As you can see from the directions below, you will be responsible for initiating many of the forms required by the college and university. The University and College are moving toward web-based form completion and submission systems, but we are not there yet.
Wherever indicated, you will be responsible for downloading, filling out -- by typing names and information in the appropriate text boxes, and printing -- and then circulating these forms for signatures. No longer will handwritten forms be allowed. For the most part, the only entries that will be handwritten will be signatures and dates (and university policy requires signatures to be written in blue ink only). In conjunction with your advisor, you need to make certain that the information is complete and accurate.
The forms will require you to identify yourself in several ways: your name, your PID, your program name, and your program code. It is essential that you provide this information accurately. If you have any question about the name of your program, or your active program code, go to your STUINFO page and select “Major(s) by Term.” You will see your current program name and code. Do not bother your program staff with this question; it is your responsibility to know this information. If you thought that you were in a different program than what you see in STUINFO, you should immediately contact the Registrar to straighten this out.
For advanced (Ph.D. and Ed.D.) graduate students, you and your advisor need to make certain that your Guidance and Dissertation Committees include at least four faculty members who are eligible to serve, per University policy (https://reg.msu.edu/AcademicPrograms/Text.aspx?Section=111#s394), before entering names into the text boxes and printing the document for signatures or entering them in electronic systems. Submitting forms with ineligible committee members will significantly delay the processing of your program paperwork, and in the most extreme cases, can hold up graduation.
Before printing, you should also do everything to ensure that the form consists of a single page, with all relevant information included; you may reduce font size if necessary and use page reduction features, but leave the form in the same structure as you find it on this website.
The following forms have been placed in sequential order -- by program level -- and reflect a typical student's progress through the degree program. Some of the forms will not be used by all students, such as the Project Agreement Form.
Forms for Master's Students
Changes in Advisor: Student Initiated
Student downloads, completes electronically, and prints before securing signatures; no handwritten forms: handwritten signatures, in blue ink only.
Change of Advisor (prior to formation of Guidance Committee)
Doctoral students who want to change their temporary advisor prior to the formation of a Guidance Committee, can do so with the acknowledgement of both the outgoing and new advisor, using this form. Students are required by the end of their second year of doctoral student, to form a guidance committee and enter a program plan into the GradPlan system. If a student is close to guidance committee formation, this form is not required. Use GradPlan to enter your committee and program plan. Student downloads, completes electronically, and prints before securing signatures; no handwritten forms: handwritten signatures, in blue ink only.
GradPlan: Guidance Committee membership & Ph.D. Degree Plan (program plan)
GradPlan (gradplan.msu.edu) is the portal for PhD students to create their Guidance Committee Membershp roster and their PhD degree plan. GradPlan usage is mandatory for PhD students who started their doctoral program in Fall 2010.
For students who entered before Fall 2010, and prefer to use the paper process, please use the following Forms.
Guidance Committee Membership
Doctoral guidance committees should be formed at the end of the first year or beginning of the second year and entered in GradPlan no later than your third semester. The guidance committee will consist of at least four Michigan State University regular faculty, at least three of whom, including the committee chairperson, possess an earned doctoral degree, preferably of the same type that the student is seeking (for example, Ph.D.). The “regular faculty” of Michigan State University shall consist of all persons appointed under the rules of tenure and holding the rank of professor, associate professor, assistant professor, or instructor, and persons appointed as librarians. In addition, the principal administrative officer of each major educational and research unit of the university shall be a member of the “regular faculty.”
To verify the eligibility of each prospective committee member, you (student), will need to test each member to your committee inside of GradPlan by trying to add them. If you find the system does not recognize someone you want on your committee as eligible at this point, please send an e-mail to your Program Secretary requesting that he/she review the “Approved Non-Regular Committee Members” list found in GradInfo for your proposed faculty member. If the desired member is not present on the list, you can petition the Graduate School for the permission for them to serve.
Your Program, Department, and the College must first endorse the petition before it will be forwarded to the Graduate School for final approval. Not all committee members need to be tenure-stream MSU faculty members, but those from outside the current MSU tenure system must be approved to serve. This includes faculty members employed elsewhere, previous MSU faculty members who have moved to other institutions, retired MSU faculty, and fixed-term faculty members at MSU. Graduate School approval is necessary to enable non-regular tenure-stream committee members to access the GradPlan system, through which they review, comment upon, and approve changes or benchmarks in their students’ programs.
There are five categories of potential committee members not currently on the MSU tenure-stream faculty. The petition process varies depending on the individual’s status.
External Committee Member
Departed MSU Tenure Stream Faculty Member (to another institution)
Departing MSU Tenure Stream Faculty Member
Emeritus Committee Member (Retired)
Fixed-Term MSU Faculty Member
1. External Committee Member Approval
Faculty members external to MSU require a full formal review and approval. This is the most complicated in terms of process, but final approvals go smoothly.
The Graduate School's procedure for seeking permission for this group is as follows:
Obtain a copy of the non-approved faculty member's Vita (must be attached to an e-mail).
Obtain a letter from the non-approved faculty member summarizing his/her background and qualifications to serve as a member of a graduate student committee.
Obtain two letters of reference for the non-approved faculty member that speak to the individual’s qualifications to serve on graduate student committees. One letter may be from an MSU faculty member, but at least one letter must be from an external source.
Craft an e-mail to your Guidance Committee Chairperson requesting permission for the non-approved faculty member to serve. The message must include a brief summary outlining what the additional member has to offer in terms of knowledge and expertise that warrants the addition of an external member. Be sure to attach his/her Vita and both reference letters to the e-mail request.
Your Guidance Committee Chairperson evaluates your request to ensure that the outside member is the best fit for your academic program. The e-mail needs to address why this person is a good fit for the student's committee and forwards the e-mail to your Program Coordinator, for program approval.
Your Program Coordinator adds their support and a second, internal, very brief, reference statement for the person to serve. They need to include whether the external faculty member will only serve the student submitting the request or whether they should be allowed to serve on other students' committees in the program. They need to forward the complete e-mail chain on to the Department Chair, for department approval.
The Department Chair should further determine whether the faculty member should be allowed to serve on department-wide doctoral committees. The Chair needs to add their very brief statement of support and forward the entire e-mail chain, with vita and reference letters still attached to Associate Dean Michael Sedlak.
Associate Dean Sedlak will review the entire chain and add the College's support, before forwarding the request on to the Graduate School Dean for final approval. When approved, the prospective committee member's name will be added to the "eligible" list in GradInfo, and the new member must create a CommunityID to gain access to the proper systems.
2. Departing MSU Tenure Stream Faculty Member Approval (non-retired, non-emeritus)
Faculty members who have already left MSU go through an abbreviated approval process. The student initiates the request, as they do for external potential members. But the email request needs to define which role the departed MSU faculty member will serve on the committee (Chairperson, Dissertation Director, or Member) and should be accompanied only by an updated version of the faculty member’s Vita. The third-party reference letter is not required.
The email request should go first to the Chairperson of the student’s Guidance Committee, who reviews and approves the request and forwards the complete chain to the Program Coordinator, who approves the request but adds a statement indicating whether the proposed faculty member would be eligible to serve only on the initiating student’s committee, or whether the Program wants the individual to serve on other program committees as well.
The Coordinator then forwards the entire endorsed email to the Department Chair, who approves the request and stipulates further about the areas in which the new member can serve. The Chair forwards everything to Associate Dean Michael Sedlak, who sends the entire chain with the College’s endorsement to the Dean of the Graduate School for final approval.
When approved, the prospective committee member's name will be added to the "eligible" list in GradInfo, and the new member must create a CommunityID to gain access to the proper systems.
For current faculty members who are getting ready to depart MSU, it is beneficial for them to be approved in advance to continue on with current student committees. The process is simple. The Program Coordinator emails the Department Chairperson with a list of the faculty member’s committee memberships with roles identified and asks that he/she be allowed to continue serving on those committees. It is preferable to include a projected completion date. No updated Vita or third-party letter is required. The Chair endorses the request and forwards the email to Associate Dean Michael Sedlak, who sends the endorsed email on to the Dean of the Graduate School.
3. Retired, Emeritus Committee Member Approval
Emeritus (Retired) Faculty also must to go through a brief approval process. It should be initiated by the retiring faculty member, who submits a list of students with whom he/she intends to continue to work, the students’ programs, the anticipated duration of their service, and in what role they will serve (i.e. Dissertation Director, Guidance Committee Chair, Committee Member). The request should be sent to Associate Dean Sedlak for College level endorsement. If a department requests, the faculty member can be made available to all students in that department, but there should to be a limitation on the duration of membership (no more than two years is preferred). Requests to serve as a Dissertation Director for a student will be sent forward to the Graduate School, as a matter of record. Emeritus faculty who do not intend to retain their MSU e-mail account, must request a CommunityID in order to access their students’ records.
4. Fixed-Term MSU Faculty Member Approval
Individuals serving in fixed-term faculty appointments at MSU must go through the full approval process, as is required of prospective committee members external to MSU. Please follow all of the directions found in #1 with the exception of the creating of the CommunityID.
For all of the above actions
Once the Graduate School approves an external to MSU member to serve on a guidance committee, an e-mail is sent to that individual asking them to create a CommunityID (in those cases where they have no current MSU NetID). The external member has roughly two weeks to create their CommunityID. An external member’s CommunityID is typically their e-mail address at their primary institution. As a student, you are unable to add an external member to your committee in GradPlan until the external member has created their CommunityID.
Please use the link below to enter your Ph.D. Guidance Committee Members into the GradPlan system. Utilize the netid search feature for committee members internal to MSU and utilize the search by name feature for external committee members.
Dual Ph.D. Major Requests
Students wishing to pursue Dual PhD majors must receive prior approval from both programs, the college(s), and the Graduate School within one semester following the development of a student's Program Plan/GradPlan, and within the first two years of the student's enrollment at MSU (https://reg.msu.edu/AcademicPrograms/Text.aspx?Section=111#s407). Approval is necessary before entering or amending your GradPlan to include the new courses and/or committee members.
Entering Your Program Plan/Report of the Guidance Committee into GradPlan
The Ph.D. Degree Plan should be filed the first semester of your second year of Ph.D. study and no later than one semester after the Guidance Committee is formed.
Please use the link below to enter your Ph.D. Degree Plan into GradPlan.
Record of Comprehensive Examinations for Ph.D students
Ph.D. comprehensive exam form: the student must be enrolled for semester of exam date for at least one credit. Must be taken within 5 years of admission to Ph.D. program. After the student takes the final part of the examination, the program/department completes and files this form.
Doctoral students must complete a Research Practicum. There are several ways of meeting this requirement, all spelled out in your program’s Handbook. This form must be filed when you are completing this experience, typically through a course numbered 995. Student downloads, completes electronically, and prints before securing signatures; no handwritten forms: handwritten signatures, in blue ink only.
University Committee for Research Involving Human Subjects (UCRIHS) Application
If appropriate, you must file these forms with the university before undertaking any research for your dissertation or other course that involves human subjects.
Dissertation Director & Proposal Approval: Student Initiated.
Dissertation proposals and directors are approved at a meeting of a student’s dissertation committee. If human subjects are to be part of the dissertation research, the UCRIHS submission date must be included on the proposal. Student downloads, completes electronically, and prints before securing signatures; no handwritten forms: handwritten signatures, in blue ink only. Student also needs to go into GradPlan and add their Dissertation Director and IRB number (if applicable).
Notice of Doctoral Dissertation Oral Examination: Student Initiated
Prepared when student is ready to defend the dissertation, ideally one to two weeks before the defense date. Student fills out the form on the college website : Submit an Event to the Calendar; under Event Title, put: “Oral Dissertation Defense: [Dissertation Title].” Under Event Cost enter $0, in the Event Summary and Event Description boxes, copy the event title and paste it into these fields. Check “NO” when asked if you want event posted on the University-wide calendar.
Record of Dissertation and Oral Examination Requirements for Doctoral Degree Candidate
Defense of dissertation oral examination form. Completed by the dissertation committee at student's defense or shortly thereafter. Student must be enrolled for at least one credit during semester of the defense.
Request for Extension of Time to Complete Degree Requirements: Student Initiated
If a student fails to meet final Ph.D. requirements within eight years, an extension to meet degree requirements must be applied for and approved. Student should complete this form in collaboration with the advisor. Student downloads, completes electronically, and prints before securing signatures; no handwritten forms: handwritten signatures, in blue ink only.
If a student reaches the 30 credit maximum for Dissertation credits and must enroll in additional Dissertation credits, a waiver must be applied for and approved. A student should complete this form in collaboration with their guidance committee chairperson. Student downloads, completes electronically, and prints this form before securing signatures; no handwritten forms will be accepted: handwritten signatures, in blue ink only.
Request for Waiver of CEP930, CEP932, or an Advanced Research Methods Course College Requirement: Student Initiated
All PhD students in the College of Education are required to complete CEP930, CEP932 and one Advanced Research Methods Course (i.e. CEP933, TE931, CEP 934, etc…). It might be possible to have this requirement waived and an alternative course (or set of courses) substituted for one these required courses. The form below must be completed and signed in order to request a waiver/substitution. Please follow the instructions on the form to initiate such a request. The completed, signed form must be submitted to the Graduate Records Office, 205 Erickson Hall. After requests are reviewed the applicant will be informed of the decision via e-mail.
Report of the Guidance Committee (Program Plan): Student Initiated
Should typically be filed early in second year of the Ed.S. program. Student downloads, completes electronically, and prints before securing signatures; no handwritten forms: handwritten signatures, in blue ink only.
Record of Comprehensive Examination for School Psychology Ed.S. students
Ed.S. comprehensive exam form: the student must be enrolled for semester of exam date for at least one credit. After the student takes the final part of the examination, the program/department completes and files this form.
Application for Change of Program and Status: Student Initiated
The Change of Program and Status application may only be used by graduate students in programs inside the College of Education. It should only be used for the following action: to add another degree or major inside the College of Education (both programs must be located in the College of Education). Examples of use: If a doctoral student in Educational Policy wants to add a second PhD degree in MQM, this form will be used; or if a master’s student in Kinesiology wants to add a second MA degree in Educational Technology this form will be used. In order to add a second College of Education graduate degree or major, the student downloads the Application for Change of Program and Status form, completes it electronically, and prints it before securing signatures (in blue ink only); no handwritten forms permitted.
If the graduate student has their primary major or degree inside the College of Education, and they want to add a second degree from another college at MSU, or the student is from another college at MSU and they want to add a second degree from the College of Education, the student must apply to the program using the University’s online Graduate Application system.
Project Agreement Form: Student Initiated
Student must file this form with their Program Secretary and register for Independent Study credit(s) with the appropriate department. Student downloads, completes electronically, and prints before securing signatures; no handwritten forms: handwritten signatures, in blue ink only.
Application for Readmission to an ended College of Education program code: Student Initiated
Students who have not taken courses for three consecutive semesters, must complete a readmission application to be considered for readmission to their program. This hard copy readmission application is only to be used if the College of Education graduate program you are admitted to cannot be found in the pull-down menu of the Registrars Office on-line readmission application (see Application for Readmission form above), because the program code has ended.
Note: If readmission to a terminated program is approved, you must be able to complete all program requirements and graduate by the program end date.