Each student is expected to develop a plan of study to meet his/her professional and research interests and aspirations. The plan of study is developed in collaboration with each student’s major professor/advisor, and requires approval by the student’s personal graduate faculty committee. This page is intended to provide assistance for CIT graduate students and graduate faculty to develop and file the plan of study.
What is a Plan of Study?
A plan of study is an academic contract between a student and the faculty members of the student's graduate advisory committee, the CIT graduate program, and the Graduate School. The plan of study outlines the courses to be taken, any foreign language requirements, and the advisory committee membership for a student to obtain a specific degree objective with a specified area of specialization (if applicable).
Courses to NOT Include in Your Plan of Study
Each graduate student documents their plan of study in a university web application called the electronic Plan of Study (or ePOS). The ePOS must only include regular courses for which an A, B, or C grade will be earned. (Grades of D or F are not acceptable). The electronic Plan of Study must NOT include courses for which a satisfactory (S) or unsatisfactory (U) grade will be earned, even if those courses are required for the degree. For CIT graduate students, this means that you should not include the following courses in ePOS:
- CNIT 58100 or 59100 (the CIT Graduate Seminar)
- CNIT 59800 (the directed project course)
- CNIT 69800 (the thesis research course)
Plan of Study Process
- Recruit your graduate faculty advisory committee. This committee is required to approve your plan of study. The committee is composed of faculty members appropriate to your professional and research interests. For guidance on selecting your committee members, see Graduate Faculty Committee Guidelines (below).
- Develop your DRAFT plan of study with your faculty advisor. If you have not already done so, study the web page that describes Degree Requirements. You will need to distribute your credits across the Primary and Related Areas as described in those degree requirements.
- (Recommended) Review your draft plan of study with your graduate faculty committee. Eventually, your committee must unanimously approve your plan of study. This informal review can expedite the process. Informal reviews can be completed by email or meetings.
- Enter your plan of study into the Graduate School's Electronic Plan of Study (ePOS) system. Again, do not include the CIT graduate seminar, or your thesis/directed project courses (59800 or 69800) in your electronic plan of study.
- You must add a supplemental note called "Educational Intention". You are encouraged to add an additional supplemental note to describe your "Professional and/or Research Plans".
- With permission from your faculty advisor, formally submit your plan of study for electronic approval. Your graduate faculty committee must unanimously approve. And there are several subsequent approvals required; therefore, allow 10 working days for full approval. If any approver rejects your plan of study, you will be notified by email.
Selecting Your Graduate Faculty Committee
Each student must secure a graduate faculty committee consisting of at least three graduate faculty members. In most cases, the initial faculty advisor becomes the chair of the student’s committee; however, the student may recruit an alternate faculty member depending on his or her research and professional interests. The chair (also called ‘the major professor’) must be a graduate faculty member in the CIT program since that is the program from which the degree is to be earned. The chair must be certified by the Graduate School to serve in that capacity.
The student must recruit and secure at least two additional graduate faculty members to serve on your committee. Other than the chair, the remaining graduate faculty may come from any college or school in the university. Committee members should be chosen based on their potential to contribute appropriate knowledge, expertise and advice to the student’s thesis or directed project. Some students elect to have additional graduate faculty on their committee to cover areas of expertise that are important to their planned thesis or directed project.
Each graduate student is ultimately accountable for recruiting and securing the willingness of graduate faculty members to serve on their committee. This is important to the plan of study because all members of the student’s committee must approve that the plan of study is appropriate to the student’s professional and research goals. The committee membership must be recorded on the plan of study to begin the approval process.
Changing Your Plan of Study AFTER Approval
A plan of study can be revised after approval, and the process is simple and relatively quick. Some of the reasons why a previously approved plan of study might change include:
- a change of professional goals
- a change of research goals or topic
- new courses are needed for research or the directed project
- new graduate courses have become available and are relevant to professional or research goals
- previously approved courses will no longer be offered (or offered when when needed)
- Changing to a coursework only plan of study (requires CIT Program Chair pre-approval)
If the plan of study contains a course that the student will not be registering for, he/she should confer with the advisory committee and either replace the course or remove the course from the Approved plan. Modifying a plan of study can be accomplished by clicking on the Create Change Request link available next to an Approved plan of study. The Change Request link will initiate a Change Request form. If a plan of study is still in Outstanding status, and a course needs to be removed. The student should: 1) Request that someone who has not sign the electronic form, reject the form. The student can then modify the plan and resubmit. 2) Wait until the plan has gone through the approval process then click on the Create Change Request link and create a Change Request form.
Changes to a plan of study are initiated and approved through the ePOS system. The approval process is somewhat shorter.
Penalties for Filing Your Plan of Study Late
You are expected to file a plan of study by the end of your second semester of the plan of study. If you fail to do so, there is risk in completing coursework that your committee may ultimately reject. More importantly, there are university deadlines after which a monetary penalty will be assessed. At the time of this web page’s publication, a penalty of $200 is assessed if the plan of study has not been fully approved (at all levels) BEFORE the first day of classes of your final semester. Students should allow ten business days lead-time to secure all approvals.
At the time of this writing, there are no late penalties for revisions to a previously approved plan of study – even in the last semester of study.