Plan of Study

As a graduate student, you must submit a Plan of Study that lists the specific courses and any other requirements that you expect to complete toward your degree. The plan is initially approved by your Graduate Advisory Committee and later approved by the head of the ENE graduate program, the school dean (if requested by the school), and the dean of the Graduate School. 

Creating Your Plan of Study

Creating your Plan of Study is a two-part process. First, you will use a template to develop a preliminary Plan of Study that prepares you for consultations with your major professor and Graduate Advisory Committee. Second, you will use an electronic template to develop a formal Plan of Study for official record-keeping and approvals through the Graduate School.

Your Plan of Study should reflect:

  • Your minimum degree requirements. Note that these include the residency requirement, which specifies that at least one-third of the total credit hours used to satisfy the PhD degree requirements be earned while you are registered for doctoral study at Purdue.

  • Only grades of B- or better. Lower grades do not fulfill Plan of Study requirements.

  • No more than 12 total credit hours earned in post-baccalaureate, post-degree, teacher license, or graduate certificate status.

  • Up to 6 credit hours of ENE 590 (any additional credits must be approved by your committee).

  • Up to 3 credits from 300- or 400-level courses; grade of B- or better required

Your Plan of Study should not include:

  • Research credit hours. These are recorded on transcripts.

  • Courses taken as pass/not pass or satisfactory/unsatisfactory.

  • Course credits earned by a student whose graduate study and/or professional activity has been inactive for five or more years.


Plan of Study Milestones

Important milestones associated with the Plan of Study are identified in PhD Timeline and Milestones.

Note: You must have a Plan of Study on file to be considered a candidate for graduation.


Gaining Approval for Your Plan of Study

Different people review your Plan of Study at different points in the process. In your first semesters in the program, your major professor and Graduate Advisory Committee members typically use your Plan of Study to provide guidance on courses to take and other kinds of professional development experiences that will help you develop the ten ENE competencies and prepare you for the Readiness Assessment, Preliminary, and Final Thesis exams. When you are ready to undertake these exams, the Graduate Chair and Graduate Coordinator as well as the Graduate School will review and approve your draft Plan of Study. In your final term, a final Plan of Study will be routed for approval by all members of your committee, individuals who administer the ENE PhD program (Graduate Chair and Coordinator, School Head), and administrators from the Graduate School.

The Graduate Chair uses this checklist (PDF) for completeness and compliance to approve a Plan of Study. Familiarize yourself with the requirements to facilitate the approval process. 


Submitting Your Preliminary Plan of Study

Download and complete this template, which includes areas for identifying your committee members, your anticipated exam dates (Readiness, Preliminary, Final), and your plans for meeting the minimum course requirements.


Submitting Your Electronic Plan of Study

Follow these steps for creating and submitting an electronic Plan of Study. These steps include the process for identifying your advisory committee and chair.

Step 1. Log onto MyPurdue

  • Click on the Academics tab
  • Click on "Plan of Study Generator"

This will bring you to the Graduate School "Plan of Study Generator" main page. Several linked options are available:

  • Create a new Plan of Study
  • Update a saved Plan of Study or one submitted as draft
  • Display submitted forms (both Plan of Study and changes to Plan of Study)
  • Create or update a change request for current approved Plan of Study
  • Modify a rejected Plan of Study and resubmit

Step 2. Create a Plan of Study (POS) and enter Student and Degree Information

Click on the "create a new Plan of Study" link, which will take you to two separate pages to enter basic information (e.g., Student and Degree Information):

  • Campus - comes up automatically
  • Department - use the drop-down box
  • First semester of graduate study - date drop-downs
  • Email address - select the "Process and Continue" button to move on
  • Degree title drop-down box - make sure this is correct
  • Expected graduation date - more date drop-downs

Once you hit the "Process and Continue" button a second time, you will be taken to the "create a new Plan of Study main page." This page has several major links, most of which are represented as checkboxes. Note that the first checkbox, student and degree information, is already checked as completed. You can, however, go back and modify this information by clicking on the link. The checkbox links are:

  • Student and Degree Information
  • Research Project and Language Requirement
  • Coursework
  • Advisory Committee
  • Comments/Special Notes

Step 3.  Explore the Plan of Study main page

There are other important links on the page:

  • Engineering Education’s Plan of Study Guidelines and Requirements
  • Preview Plan of Study - can be used at any point in the process
  • Graduate School’s Policies and Procedures Manual, Section VII

Buttons at bottom of screen:

  • Help
  • Save without Submitting – Use this button to save at any time during the creation process. This is also the option to use if you have not completed the entire form.
  • Submit as Draft – Use this option when you are ready for the Graduate Office and your Graduate Advisory Committee to review your plan. Once you submit your plan as a draft, those who must eventually approve your plan will be notified via e-mail. In draft mode, you will be allowed to edit your Plan of Study.  This is the time to consult with your committee about your plan. IMPORTANT NOTE: Make sure you ask faculty to serve on your committee before they receive the e-mail notification.
  • Submit as Final – Submit your Plan of Study as final only after you have received approval from the Graduate Office and your Graduate Advisory Committee. At this stage, you will not be allowed to modify your plan; it is exclusively for approval process. The only way to change the plan is to have a committee member or the Graduate Coordinator reject it.
  • Delete this Plan (if POS hasn't been saved, it disappears)

Step 4.  Input Research Project and Language Requirement

Clicking on this link takes you to a page where several boxes appear for you to fill in information.

  • In the research area box, indicate your primary area (use a short description based on your engineering education research specialization)
  • Do not indicate anything under "Area of Specialization" or "Other" unless the Graduate Office tells you to do so. These spaces are only for approved specializations.
  • Language Requirement - Leave this blank. We do not have a language requirement.
  • Method to be used to meet requirement - Leave this blank.
  • Select "Process and Continue" when you are finished. You should be back to the "create a new Plan of Study main page."

Step 5.  Input Coursework

Click on the "Coursework" checkbox link. This will take you to a courses link page.

  • Click "Courses currently taken or those previously completed at Purdue University as a graduate student." This link takes you to a page where the courses you have already completed and those you are currently taking are displayed. On this screen, you will need to scan the listing of courses and click to do the following:
    • Indicate use - click if you intend to use the course on your Plan of Study
    • Indicate primary, related, or not applicable - all POS courses are either primary or related. PRIMARY should be used to indicate required courses (e.g., ENE courses).
    • Indicate B or better
    • When done, click "Process and Continue." This takes you back to the previous screen, and you can make you next course entry selections.
  • See "Transfer courses and courses taken as excess undergraduate credit"

    • This link takes you to a screen that allows you to enter transfer and excess undergraduate credit courses.
    • Note: The Graduate School no longer requires listing transfer courses from a prior master's. To document these on your Plan of Study, summarize the courses (name, grade, date, school) using a comment box (see later for details)
  • See "Courses to be taken in the future at Purdue University." This link takes you to a screen where you enter those courses you intend to take.
    • Under "Area" indicate primary or related (do not use "not applicable").
    • Use the drop-down box to indicate the subject abbreviation.
    • Type in the course number and credit hours in the appropriate column.
    • Type in course title.
    • Indicate registration type by using drop-down box: regular registration, non-degree registration, credit by exam, or other. In almost all instances, you will select the regular registration choice.
    • Use drop-down box to indicate semester to be completed.
    • Use buttons to indicate MODIFY, DELETE or ADD.
  • Once you have added all the courses you intend to take, click the "Process and Continue" button. If no errors are generated, you will be taken back to the page that has the course entry links.

Note that an on-line course catalog link has been provided at the top of the screen for your convenience.

Once you have finished entering your course information, click the "Process and Continue" button, which returns you to the "create a new Plan of Study main page."

Step 6.  Input Advisory Committee

Now click on the "Advisory Committee" checkbox link. This will take you to an advisory committee entry page. This page comes down in two screens: the top entry screen and the bottom faculty search screen

  • First go to the search screen. Use the drop-down menu to find our department (in alpha order). Highlight to bring it up, and then click the search button.
  • This will bring up the departmental listing of faculty in alpha order. Included in this listing is the department code (ENE) and a five-digit number called the faculty identifier. (C_ _ _ _ ).
  • Once you’ve found your first committee member (start with the chair), enter the department code and five-digit faculty identifier for that member. The name will automatically appear in the appropriate box. Keep doing this until your entire committee has been added. Then click the "Process and Continue" button. Note: You cannot have a chair and a co-chair; it’s either one chair or two co-chairs.
  • If you have a committee member from another Purdue department, you can use the same guidelines to search for the department and faculty identifiers.
  • If you (or your major professor) would like someone outside of Purdue University to be a member of your committee, that person must be specially certified to serve in this capacity. In this instance, ask to speak with the Graduate Coordinator in the Graduate Office.

Step 7.  Input Comments and Special Notes

The last checkbox is the "Comments and Special Notes" link. Clicking here allows you to provide a note of explanation about your plan. For ENE, use the comment box to summarize completion of course requirements and any transfer courses. 

Click on this link. A comment box will appear that you can type into:

  • For the first box, type in the courses that you are using to meet your “other engineering specialization.” Include the course number and department and a brief description of the specialization. You may list more than 9 credits (which is the minimum). When you are finished, click on the "Process and Continue" button to save your work and open another comment box.
  • For the next comment box, type in the courses that you are using to meet your “engineering education specialization.” Include the course number and department and a brief description of the specialization. You may list more than the minimum credits. When you are done, click on the "Process and Continue" button to save your work and open another comment box.
  • For the next comment box, type in the courses that you are using to meet your “research preparation and research elective.” Include the course number and department. When you are done, click on the "Process and Continue" button to save your work and open another comment box.
  • For the last comment box, summarize the courses (if any) you plan on using as transfer credits from your master's. Include the course number, department, term, credits, grade, and the name of the school where the courses were taken. When you are finished, click on the "Process and Continue" button to save your work. 
  • Note: (1) The maximum number of master’s credits to transfer is 30, (2) Purdue courses that are more than five years old may not be used on a Plan of Study, and (3) there are restrictions on transferring master’s credits. After you submit your POS for approval, your major professor must type in the number of credits to be used from your master's and click the box indicating that they have checked the accuracy of this number.

Step 8.  Preview and Save

You should be back to the "Create a Plan of Study" main page. Before continuing, view your entire Plan of Study to see if any changes need to be made. Clicking on the return button will bring you back to the main creation page with the checkbox links, and clicking on these links allows you to return to that section to make modifications.


Transferring Master's Credits to PhD Plan of Study

There are two ways to transfer up to 30 master’s credits to a PhD Plan of Study. Each has its own restrictions:

  • Transferring credits from Purdue: A master’s degree or professional doctoral degree may be considered to contribute up to 30 credit hours toward satisfying the PhD requirements. In the case of Purdue course credits earned by a student whose graduate study and/or professional activity has been inactive for five or more years, the student must petition their Advisory Committee to determine applicability of the courses.

  • Transferring credits from another accredited institution (non-Purdue): A master's degree or professional doctoral degree from any accredited institution may be considered to contribute up to 30 credit hours toward satisfying this requirement at the discretion of the student’s graduate advisory committee.  “The intent of this policy is to provide colleges/schools, departments, and a student's advisory committee with flexibility in determining what credits, up to a maximum of 30, earned from the master's or professional doctoral degree can be applied toward the PhD. These credit hours are not subject to the Five-Year Rule that prohibits the use of out-of-date coursework on plans of study."  Students may petition for courses older than five years to be approved for their Plan of Study. A student must prepare a document that demonstrates “currency” of course(s) (e.g., the topic remains current in the field) and maintenance of knowledge in that area. This document will be submitted to the student's major professor/committee for review and possible approval.

Note: Per the Purdue Graduate School, only credits associated with a grade of B- or better are eligible for transfer.

Last Updated: July 2022, POS Template