Frequently Asked Questions

For more details on the Program of Study, as well as other important University level requirements, please go to the Graduate School's website.

Defending soon? Need to find a CGR Representative for your committee? Filling out a program of study? Need to schedule an exam? Use these forms that are relevant to graduate school processes.


When should I complete and submit my program of study?

“M.S. students entering in the fall should file a program by the end of winter term. Ph.D students entering with a bachelor's degree have 5 terms to file a program.” -BPP Handbook

This is not necessarily true. All graduate committees and graduate student advisors have different expectations for when committees should be formed, meet, and approve of a program of study. This should be an open conversation between students and graduate advisors. But sooner is always better than later and be aware that the graduate school requires this document on file, complete, and signed XXX days before graduation.

What is a blanket credit?

A “blanket” credit is received after completing a course coded 50X or 60X from any department. These are usually 1 credit courses in professional development, orientation, or seminar. Both MS and PhD programs have a maximum number of blanket courses that can be included on programs of study. Thesis and Research courses which are coded 50X or 60X DO NOT COUNT AS blanket courses.

What is the difference between a blanket credit and a regular credit?

Regular credits are non-blanket courses from any department. For example, 525, 547, or 561 are all non-blanket courses. Both MS and PhD programs have a minimum number of regular courses that are required to appear on programs of study.

More than half of the required number of regular credits should be graduate stand alone. These can be gained by completing a course that does not have an undergraduate equivalent.

Slash or undergraduate equivalent courses must not account for more than half of the minimum number of regular courses for a program of study. Undergraduate equivalent courses are common and are coded this way: STAT 411/511.

How can I be sure that a the credits from a course meet the requirement as graduate stand alone credits (is a non-slash course)? 

Every course available on campus appear in the Course Catalog where each course has its own page and a table that lists course details such as title, instructor, term, meeting time, and meeting place. In this table there is also a ‘comments’ field. If this field is empty for a graduate course (500 or 600 level), this usually means that this course meets the graduate stand alone requirement. This field may read, “Does not meet the Graduate Stand Alone Requirement,” which indicates that it is a slash course or a course with an undergraduate equivalent. Occasionally, the comments field will be empty although the course has an undergraduate equivalent. Any course that has an undergraduate equivalent does not meet the requirements as a graduate stand alone.

How many credits should be included on my program of study? 

All master’s degree programs require a minimum of 45 graduate credits including thesis (6 to 12 credits), research-in-lieu-of-thesis (3 to 6 credits), or an integrative capstone experience (3 to 6 credits).. Programs of study are binding contracts and any credits or courses included must be completed (changes can be made but should be avoided). 

All doctoral degree programs require a minimum of 108 graduate credits and should include:

  • At least 36 graduate credits should be devoted to the preparation of the thesis.
  • A minimum of 27 regular, non-blanket credits must be included on program of study. (Courses without a zero in the middle, for example 503). No more than 15 credits of blanket-numbered courses, other than thesis, may be included in the minimum 108-credit program.
  • All graduate student programs of study must consist of, at a minimum, 50 percent graduate stand-alone courses.
  • The remaining credits may be the 500 component of 400/500 slash courses.
  • If a minor is declared, it must consist of at least 18 credits or 15 credits for an integrated minor.

***For additional details, read the Graduate School's webpage for Master's level students and for Doctoral level students.