2.6 The Program of Study Committee and the POSC Form (MA)

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MA students establish their Program of Study Committee and submit the online Graduate College Program of Study and Committee (POSC) Form via their AccessPlus account along with the appropriate Degree Planning Sheet (DPS) and other required POS documentation by the announced deadline in the appropriate semester. The Graduate Program Staff Assistant will post the deadline on our Deadlines website (typically in the 6th week of the semester):

2nd semester of coursework for MA graduate assistants (GAs)
(upon completion of 9 POS credit hours after entry into the graduate program for non-GA MA graduate students)

2.6.1 Program of Study Committee (MA)

The MA Program of Study (POS) committee consists of at least three members of the graduate faculty. It must include two members, including the major professor, approved to represent your major as well as a third member approved to represent a major outside your major or field of emphasis. The committee must include member(s) from different fields of emphasis so as to ensure diversity of perspectives. The POS committee member from outside your 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.

Information about English Department Graduate Faculty members, their major areas which they can represent as major professors or as inside the major committee members, and their areas of research and teaching can be found in the Graduate Faculty Members section of this manual.

Selecting a committee

The POS committee is approved relatively early in your program (the second semester or equivalent—see above). Select members of your POS committee by talking to your assigned program adviser, your graduate instructors, and other graduate students to gather information. Your major professor’s primary responsibility will be supervising the development of your thesis or creative component. Talk to prospective major professors and 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. The POS committee can perform its several functions well only if you select your committee members in a timely manner.

How the committee works

Your POS committee will assess your educational background, review your professional and educational objectives, and evaluate your research. It will guide you as you complete your coursework and is responsible for approving the coursework in your program of study (POS).

The POS committee meets according to the needs and wishes of you and your major professor. At the MA 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.

2.6.2 Program of Study and Committee Form (POSC) and the Degree Planning Sheet (MA)

To meet Graduate College requirements and officially establish your committee and program of study coursework, you complete the online Program of Study and Committee Form (POSC) in your AccessPlus account and submit it for approval by your POS committee members, the DOGE, and the Graduate College. This form represents an agreement between you and the Graduate College on your academic preparation for an advanced degree, establishes your POS committee, and documents the courses you have taken and will take for your graduate degree. It is a vital document for your graduation. Therefore, it is important that you, your major professor, POS committee members, and the DOGE catch errors so those errors won’t delay your graduation.

Because this POSC Form has so many components and must be accurate, we require you to complete an internal, departmental tool—the Degree Planning Sheet (DPS)—that will help you prepare to enter an accurate POSC Form.

The Degree Planning Sheet (DPS) essentially serves as a preparatory tool for completing the online POSC Form. The DPS is structured in a table format that follows the outline of course requirements listed in the section for your degree program in this manual. The DPS helps you, your POS committee, and the DOGE ensure that you fulfill each of the required categories in your degree program. On this form, you also list the names of your POS committee members who have agreed to be on your committee.

You should finalize your DPS and complete other required POS documentation (e.g., POS waiver/substitution petitionprerequisite equivalency petitionexpired course petitionlanguage requirement form) with the help of your major professor. The first and most important check of the DPS and other POS documentation is the responsibility of your major professor. You should review these forms very carefully with them, checking to be sure that you fill in all the blanks and get all the necessary signatures.

You must submit printed originals of the DPS and POS documentation with required signatures (except for DOGE approval) to the Graduate Program Staff Assistant (englgrad@iastate.edu), and complete the online POSC Form by the announced deadline (second semester or equivalent). If your POSC includes expired courses, you must also complete the online Expired Course Petition.

Not meeting the announced deadline and/or not checking your documents carefully before turning them in may negatively impact your ability to register on time (see Advising/Registration Holds).

If you have an assistantship, you may receive a notice indicating unsatisfactory progress if you have not submitted your DPS, POS documentation, and POSC Form by the announced deadline in your second semester, excluding summers. A Letter of Intent for your next academic term/year will not be issued or your tuition scholarship applied until you have submitted and correctly completed your required forms.

2.6.3 Committee and Program of Study changes (MA): POSC modifications

Changing committee members

You may need to change the committee’s make-up if your research interests shift later or a committee member is no longer able to serve. Changes will depend upon

  • consent of the faculty member(s) to be added
  • agreement between you and your major professor
  • consent of the faculty member(s) being replaced
  • approval of the English Department’s DOGE

After your major professor and the faculty members to be added and replaced have consented to the change, tt is a courtesy for you to make POS committee changes official 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.

Changing your coursework

Once the DPS, necessary POS documentation, and the online POSC Form are approved by the DOGE, modifications can be made as necessary using the appropriate form(s) (i.e., transfer credit petitionPOS waiver/substitution petitionexpired course petition). New or revised English Department POS documentation must be submitted to the Graduate Program Staff Assistant, 227 Ross, to be approved by the DOGE. The POSC Form must be modified and resubmitted for approval in order to finalize the approval of any changes. Changes may be required by the Graduate College before you are allowed to graduate if coursework taken/taking does not agree with coursework listed on the most current approved POSC Form.

Changing your official POSC Form

You must make any changes to your approved POSC Form in your AccessPlus account.

  • Login to AccessPlus and go to your Grad Student Status page
  • Click on My POSC Form
  • Make changes as needed (click drop down menu for each item “Approved” for options to select such as “Drop” and “Add”)
  • Click the “Validate Form” button at the very bottom of the form  to see if the system finds any errors you need to fix (message in RED at the top)
  • Once everything is OK and no red message appears at the top, click the “Submit for Approval” button at the very bottom of the form to reroute it for approval of the changes
    (Note: changes must be approved by the Graduate College before a final oral examination is held)