Plan of Study
Each graduate student admitted to a degree program must file a Plan of Study (POS) starting after the second week of classes, for every degree. The initial POS must be submitted before the end of the 6th week of classes in your first semester, 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, with allowable coursework, and should be kept updated throughout your student career as things change.
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 do I create my plan of study?
- What are the approved applied math courses?
- What are the plan of study requirements for my degree?
- How do I transfer courses into my plan of study?
- How do I change my plan of study?
- Advisory Committee
- 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 (this is usually available after the second week of classes)
- 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.
- Technical Elective courses added to your POS must be graduate level (500- and 600-level courses), and technical and quantitative in content. All ME lecture-based courses are degree allowable. We provide a list of approved non-ME allowable courses and not allowable courses for your convenience, but these lists do not cover all courses offered at this point. If you have any concerns if a course will meet these requirements (e.g. if it’s not found on either list), 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 not-allowable courses for your own professional/personal development, but they will not count toward your degree requirements.)
- For programs that allow Independent Study credits, they are counted as technical electives, even when taken as a ME 597 or ME 697 independent study course.
- 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. If they are already on your POS, submit a change request to remove them as soon as you are given the conditional pass requirements. Your reason for removing the course, should state that the course is being used to meet a conditional pass requirement. (Courses taken to meet area exam waiver requirements, can be on your plan of study.)
- Only letter-graded courses that have been deemed allowable to meet ME degree requirements can be on a ME POS. Courses taken as audit, pass/no pass, satisfactory/unsatisfactory, or research credits cannot be added to a ME POS.
- Make sure to select courses that are offered at the Purdue West Lafayette campus. Do not select courses only offered at a regional campus as you will not be able to register in them. Make sure your course title, subject abbreviation and course number, match what is in the system (as it appears on your transcript), or your grades will not automatically pull in when completed. For example, use ‘MA’ as subject abbreviation for the math courses, not ‘MATH’
- 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.
- Student email should be your Purdue email.
- Degree Campus should be West Lafayette (Main Campus)
- Admitted Program should be Mechanical Engineering
- Degree title should be Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering (Thesis or Non-thesis) or Doctor of Philosophy
- Program should be Mech Engr-MS-ME or Mech Engr-PhD
- Date Degree Expected is an estimation of when you expect to complete all degree requirements
Concentration Area: for the majority of students, you will not complete this area. Only complete this area if you have applied through Slate, and have been accepted into a special concentration field by that program.
- Professional Master’s students will select ‘Professional Program in ME’ as the first concentration.
- Computational Interdisciplinary Graduate Program (CIGP) offers a concentration in Computational Science and Engineering (CSE). If the program is completed, the concentration will appear on your transcript; there is no diploma or certificate awarded. But, as with all concentration programs, you must apply and be admitted to the program, before listing it as a concentration on your POS. If admitted, please send a copy of your admittance email to email@example.com.
Research area should be chosen from one of ME’s fundamental areas below (not application areas); you should not put your thesis title. All non-thesis candidates can leave this area blank.
- Dynamics & Vibration
- Fluid Mechanics
- Heat & Mass Transfer
- Solid Mechanics
- Systems, Measurements & Controls
- Language Requirement: skip this part
- 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:
- Save the Plan as final (Master’s thesis and PhD students should already have discussed your course selection with your major professor/advisory committee.) Draft submissions will not be reviewed, as it’s assumed you’re still finalizing the details.
- The POS will be reviewed by the POS coordinator who will advise you of revisions adding supplemental notes and returning your POS for adjustments; or will move the POS forward in approvals.
- Once the POS is approved by the POS coordinator, it begins the full 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.
Different degrees (Master's thesis, Master's non-thesis, PMP 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, were taken during the senior year, and have grades of B or better. At most, 6 semester credit hours may be included in this manner, depending on the program. Only the credit hours, not the grade, will be counted. (This does not apply for students in the BS/MS program.)
A combination of dual (40000, 50000) and/or (50000/60000) level courses may be allowed on a Master’s POS; however, special circumstances must be involved – this is not just a way to add an undergraduate course to your plan of study. A combination satisfying the following rules will be allowed if supported by the student’s advisory committee and approved by the Grad Chair:
- The subject matter of the courses is to be substantially different from that of courses previously taken or planned at Purdue or elsewhere.
- Up to 6 credit hours of 40000 level courses will be applicable toward the credit hour requirements for the Master’s degree, but will need to be in combination with 500-level courses.
Any departure from rule 1 & 2 above, may be approved following a request to the ME Graduate 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, sent to firstname.lastname@example.org:
- A POS that is forwarded to the ME Graduate 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 and research.
- 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, AAE 590, or ME 697. (Please note: not all ME 597, AAE 590, or ME 697 courses are independent project coursework. If the 590/597/690/697 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 (cannot be an independent study course), but the other 3 could be from the approved applied math course listing.
Advisory committee should consist of at least 3 members: The Major Professor from ME, 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 allowable coursework, with at least 15 credits from ME, 6 credits of math (with 3 credits directly from the Math department; course will start with ‘MA’), and 9 credits of coursework from within or outside of ME (see Approved Non-ME Technical Elective list), 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 an ME 590/597/690/697 course is notated in the course listing to be a lecture type, and not independent study, it is allowed on the Plan of Study. All independent study credits are classified as technical electives, even if taken as ME 597 or ME 697.)
6 credit hours of math are required out of the 30, with at least 3 being from the Math department (cannot be an independent study course), but the other 3 could be from the approved applied math course listing.
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 if it meets the specialization option for your area of interest. All independent study credits are classified as technical electives, even if taken as ME 597 or ME 697.)
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 of Mechanical Engineering lecture-based courses
- 6 credit hours (technical electives) should be from Mechanical Engineering or other Science courses, and need to be 500- or 600- graduate-level, technical and quantitative. (Independent study credits are classified in this category.)
Prof. Nicole Key, associate head for graduate studies at ME, by default serves as PMP students’ committee chair. If you prefer to choose another faculty advisor, that faculty member should hold a “Regular Faculty” appointment at ME, and agree to serve as your advisory chair. You can use this PMP Worksheet to draft your POS.
POS Includes at least 21 new 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 (cannot be an independent study course); the other 3 can be from the approved applied math course listing. The mathematics requirement may be partially or fully satisfied by courses taken in the Master’s program, but DO NOT enter math courses used to meet your Master’s degree on your PhD POS; add a note as to which math credits are being used to satisfy the PhD requirement, from your Master’s coursework.
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 a Purdue West Lafayette, 3-credit, lecture-based course at the 60000-level, and cannot be a course that is also being used to meet the math requirements. Independent project courses (ex: ME 597 or ME 697, etc.) are limited to a maximum of 3 credit hours, and must not exceed 3 credit hours to be listed on the POS
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 which the conditional pass was set. Please notify the ME Grad Office, when the conditional pass has been met so your record can be updated upon Area Exam completion. If the conditional pass course was already listed on your POS, please submit a POS change request ASAP, to replace it on your POS with another allowable course. (Courses taken to meet area exam waiver requirements, can be listed on a PhD POS.)
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.
Your PhD research advisor needs to review your Master’s transcript and should enter the number of Master’s credits that meet ME’s allowability requirements on your PhD POS, when they review your POS for approval, in the ‘Total Master’s Credits Allowed on this Ph.D. Plan' box.
PhD Advisory Committee consists of at least 4 members: The Major Professor from ME, 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 graduate-level coursework (50000 or 60000 numbers) that are “technical and quantitative in content,” 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 (cannot be an independent study course); the other 3 can be from the approved applied math course listing. The mathematics requirement may be partially or fully satisfied by courses taken in the Master’s program. At least one of the courses must be a Purdue West Lafayette, 3-credit, lecture-based course at the 60000-level, and cannot be a course that is also being used to meet the math requirements.
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” (non-thesis) POS, and must not exceed 3 credit hours to be listed on the POS.
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 which the conditional pass was set. Please notify the ME Grad Office when the conditional pass has been met so your record can be updated upon Area Exam completion. If the conditional pass course was already listed on your POS, please submit a POS change request ASAP, to replace it on your POS with another allowable course. (Courses taken to meet area exam waiver requirements, can be listed on a PhD POS.)
Purdue offers various certificate programs that you might be able to complete with your same degree coursework, or just a little more. Only one is currently offered directly through ME, please direct any questions to the area offering them. Listed below are certificate programs available to ME students, if you follow the admission process and are accepted in the program:
- Graduate Certificate in Systems
- Graduate Certificate in Applied Statistics
- Hybrid Vehicle Systems Certificate (offered thru ME)
If we’re notified of any others, we’ll post the information on the ME Grad Blog.
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:
- All post baccalaureate and transfer courses used on the POS must have a grade B or better, been taken within the past few years, and not have been used to meet another degree requirement.
- All Master’s thesis students must complete a minimum of 15 credit hours of coursework after they are admitted to the graduate program in ME at Purdue, when approved to transfer in 6 credits from another institution.
- All Master’s non-thesis students must complete a minimum of 24 credit hours of coursework after they are admitted to the graduate program at Purdue, when approved to transfer in 6 credits from another institution.
- Courses taken during the semester when a student is admitted to degree-seeking status can be used as a part of the requirement above.
- A maximum of 6 semester credit hours of grad-level ME or Math graduate coursework may be transferred from another institution or degree awarding program, depending on the ME graduate program enrolled. Completed courses must have a B or better, not have been used toward another degree, and be approved by the Advisory Committee of the student and the Graduate Chair. Course description and syllabus from the institution, as well as the syllabus from the Purdue equivalent course for each transfer request, must be provided to email@example.com for review. Review happens once a semester, so submit requests early to get on the review list.
- Courses taken at a Purdue regional campus, are not “transfer” courses; they are Purdue courses and will already show up on your transcript. They will be included in your calculated GPA. Remember, that more than half of your courses, must be taken at the campus which is awarding the degree.
- 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.
Courses listed on the POS must be completed with grades of "C" or better before certification for graduation can be granted; your cumulative GPA must be minimum of 3.0 ("C-" or better and 2.85 minimum GPA if admitted before Summer 2022). 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, etc. Your POS should be kept current at all times. (Please note: Per ME policy, courses that have received a grade, cannot be removed from your POS.)
A course on the POS with a grade lower than "C" must be retaken. (lower than "C-" if admitted before Summer 2022)
Please note: Students originally in the combined BS/MS program, who left the program and were re-admitted, would have been re-admitted to the Master’s program (not the BS/MS program), and thus previous dual-credit courses would no longer be allowed to be used on the Master’s POS.
Any final 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, and candidacy registration has taken place.
ME Graduate Office
516 Northwestern Ave. (4th floor of Wang Hall)
West Lafayette, IN 47906
Virtual office hours available every Tues/Wed/Thurs