POS: The Committee and the Forms (M.A.)
The M.A. Program of Study (POS) committee consists of at least three members of the graduate faculty.
Program of Study committee
The M.A. Program of Study (POS) committee consists of at least three members of the graduate faculty. It must include two members, including the major professor, from the major or program. The committee must include member(s) from different fields of emphasis so as to ensure diversity of perspectives. The POS committee member from outside the student’s field of emphasis is to provide relevant specialized knowledge or a different perspective helpful to the planning, execution, and reporting of research, or some aspect of intellectual diversity deemed important by the committee and/or major. (See committee make-up for co-majors.) Information about English Department graduate faculty and their areas of research and teaching can be found in the Graduate Faculty section of this manual. A list of former outside committee members from faculty outside the English Department is also available in the Graduate Faculty of this manual (N.B. this list is not updated).
The POS committee is formed relatively early in your graduate program. To meet Graduate College requirements, you will need to file the Recommendation for Committee Appointment form (see below) by the deadline in your second semester in the program, before you register for your third semester of classes. You will need to select your committee members before this deadline in order to avoid receiving a hold on your registration for your third semester.
Your POS committee will assess your educational background, review your professional and educational objectives, and approve your POS form. The committee will also guide you as you complete your course work, and it will evaluate your research.
Selecting a committee
Selecting members of the POS committee is similar to the process for choosing your major professor. Talk to your program adviser, your graduate instructors, and other graduate students to gather information. Talk to prospective committee members before asking for a commitment. Discuss your research interests, their availability, and their willingness to serve on your committee. If possible, provide a brief written description of your potential research interests.
Recommendation for Committee Appointment form
When your committee members have agreed to serve, download a Recommendation for Committee Appointment form from the Graduate College forms page. Obtain each committee member's signature on the form and submit it to the Graduate English Office for approval by the Director of Graduate Education (DOGE). This completed form is due for approval by the deadline in your second semester in the M.A. program.
How the committee works
The POS committee meets according to the needs and wishes of you and your major professor. At the M.A. level, it is likely that the POS committee will meet once to discuss your POS and your prospectus for the thesis or creative component and once to conduct your final oral examination. The committee may convene on other occasions as necessary or desirable.
Remember that the POS committee can perform its several functions well only if you select your committee members in a timely manner (by the required deadline).
Changing committee members
Because we ask you to select a committee so early in your program, you may need to change the committee’s make-up if your research interests shift later. Remember that filing your committee appointment form does not commit you for life; you can readily make changes. Changes will depend upon
After the faculty members to be added and replaced have consented to the change, download a Request to Change Committee Appointment form from the Graduate College forms page. Signatures must be obtained from your major professor and all committee members involved in the change. You must submit it to the Graduate English Office for approval by the Director of Graduate Education (DOGE). Changes must be approved by the Graduate College Dean before the final oral examination is held.
It is a courtesy for you to make POS committee changes as soon as you know they are necessary, and certainly before faculty have performed large amounts of consulting and editing for you. Making changes promptly allows faculty to shift their time to other students seeking their input.
Program of Study form
The Program of Study (POS) form represents an agreement between you and the Graduate College on your academic preparation for an advanced degree. It lists the courses you have taken and will take for your graduate degree. This completed form is due for approval by the beginning of the sixth week of your second semester in the M.A. program. Your POS form should be easy to complete as it will simply replicate or make minimal changes to the line-up of courses approved on your Degree Planning Sheet.
Notice that courses taken as a graduate student that are not graduate credits (like undergraduate courses required by a POS committee to make up for background deficiencies) are designated as "Z" courses on the form. Graduate courses taken at another university are designated as "TR" courses, and ISU graduate courses taken as an ISU undergraduate are designated as "U" courses. If you have transfer credits on your POS, you need to submit with your POS form a copy of your approved Transfer Credit Petition with copies of transcripts for those courses (a Graduate College requirement). Copies of the approved Degree Planning Sheet, POS waivers/equivalencies memos, over-age course memos, and a Language Requirement Form if applicable (see Language requirements) should be attached.
You should complete the POS form with the help of your major professor, and the advice and consent of your POS committee. Because your POS form is a vital document for your graduation, the various check points help catch errors before those errors delay your graduation.
The first and most important check of the POS form occurs when you meet with your major professor to discuss your POS and get his/her signature on your POS form. To avoid a registration hold for your third semester, you should fill out the POS form very carefully with your major professor, checking to be sure that you fill in all the blanks and get all the necessary signatures, including your own. Then submit the form to the Graduate English Office by the required deadline. In the past semesters approximately 85% of POS forms have been returned to students because of errors that might have been caught by either the student or the major professor during the first POS check. Not checking your own form carefully before turning it in may negatively impact your ability to register on time.
Once approved by the Graduate College, changes can be made by filing the Modifications to the Program of Study form.