Graduation Guide

PNW graduate students must submit a Plan of Study to the Graduate School one semester prior to the semester in which they plan to graduate.


Developed by the student and the student’s advisory committee, the Plan of Study outlines the student’s courses and credit hours and reflects the courses required to earn the degree. The student is responsible for submitting the final Plan of Study to the Graduate School, one approved by the student’s academic advisor.

Plan of Study Generator (Click the Graduate School Tab of myPNW)


  • Each master’s degree Plan of Study consists of a primary area and one or more related areas. Both the primary area and the related area(s) are based on the relationship of the course content and not on the departmental course prefix.
  • In addition to coursework requirements, each student may need to complete a research requirement (thesis or directed project).
  • The development of the plan of study should begin as early as possible. However, graduate students will not have access to the Plan of Study generator until after they have completed their first semester as a degree-seeking student. The major professor (faculty advisor) or temporary advisor will discuss the student’s background, interests and degree objectives as part of the preparation for the first enrollment. The advisor will then suggest courses appropriate for the student’s interests. The major professor will also recommend possible related areas and advisors.
  • The Plan of Study must list all courses the student will take to meet the degree requirements. These include the names for the primary and related areas of study; the course number, course title and credits for each course; the date when the course was or will be completed; and the research area. The plan of study is signed by each member of the advisory committee and the student. After review by your program, the plan is then submitted to the Graduate School for formal approval.
  • Upon approval by the Graduate School, the Plan of Study becomes a contract among the student, the admitting program and the Graduate School. When all requirements of the plan of study are completed satisfactorily, the student is awarded the master’s degree.
  • You should periodically review the Plan of Study and the progress of its completion with your faculty advisor. After the Plan of Study is on file, committee and course changes can be made at any time up until graduation.
  • When using the Plan of Study, changes 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. These procedures all occur electronically.
  • It is important to remember that submitting a plan as draft simply makes it available to view by the Plan of Study Coordinator in a student’s department. A Plan of Study must be submitted as FINAL by the student in order for it begin the review and approval process.

Five-Year Rule

Course credits earned by a student whose graduate study and/or professional activity have been inactive for five years or more cannot be used on a plan of study for an advanced degree. A plan of study approved prior to such a period of inactivity is invalid. A preliminary examination passed prior to such a period of inactivity is invalid.

Readmission is granted by the dean of the Graduate School. The dean of the Graduate School will notify students who have been readmitted, and a copy of the readmission letter will be sent to the department.

Frequently Asked Questions

Check one and leave the additional course unchecked.

  1. Print a copy of your unofficial transcript and current schedule.
  2. Enter courses that are missing as Future Courses.
  3. Make sure the course numbers (not CRNs) and course names that you put in your Plan of Study match exactly what appears on your transcript.

Your committee must be entered with one chair and possibly two members, as required. The Plan of Study will not allow a chair and two co-chairs. Some departments require only one chair.

You will only see the names of Graduate Faculty members from your own department. The names of faculty from other departments are searchable. Students in ECE and ME may need to use IDE as a search.

When you have completed your Plan of Study, submit as FINAL.  Do not submit your plan as a draft.