Plan of Study

Each graduate student admitted to a degree program must file a Plan of Study (POS) starting after the first week of classes, for every degree.  The initial POS must be submitted before the end of your first semester of your graduate program, and approved before the second semester, or you will not be permitted to register for the second semester. The POS may be modified as necessary, after it is approved.

A plan of study is an academic contract among a student, the faculty members on the advisory committee, and the Graduate School, and guides a student’s academic progress.  All departmental and Graduate School policies related to the filing of a POS must be adhered to explicitly.


How to create your Plan of Study (POS)

  • Filing the plan of study is done electronically. Login to myPurdue with your Career Account user-id and password.
  • Under “Graduate Students” click on “Graduate School Plan of Study”
  • The Graduate School provides access to the POSG (Plan of Study Generator) through the “Graduate School Intranet Database” link.
  • A new browser window will open with the POSG login screen; login again with your Career Account user-id and password to proceed.
  • Click on the Plan of Study Generator link, then “Create new plan of study” link.
  • Refer to the “Help” buttons located on each page if you need assistance. You do not need to complete the entire form at one log in; you may save your plan of study and return to it later.
  • Coursework added to your POS must be graduate level, and technical and quantitative in content.  If you have any concerns if a course will meet these requirements, please check with the ME Grad Office prior to registering for the course.  Please provide course number/title/description/syllabus for review. (You can take courses that don’t meet these requirements for your own professional/personal development, but they will not count toward your degree requirements.)
  • Courses used to meet a conditional pass on a PhD qualifying exam should not be added to the POS, as they cannot be used to satisfy the minimum coursework requirement for the degree.
  • Please do not complete the column “B or better”, unless directed by your major professor.  Completing this column, means you have to receive a B or better, or the course will not count toward your degree requirements.

Completing Non-Course section

  • Enter your name and identification number as it appears in the admission letter.
  • Mechanical Engineering should be chosen for department.
  • Degree title should be MSME or PhD
  • Research area should be chosen from one of ME’s official areas below; you should not put your thesis title.  Non-thesis candidates can leave this area blank.
    • Acoustics & Noise Control
    • Bioengineering
    • Combustion, Energy Utilization & Thermodynamics
    • Design
    • Fluid Mechanics & Propulsion
    • Heat Transfer
    • Heating, Ventilating, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration
    • Manufacturing & Materials Processing
    • Mechanics & Vibration 
    • Nanotechnology
    • Robotics
    • Solid Mechanics
    • Systems, Measurements & Control
  • Concentration Area: for the majority of students, you will not complete this area.  You should not complete this, unless you have applied and been accepted to a special concentration field. 
  • Language Requirement: skip
  • Primary Area: Courses should have a reasonably close relation to the core subject.  For example, if the primary area is heat transfer it might include courses in heat transfer, mass transfer, fluid mechanics and thermodynamics.  Courses in the primary area can come from other departments other than ME.  A significant number of courses on the POS are expected to be from ME or directly related to it.
  • Related Area: Courses would be outside the primary area but still contribute significantly to the knowledge base of the student.  These courses may come from ME or from other departments.  A key determining factor for any graduate level course to be acceptable on a POS in ME is that it is “technical and quantitative in content”.  Approved Applied Math courses would be categorized as related.
  • Advisory Committee: Each committee can have one chair or two co-chairs.  An advisory committee cannot have a Chair and a Co-chair.

Once you have completed the plan of study and feel it is ready for review of your advisory committee:

  • Submit the Plan as draft; in draft this is the opportunity for your advisory committee to review the plan and for discussion about your academic and research goals and ensure that it satisfies department and Graduate School policies.  The electronic process does not, in any way, replace the personal communication needed between you and your advisory committee.
  • The draft POS will also be reviewed by the POS coordinator who will advise you of revisions or to submit it as ‘final’. DO NOT submit your POS as final until you have received approval from your advisory committee.  You should monitor your draft POS and watch the “supplemental notes” section for comments from the reviewer and make changes as requested, or submit as final, when directed.
  • Once the POS is submitted as final it begins the approval process and will be electronically routed, reviewed, and if approved, signed by the departmental POS coordinator, your advisory committee and the Graduate School.
  • You may check the status of your plan at any time by returning to the POSG and click on “View”.
  • Once the Graduate School has approved your plan of study, you should check it each semester to monitor your academic degree progress, and update as changes are made.

Approved applied math courses for the ME Plan of Study

MS programs require a minimum of six credit hours of applied math courses. At least 3 credit hours must be a MA 50000 or 60000 level course. Three credit hours may be from the list of approved applied math courses offered in other departments at Purdue, listed below.

D-PhD and PhD degree programs require a minimum of 9 credit hours of applied math courses, usually three courses. At least two courses must be MA 50000 or 60000 level courses; the other 3 credits can be from the list of approved applied math courses below. Math courses taken during the MS may be included as PhD applied math courses.

Approved Math Courses in ME

  • ME 58000 Nonlinear Engineering Systems
  • ME 58100 Numerical Methods in Mechanical Engineering
  • ME 59700 Data Analytics for Scientists and Engineers
  • ME 60800 Numerical Methods in Heat, Mass and Momentum Transfer
  • ME 61200 Continuum Mechanics
  • ME 61400 Computational Fluid Dynamics
  • ME 68100 Finite & Boundary Element Methods

Approved Math Courses from Other Schools

  • CE 59500 Finite Elements in Elasticity
  • CS 57700 Natural Language Processing
  • CS 57800 Statistical Machine Learning
  • ECE 60000 Random Variables and Signals
  • ECE 60200 Lumped System Theory
  • IE 69000 Stochastic Network Analysis
  • STAT 51100 Statistical Methods
  • STAT 51200 Applied Regression Analysis
  • STAT 51400 Design of Experiments
  • STAT 52200 Sampling & Survey Techniques
  • AAE 51200 Computational Aerodynamics
  • AAE 51600 Computational Fluid Mechanics
  • AAE 55300 Elasticity in Aerospace Engineering
  • AAE 55800 Finite Element Methods in Aerospace Structures
  • AAE 60300 Theoretical Methods in Engineering Science I
  • AAE 60400 Theoretical Methods in Engineering Science II
  • PHYS 570Q Stochastic Processes in Physics
  • PHYS 60000 Methods of Theoretical Physics I
  • PHYS 60100 Methods of Theoretical Physics II

These courses are NOT allowed on the Plan of Study to satisfy the Math requirement:

  • ME 56200 Kinematics
  • ME 57900 Fourier Methods in Digital Signal Processing
  • MSE 69700 Atomistic view of materials: Modeling & Simulations
  • STAT 50100 Experimental Statistics I
  • STAT 51300 Statistical Quality Control

Requirements for POS based on degree type

Different degrees (Master's thesis, Master's non-thesis, PhD, Direct PhD) have different requirements for the plan of study.

Note:  We highly recommend that you do not add more coursework then required by your degree program, unless directed by your major professor; at which point, please add a supplemental note on your POS so we are aware.  As the POS is an academic contract, if you add more than the required credit hours, you will be expected to complete those credit hours before your degree will be awarded.  You can take additional courses, we just ask that they not be added to the POS, unless directed by your major professor and a supplemental notation is added.

Graduate level courses taken during an undergraduate program at Purdue may be included on a POS, provided they were not used to meet baccalaureate degree requirements, taken during the senior year and have grades of B- or better.  At most twelve semester credit hours may be included in this manner.  Only the credit hours, not the grade, will be counted.

Master’s POS

A combination of dual (40000, 50000) and/or (50000/60000) level courses are allowed on a Master’s POS.  A combination satisfying the following rules will be allowed if supported by the student’s advisory committee:

  1. The subject matter of the courses is to be substantially different from that of courses previously taken or planned at Purdue or elsewhere.
  2. Up to 6 credit hours of 40000 level courses will be applicable toward the credit hour requirements for the Master’s degree.
  3. Any departure from rule 1 & 2 above, may be approved following a request to the advisory committee.  The student’s advisory committee must submit a written request to be approved by the ME Graduate Committee.  The request must include the following:
    • A POS that is forwarded to the advisory committee for that student.  If a POS is already on file, the modification involved must be indicated
    • An explanation of the relevance of the course to the student’s program.
    • The request from the advisory committee should allow for the student to adjust their schedule.

Master’s Thesis POS

POS should include at least 21 credit hours of coursework in addition to research credit hours.  Thesis-option MS POS’s cannot include independent project coursework from any department, such as ME 597 or ME 697. (Please note: not all ME 597 or ME 697 courses are independent project coursework.  If the 597/697 course is notated in the course listing to be a lecture type, and not independent study, it is allowed on the Plan of Study.)

6 credit hours of math are required out of the 21, with at least 3 being from the Math department, but the other 3 could be from the approved applied math course listing above.

Advisory committee should consist of at least 3 members:  The Major Professor, another professor who is interested in the student’s major field (usually from ME), and a third professor representing a related field (usually, but not necessarily, from outside ME).  For more details on the advisory committee, see Advisory Committee.

Master’s Non-Thesis POS

POS should include 30 credit hours of coursework, of which at most, six credit hours may be from independent project work such as ME 597 or ME 697. (Please note: not all ME 597 or ME 697 courses are independent project coursework.  If the 597/697 course is notated in the course listing to be a lecture type, and not independent study, it is allowed on the Plan of Study.)

6 credit hours of math are required out of the 30, with at least 3 being from the Math department, but the other 3 could be from the approved applied math course listing above.

One faculty member (from ME) who hold a “Regular Faculty” appointment is required for the advisory committee.  The faculty member will act as the student’s major professor.  (Additional faculty members can be added to the POS, if desired.)

Master’s Non-Thesis POS (for Professional Master's students)

POS should include 30 credit hours of coursework, of which at most, six credit hours may be from independent project work such as ME 597. (Please note: not all ME 597 courses are independent project coursework.  If the 597 course is notated in the course listing to be a lecture type, and not independent study, it is allowed on the Plan of Study.)

See https://engineering.purdue.edu/ME/Graduate/Prospective/ProfessionalMasters, for the specific course listings that you can choose from in the various categories below to meet PMP degree requirements:

  • 3 credit hours of math
  • 9 credit hours of professional development
  • 12 credit hours taken in your specialization area
  • 6 credit hours should be from Mechanical Engineering or related, and need to be graduate-level, technical and quantitative.

One faculty member (from ME) who holds a “Regular Faculty” appointment is required for the advisory committee.  The faculty member will act as the student’s major professor.  (Additional faculty members can be added to the POS, if desired.)

PhD POS

POS Includes at least 21 credit hours beyond the Master’s degree.  At least 90 course and research credit hours, including at most 30 credit hours from the Master’s degree are required for graduation.  At least 9 credit hours of math are required, with at least 6 credit hours from the Math department; the other 3 can be from the approved applied math course listing above.  The mathematics requirement may be partially or fully satisfied by courses taken in the Master’s program.

Only graduate level courses (50000 or 60000 numbers) that are “technical and quantitative in content” may be listed on a PhD POS.  At least one of the courses must be at the 60000-level.  Independent project courses (ex: ME 597 or ME 697, etc.) are limited to a maximum of 3 credit hours.

Note:  Courses taken to satisfy a conditional pass requirement of a PhD area exam may not be used toward the minimum POS coursework requirement for the degree, and should not be added to a POS.  These courses must be taken as soon as possible after the area exam in with the conditional pass was set.  Please notify the ME Grad Office, when the conditional pass has been met so your record can be updated.

You and your Major Professor may decide that additional courses not listed on the POS should be taken to strengthen your background in a particular area. 

PhD Advisory Committee consists of at least 4 members:  The Major Professor, two other professors who are interested in the student’s major field (usually from ME), and a fourth professor representing a related area and required to be from outside ME.  For more details on the advisory committee, especially for IUPUI-West Lafayette Cooperative PhD students, see Advisory Committee.

Students in the Cooperative PhD program with IUPUI, must include at least 4 courses (12 credit hours) on the POS that originate from the Purdue West Lafayette campus.

Direct PhD POS

POS includes a minimum of 36 credit hours of coursework in addition to thesis research credit hours.  At least 9 credit hours of math are required, with at least 6 credit hours from the Math department; the other 3 can be from the approved applied math course listing above.  The mathematics requirement may be partially or fully satisfied by courses taken in the Master’s program.

Note:  Independent project courses (ex: ME 597 or ME 697, etc.) are limited to a maximum of 3 credit hours, between your D-PhD POS and a “Master’s along-the-way” POS.


Transfer courses to your POS

Approved Transfer courses placed on the POS receive the credit, but the grade is not calculated into the GPA. The following rules apply for post baccalaureate or transfer courses on the POS:

  1. All post baccalaureate and transfer courses used on the POS must have a grade B or better.
  2. All Master’s thesis students must complete a minimum of 9 credit hours of coursework after they are admitted to the graduate program in ME at Purdue.
  3. All Master’s non-thesis students must complete a minimum of 18 credit hours of coursework after they are admitted to the graduate program at Purdue.
  4. Courses taken during the semester when a student is admitted to degree-seeking status can be used as a part of the requirement above.
  5. A maximum of 12 semester credit hours of graduate coursework may be transferred from another institution or degree awarding program.  Completed courses must have a B or better and be approved by the Advisory Committee of the student and the Graduate Chair. 
  6. The Grad School has final approval on the transfer request.  If approved, the credit hours of the transfer courses are not recorded on the Purdue transcript until the course is listed on the approved POS and the official transcript from the institution has been accepted at Purdue.

Changes to the POS

Courses listed on the POS must be completed with grades of "C-" or better before certification for graduation can be granted.  Changes to the POS are completed through myPurdue.  You can submit a change to your POS for changes in advisory committee members, delete/add courses, or change the choice of Master’s non-thesis or thesis options.

A course on the POS with a grade lower than "C-" must be retaken.

Any changes required in the POS must be made before the end of the second week of classes of the semester in which the degree is expected.
 


 

ME Graduate Office
585 Purdue Mall (Room 1003)
West Lafayette, IN 47907
MEgradoffice@purdue.edu
(765) 494-5730