as soon as possible in their program. This EPOS serves as a contract between the student, their advisory committee, and the Graduate School. It lists the courses that the student expects to take for the degree program, the faculty members who will mentor them throughout their study and other key degree-related items.

The EPOS must be submitted and receive all departmental signatures by the end of your second semester if you are a full-time student. If you are a part-time student then your EPOS must be submitted by the end of your third semester of registration. Departmental signatures include the department’s Plan of Study Coordinator, the Head of the Graduate Program, and each member of the advisory committee. The Graduate School recommends that students submit their plan at least a month in advance of the start of the session it is due to ensure sufficient time for departmental review.

Advisory Committee

All MSCE students must have a three-person advisory committee. In the Lyles School of Civil Engineering, we have identified default advisory committee members to streamline the process of putting together a committee for online students. Students can choose to keep these default committee members or can select others.

Infrastructure, Resiliency and Sustainability:

  • Dr. Arun Prakash
  • Dr. Hubo Cai
  • Dr. Amit Varma

Smart Mobility:

  • Dr. Satish Ukkusuri
  • Dr. Yiheng Feng

Sustainable Water:

  • Dr. Ernest Blatchley
  • Dr. Venkatesh Merwade
  • Dr. Andrew Whelton

You can request that faculty members that you have taken courses with (either from Civil or from another department/school) serve on your committee. We suggest that you contact them via email to ask them to serve on your committee. Be sure to give them your draft list of courses and provide them with your educational goals.

Student Instructions

Before you begin, the Lyles School of Civil Engineering recommends that you meet with your advisor to discuss aspects of your plan, such as the courses that should be included, choosing your advisory committee, and any transfer courses to be used (if applicable). If you are not sure who to reach out to in the department, start with the department’s Graduate Program Administrator. Once you have an outline of the courses and committee, follow Steps 1-12 below to begin building your EPOS.

1.  Login to myPurdue using your Purdue career account credentials. Under the“Academics” tab, select the “Graduate School Plan of Study” link in the “Graduate Students” box.

2.  Login using your Purdue career account credentials.

3.  Click the “Plan of Study Generator” link.

4.  Select “Create New Plan of Study.”

Notes on Creating a New Plan

If you have a plan in “Saved” or “Draft” status, you should see an “Edit” link to the left of that plan. Please use that link to re-access the existing form rather than begin a new plan. Only one saved or draft plan can exist in the system at a time.

5.  Select the department that will be responsible for awarding this degree, choose your first session of study in this program, and enter your email address. Once all fields have been completed, select “Process and Continue.”

Explanation of Purdue’s Academic Calendar

The academic calendar at Purdue begins with the fall session. Fall 2021 should be entered as “Fall/2021-22.” Spring 2022 should be recorded as “Spring/2021-22” Summer 2022 as “Summer/2021-22.

6.  Select the degree for which this plan is being created, this is for a non-thesis degree, and choose your estimated date of degree completion. Once all fields have been completed, select “Process and Continue.”

“Degree Title” Field

The “Degree Title” drop-down will automatically display all degree options available within the department, regardless of your current classification. You should select "Master of Science in Civil Engineering: Non-Thesis."

Date Degree Expected

The date listed in the 3rd drop-down above is just an estimate. Though this date is helpful to those reviewing the form, students will not automatically be added as candidates in the session listed.

7.  This second “Process…” button creates the plan, and places it in “Saved” status. To adjust the information entered during Steps 5-6, select the first “Student and Degree Information” link.

Introduction to the “Home” Screen for Plans in “Saved” or “Draft” Status

7.1 The top “Student and Degree Information” link has a “check” to the left of it indicating that all required fields in this area have been entered. “Checks” are required in at least the first four main categories in order to submit the plan.

7.2 You can preview this plan by clicking the “Preview Plan of Study” link shown in the screenshot above. “Previewing” brings up the plan as department and Graduate School staff will see it when they are reviewing the form.

7.3 The “Graduate School’s Policies and Procedures Manual…” link at bottom of the page will open Section VII of the manual in a new tab. This section of the manual lists the key university-wide policies governing the content of graduate plans. Keep in mind that departments may set stricter requirements in any area. If your department has set higher standards for any section of the plan, you will need to abide by the policy established by the department.

8.  Click the “Research Area and Concentration” link (the second link shown in Step 7). In the research area, enter the interdisciplinary track you are pursuing, leave the language requirement field blank. When all required areas have been completed, click “Process and Continue.”

Introduction to the “Research Area and Concentration” Page

8.1 The “Research Area” is for entering your interdisciplinary track. (If desired) Ex: Infrastructure, Resiliency and Sustainability

8.2 Online Graduate students do not have a concentration and should leave this area blank.

8.3 Language requirement: Leave blank.

9.  Click the “Course Work” link (the third link shown in Step 7). Use one or more of the following four links to add the courses you expect to use exclusively for this degree. When all courses have been added, click “Process and Continue” to return to the main screen shown in Step 7.

Four Available Areas for Adding Coursework to a Plan

9.1 The “Courses currently being taken or those previously completed…” link will bring up a list of courses for which you have already registered. Check the “Use” box to include this on your plan, designate the “Area,” and check the “B or Better” box if your program requires at least a “B” in the course. When done, select “Process and Continue” to return to the main course page (depicted above). Generally, courses directly required by the degree program should be listed as “Primary” and elective courses should be listed as “Secondary.”

If a course you have taken or are currently enrolled in does not populate in this section, you can just manually enter the course as a Course to be taken in the future, using the instructions in section 9.3.

9.2 If you have courses to transfer from another institution to Purdue, select the second “Transfer courses…” link on the main course page. Transfer courses must be “B” or better equivalent, not used for a degree elsewhere, and graduate level. Courses should be added exactly as they appear on the transcript from that institution. When done, select “Process and Continue.” A maximum of six credits are eligible to transfer in.

9.3 Enter courses to be taken in the future at Purdue using the third “Courses to be taken in the future…” link on the main course page. Enter the information exactly as it will appear on the Purdue transcript. Once all courses have been added, select “Process and Continue.”

10.  Click the “Advisory Committee” link (the fourth link shown in Step 7). For each member of your committee, designate the participation level of that member in the first column, enter their department code and faculty ID, and then click “Add.” All committees require at least three members. Note: Unless you are utilizing a faculty member from the default list, found on the first page of this document, do not enter any information in this section until you have obtained agreement from a faculty member to serve on your committee.

Additional Explanation for Adding Committee Members to a Plan

10.1 Committees may have one person designated as “Chair,” or they may have two who are both designated as “Co-Chair.”

10.2 If the department or ID code are not known, use the search faculty search function at the bottom of this page to look up active faculty by department.

10.3 At least 51% of the committee must hold “R” level faculty certification levels. The “R” and “S” distinctions are noted in the “Certification Level” column above.

11.  If you have any notes that you would like to add to this plan (e.g. approved substitutions, or something unusual about your POS), click the “Comments and Special Notes” link shown in Step 7. Once the note has been added, click “Process and Continue.” This section will not apply for most students.

12.  Once there are “checks” in the boxes to the left of the first four links, the plan is eligible to be submitted as draft for department review.

Explanation of the Gray Buttons on the Home Page for “Saved” or “Draft” Plans

12.1 Click “Save without Submitting” to preserve the information entered for editing at a future time. Plans in “Saved” status may be accessed by either the student or plan of study coordinator.

12.2 Click the “Submit as Draft” button so the Graduate Program Administrator can review the plan while you still have direct access to make changes.

What happens next? The Graduate Program Administrator will review your POS and email you to let you know if any changes are needed or if you can submit the POS as final.

  • If changes are needed: Return to the POS generator, click edit, and make the necessarychanges. Then click Submit as Draft for it to be reviewed again
  • If no changes are needed and all components have been included: Return to the POSgenerator and click Submit as Final.

12.3 Click "Submit as Final.” This should only be done if you have approval from the CE Grad Office to do so. This button will submit the plan for signature. Students must submit their plan as “Final” and receive all department signatures on the form before the start of the session of anticipated graduation. For specific dates regarding graduation, see the Graduation Dates and Deadlines Calendar (Graduate School, 2017).

12.4 Selecting “Delete this Plan” will completely remove this plan from the system. Deleted plans cannot be re-accessed. If a new plan is needed, one will need to be initiated from the beginning.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How do I select a faculty advisor/committee member?

A: You can choose to use one or more of the default online committee members listed at the beginning of this document. Your faculty advisor can be an CE faculty member you have had as an instructor or who is in your focus area. Faculty who are teaching online courses can be a good choice for online students.

To identify faculty in each focus area, see the CE faculty directory and click the focus areas on the right under By Area of Interest.

Email the faculty member, identify yourself as an online MSCE student, and ask if they will serve as your faculty advisor/committee member.

Q: Can I change my POS?

A: Yes, you can update your POS in myPurdue if needed after the plan has been approved. You do not need to update your POS to account for changes in the semesters you intend to take courses.

Additional questions? Please contact Jenny Ricksy at jricksy@purdue.edu


Purdue University (2017). University Catalog: Policies & Procedures for Administering Graduate Student Programs. Retrieved June 2, 2017, from http://catalog.purdue.edu/content.php?catoid=8&navoid=8285.

Purdue University Graduate School (2017). Graduation Dates & Deadlines. Retrieved June 4, 2017, from http://www.purdue.edu/gradschool/about/calendar/deadlines.html.