Guidelines for Preparing Plans of Study
Note: These instructions are for students in the Department of Psychological Sciences Clinical, I/O and CaBS PhD programs. Students in the ABA MS program and the I/O non-thesis MS program need not prepare a Plan of Study as it is generated automatically by the department.
Plan of Study Worksheet Instructions
When to Submit Plan of Study Worksheet:
- Students who have not been officially exempted from the MS Thesis requirement should file a Master's Plan of Study no later than the end of their third semester in the program.
- Students who have been exempted from the MS requirement must submit a Doctoral Plan of Study by the end of their fourth semester in the program. (Students seeking exemption from the MS requirements must submit an Exemption from Departmental Requirement form, signed by your major professor, program director, and the department chair, authorizing your exemption from the MS thesis requirement before filing the doctoral plan of study).
- Students who have completed and defended the MS thesis in our program should submit a Doctoral Plan of Study by the beginning of the semester following the semester in which they defended the thesis and before initiating the General Doctoral Exam process.
To begin the Plan of Study process ask Thane Bryant to send you a link to the Plan of Study Worksheet for your program and cohort OR find the link at the end of these instructions. It will guide you through the process of deciding what should be on your Plan of Study. If your program has revised their requirements since your cohort started and you would like to proceed under the revised requirements, let Thane know which cohort's requirements you intend to follow and he will make sure you get the correct worksheet.
1. Assemble an MS Thesis Committee or Doctoral Committee and identify the committee members on the Plan of Study worksheet.
The student's advisory committee approves the plan of study and is responsible for conducting examinations and supervising thesis and dissertation research. The chair of the advisory committee is also referred to as the "Major Professor."
MS advisory committee requirements:
- The committee must have three members (including the Chair), two of whom (including the Chair) must be members of the Graduate Faculty of Auburn University.
- The Chair must be a member (not adjunct) of the Department of Psychological Sciences faculty.
Ph.D. advisory committee requirements:
- The committee must have four members (including the Chair), all of whom must be members of the Graduate Faculty of Auburn University.
- At least two committee members, including the Chair (a.k.a. "major professor"), must be members (not adjunct) of the Department of Psychological Sciences faculty.
- At least three committee members (including the Chair) must be "Level 2" Graduate Faculty (meaning they are authorized to direct doctoral students).
The student need not retain the same major professor or committee for the MS and Ph.D. degrees. All advisory committee appointments are subject to approval of the Department Chair and the Dean of the Graduate School through the Plan of Study/Committee Selection approval process. Changes in committee membership and committee chairs must be approved via a "Revision of Existing Plan of Study" form processed through Thane Bryant.
2. Review the courses you are required to take for your degree (as indicated on the Plan of Study Worksheet) and enter the data requested on the worksheet for each such course.
MS Plan of Study: Select PSYC 7990 Research and Thesis (4 hours) plus 26 semester hours of courses from the sheet in consultation with your master’s committee and program director.
Doctoral Plan of Study: Select coursework to fulfill ALL of the requirements on the sheet in consultation with your PhD advisory committee and program director. If you previously gave Thane an MS Plan of Study worksheet, e-mail him when you are ready to do your Doctoral Plan of Study. He will then send you a copy of your MS Plan of Study Worksheet, which you should mark-up with updated and additional course information as needed to produce the Doctoral Plan of Study.
For each course you intend to take to fulfill a requirement: if the course is already on your AU transcript (i.e., you have already registered for it and completed it) or you are currently registered for it, indicate the semester and year for which you were registered for it (e.g., "Summer 2019") in the "Semester and Year Taken" column. If you have not yet registered for the course but intend to take it in the future, enter "P" (for "Planned") in the "Semester and Year Taken" column.
Entering Data on the Worksheet: You can fill in the form by keying in the information into the appropriate fields on the sheet while it is on your screen and saving it to your computer. Alternatively, you can print out the sheet and write the information in the appropriate fields and then scan the completed worksheet into a pdf. You can use the copier in 226 Thach to scan.
Exemptions: If you have been officially exempted from any required course, enter in the “Substitute Courses” columns next to each such course the information about the course upon which the exemption was based. Before the plan of study is approved you must submit an Exemption from Departmental Requirement form, signed by your major professor, your program director, and the faculty member who normally teaches the course, authorizing your exemption from each such course. These exemptions are usually taken care of during your first semester in the program. See more on exemptions here.
3. E-mail your Plan of Study worksheet to Thane with the subject "Plan of Study Worksheet". He will prepare your Plan of Study and your "Committee, Transfers, Exceptions and Candidacy (CTEC) Form" and he will document approvals by the Major Professor, Program Director and Department Head, save a file copy and deliver the CTEC form to the Graduate School.
Anxiety Check: What you put on the Plan of Study is not set in stone. If your committee membership is not rock solid, don't worry - we will be able to make changes later on (with your committee's and the department chair's approval) through the Graduate School. Similarly, if you are faced with a menu of course options and can't decide which one you want, just pick one for the time being and put it on the plan of study. If you decide later that you want to take the other one instead, you can change it (with your committee's and the department chair's approval).
Also important: Students completing the MS plan of study should keep in mind that you are in a doctoral program. Your course selection and planning should be geared to meeting the Ph.D. requirements, not just the MS requirements. You should become familiar with your program's Ph.D. requirements and work with your major professor each semester to develop a schedule that helps you progress toward their fulfillment.
Plan of Study Worksheets for students in doctoral programs - use the same sheet for your MS Plan of Study and your PhD Plan of Study:
Last Updated: October 07, 2021