Preparing a Program of Study for Master's Degrees

Every master's student must file a Program of Study (POS) with the Graduate School. This program is a formal list of courses the student intends to complete to fulfill the requirements of the degree and should consist solely of courses directly related to the master's degree.

Full-time students must file their programs before the end of their second semester of graduate study, and part-time students must do so upon the completion of 9 credit hours.

A student should prepare the program of study in consultation with the major professor and supervisory committee. The program must be approved by all committee members and the head of the academic unit. It is then submitted for approval to the Dean of the Graduate School.

Program of Study Guidelines

These guidelines should be followed when preparing a program of study:

  1. A minimum of 30 hours is required for a master's degree at K-State. Some programs require more.

  2. Course titles, curriculum codes, course numbers, credit hours, and semester taken should be listed on the program of study exactly as they appear on the transcript. Credits that were earned more than six years prior to the semester in which the program of study is approved cannot be accepted. Research hours should be listed as a total, not by semester.

  3. Note carefully the minimum and/or maximum number of research hours required by your degree option.

         Master's report        2 hours
         Master's thesis        6-8 hours

  4. No course in the student's major area may be at the 500 level. The use of 500-level supporting courses is restricted to 6 credit hours.

  5. Only 3 hours of problems or other individualized courses (such as Readings) may be applied towards a master's degree with a 30-hour program of study.
  6. Courses designated as deficiencies at the time of admission cannot be used on a program of study. (Refer to the admission letter sent to you by the Graduate School for deficiencies designated by the department.)

  7. Of the 30 to 32 credit hours normally required for the master's program of study, at least 18 hours should be at the 700 level and above, including the research hours required by the thesis and report options.
  8. Normally, ten (10) hours of graduate course work from an accredited university may be included as transfer credit on the program of study, provided they were not part of another degree. The Graduate School may grant exceptions to this limit when justified by inter-institutional collaborations. Transfer courses must be graded A or B and must not have been taken more than six years prior to the semester that the program is approved.  If a transfer course is to be taken in the future, the semester should be noted on the program of study. Official transcripts that show the courses and grades for transfer credit must be on file in the Graduate School. Final approval of the program of study cannot be determined until all transcripts are received.

  9. Students pursuing a second master's degree may apply up to 6 hours of credit from the first master's degree to the program of the second.
  10. If any course work on the program of study is more than six years old at the time of the final examination, the examination will normally include a section covering material relevant to the outdated courses.
  11. If changes need to be made to a program of study or the committee after being approved by the Graduate School, please submit a Program/Committee change form. Unless there are extensive changes, a new revised program does not have to be submitted.

The Graduate Handbook also contains information about programs of study and other requirements for graduate study at Kansas State.

All forms requested by the Graduate School are also available in the departments and in the Graduate School (Fairchild 103).

Avoiding Problems

When your program of study cannot be approved, either because it violates Graduate Council guidelines or because you have not satisfied certain prerequisites, both you and your committee are confronted by delays and extra work. In an effort to help you avoid such problems we have listed below some of the more common reasons programs are returned

  1. A course listed may not have been taken for graduate credit; It may not have an incomplete or grade below a C; It is more than 6 years old.
  2. There are too many credit hours of problems or other individualized study courses listed. A 30-hour master's program may include 3 such hours.

  3. The POS fails to meet the rule that 18 hours must be at the 700-level or higher for a master's degree.
  4. The POS includes deficiency courses.
  5. Courses listed do not match those appearing on the student's transcript. Course titles, numbers, curriculum codes, and credit hours should appear exactly as they appear on the transcript.
  6. All signatures of the student, supervisory committee, the department head, or group chairperson have not been obtained; or a committee member has not been appointed to Graduate Faculty.
  7. The Graduate School has not received official transcripts for all transfer courses, or such transcripts indicate that the courses in question do not qualify for transfer credit.
  8. There is no indication on the program of study if research activities involve the use of human subjects, radioactive materials, live vertebrates, or biohazardous materials.