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 by 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, 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 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 (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.
  • Coursework 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 as 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 courses that don’t meet these requirements 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.
  • 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
  • Program should be Mech Engr-MS-ME
  • Date Degree Expected is an estimation of when you expect to complete all degree requirements
  • Non-thesis candidates can leave the Research area blank. Master’s thesis students should select a research area from one of ME’s official fundamental areas below (not one of the application areas). You should not put your thesis title.
  • Concentration Area: for the majority of students, you will not complete this area.  Only complete this area if you have applied through Slate, and been accepted into a special concentration field, by that program. If admitted, you need to send a copy of your acceptance email to so that it can be added to your file.
    • 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
  • 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: Online Master’s non-thesis students only need one Advisory Chair member for their advisory committee.  By default, this is the Grad Chair, Dr. Nicole Key, unless/until you make arrangements with another ME faculty to serve in this capacity.

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

  • 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.

Approved Applied Math Courses for the ME Plan of Study

Approved Non-ME Technical Elective Courses

Requirements for POS based on degree type

Different degrees (Master's thesis, Master's non-thesis) have different requirements for the plan of study. Since the ME Online Master’s degree is non-thesis, we’ll discuss those requirements only below.  If you change degree programs, please see the POS information listed in the on-campus section of this website.

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 (500- and 600-level) 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.  Only the credit hours, not the grade, will be counted. (This does not apply for students in the BS/MS program.)

Master’s Non-Thesis POS

POS should include 30 credit hours of technical and quantitative-in-content coursework, of which at most, six credit hours may be from independent project work (ex: ME 597, or ME 697, etc.).  (Most of the independent study courses you see listed in the catalog are closed to only specific students of that instructor; you would need to reach out to the ME faculty member to discuss if they have any independent study projects that would be open for you to participate and register.   If approved, please follow instructions on registering for independent 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.
  • 15 credit hours from ME (technical and quantitative in content).
  • 9 credit hours that are considered tech electives—these can be from within or from outside ME, but must meet the definition of technical and quantitative in content. (All independent study credits are classified as technical electives, even if taken as ME 597 or ME 697.)
  • Not allowable: you can take these grad-level classes for your own personal enrichment, but they will not count towards your degree requirements.

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.  The Grad Chair, Dr. Nicole Key, by default serves as your Advisory Chair, unless/until you arrange with another ME faculty member to serve in that capacity.  If that happens, you’ll submit a change to your POS to update your advisory committee chair.

Certificate Programs

Purdue offers various certificate programs that you might be able to complete with your same degree coursework, or just a little more.  None are currently offered directly through ME, so any questions should be directed to the area offering them.  Listed below are certificate programs available to ME online students, if you follow the admission process and are accepted in the program:

If we’re notified of any others, we’ll post the information on the ME Grad Blog.

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, been taken within the past few years, and not have been used to meet another degree requirement.
  2. 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.
  3. Courses taken during the semester when a student is admitted to degree-seeking status can be used as a part of the requirement above.
  4. 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 for review.  Review happens once a semester, so submit requests early to get on the review list.
  5. 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.
  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; 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)

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
(765) 494-5730
Virtual office hours available every Tues/Wed/Thurs