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Plan of Work: Info & FAQ


The Graduate Plan of Work is a document that serves both as a guide to successful degree completion and a contract between students and their programs. In this way, it serves to reduce the potential for misunderstandings about degree requirements and outlines the expected academic progress students should make. It is especially helpful when it is evaluated on at least an annual basis by students with their advisor(s), and, where applicable, their advisory committees, with any needed modifications recorded at that time. It should be viewed as a “living document” that reflects changes that may occur as students continue to develop and refine their academic programs.  (From the Graduate Handbook, Section 3.3)

Submission Timeline of Your Plan of Work:

  • Masters students:  When 18 hours of coursework has been completed.
  • PhD students:  When you are preparing to take your preliminary oral exam.

About your Plan of  Work:

Important Information Included

  • Different and separate from what is submitted in the student progress reports in GradWatch.
  • Only put the number of hours needed for your degree (30-31 for masters; 72 for doctoral).
  • The courses listed should be the courses that earn you your degree.
  • ABM Plan of Work:  The double-counted courses should be entered in the graduate plan of work as transfer courses individually.  R&R will verify these against the ABM Plan of Work approved and submitted to your graduate application. Feel free to reach out to the GSC for help and/or guidance (
  • MCE/MENE Plan of Work: students need to enter their adviser as Chair under the Committee tab in the plan of work.
  • Ph.D. Plan of Work > Committee Tab
    • A doctoral committee must have a minimum of 4 Graduate Faculty Members and a GSR (Grad School Representative).  If the GSR is also a member of your committee, enter that person as “Member” under the Type column and click the Outside Rep radio button in that column.
    • If your GSR is not a regular member of your advisory committee, then the Type will be GSR and the Outside Rep button is clicked in that column.
  • Plan of Work + Formal Exams: must be approved before both the DGP and the Graduate School will approve your request to Schedule your Final Oral MS Exam.

Creating your Graduate Plan of Work:

Instructions (click the embedded link)

Changes to your Plan of Work:

As mentioned above, your Plan of Work is a “living” document and is meant to change as you move through your program.  Making changes is normal.  If you do need to make a change after you submit your plan of work, simply email the GSC (that’s me!) and ask me to reset it.  Be sure to copy your adviser on this request.  Make sure to include your student ID# when emailing the GSC (

NOTE:  You can hold off on submitting your Plan of Work until you are far enough into your program to be certain changes will be minimal before formally submitting your Plan of Work for approval.

Changes to your Advisory Committee:

Prior to the Prelim Oral Exam: 

Changes to your committee before the oral prelim exam is taken can be made within the plan of work by the student.  If the plan of work has been submitted and approved, ask the GSC to release the plan.

After the Prelim Oral Exam: 

After the completion of the oral prelim exam, changes to a student’s advisory committee must be made by an Advisory Committee Modification Request Form.

  1. Director’s name/program name:  Ranji Ranjithan/Civil & Environmental Engineering
  2. The student completes all information and signs the form (under Student Information).
  3. The student obtains signatures from the appropriate members involved in the changes.
  4. The form is then submitted to the GSC to be reviewed and sent to DGP for signature.

Transfer Credit in your Program:

Transfer Credit Information from The Handbook for Doctoral Students:

Previous master’s degree from another institution:  For a student who has a master’s degree from a university other than NC State, a maximum of 18 hours of relevant graduate credit from the master’s degree may be applied toward this minimum, upon the recommendation of the student’s Graduate Advisory Committee. Therefore, the minimum credit-hour requirement in this case is 54 credit hours. Students whose previous master’s was combined with a three-year bachelor’s degree from a non-Bologna institution to meet the minimum requirements for admission will not be entitled to this 18-credit allowance and will not be considered to have a previous master’s.

Master’s Degree from NCSU:  If a student completes a master’s degree at NC State and continues for a doctoral degree without a break in time, up to 36 relevant credit hours taken while in master’s status may be used to meet minimum requirements for the doctoral degree. If there is a break in time between completing the master’s (at NC State) and beginning the doctorate (at NC State), the allowance is limited to 18 hours. Either allowance may include those 400-level courses taken as an approved part of the master’s degree.

NDS Courses:  A graduate course that was completed while the student was enrolled in PBS status at NC State University may be considered for transfer to a doctoral program provided that it is a 500- or 700-level course and that the grade is B or better (see Section 2.3 for information on admission to PBS classification). Courses with grades of B- or lower will not be allowed to transfer. All PBS credits that are used to satisfy the requirements of a specific doctoral degree must be earned before the student is admitted to that degree program. These courses must be evaluated and recommended by the student’s advisory committee on the basis of appropriateness and currency of the course material. In such cases, the student’s degree clock starts with the first of these courses approved for inclusion in a plan of work (POW). Final approval is given by the DGP upon submission of the POW to the Graduate School. A maximum of 12 credit hours taken while in PBS status may be transferred into a doctoral degree program.

Transfer Credit Information from The Handbook for Masters Students:

Transfer of graduate credits earned at other universities. A course that was completed at another college or university may be considered for transfer to a master’s program provided that:

  • The course is classified as a graduate course.
  • It was completed while the student was in a graduate or post-baccalaureate classification.
  • It was not taken as a part of a previous master’s degree program at another institution.
  • The grade in the course is B or better. Courses with grades of B- or lower will not be allowed to transfer.
  • The college or university is accredited by one of the following six U.S. regional accrediting agencies: the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, the New England Association of Colleges and Schools, the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, the Northwest Association of Colleges and Schools, or the Western Association of Colleges and Schools.

How to Transfer Credit into Your Plan of Work:

Master’s Degree Transfer:  Transfer credit is manually entered into your plan of work using one line labeled “Transfer Credit”.  One lump sum in other words.  Specific courses from a previous master’s are not listed individually in a student’s plan of work.

How to:  In a line, click the SELECT button for a course and will you come to this screen.  Here, click transfer credit and then Search.

From here:

Select the “Transfer Credit” link:

Manually add the number of hours (maximum is 18 hours from a previous master’s from another institution.  See additional information above.) in the Units box.

The SIS Student Manual has a lot of helpful “how-to” information (see pages 6 &7 of the manual for plan of work information).

Individual Class(es):  To transfer in credit for courses taken at another institution or NCSU as NDS, complete the Transfer Credit Request form.  Once completed, the form is turned in to the CCEE Graduate Programs Office in 202A Mann Hall.  Forms can be electronically submitted to