RECORDS PROCESSING FAQ
Admission to Candidacy
Do I need to register during the summer?
Graduate students taking their preliminary or final exam and/or submitting their thesis/dissertation to Thesis and Dissertation Services during the summer semester are academically required to be registered for at least one credit hour. Students on assistantships or fellowships must be registered full time during the summer. International graduate students should consult with International Student Services (ISS) to determine their summer registration requirements.
How does my assistantship/fellowship/scholarship affect my registration?
Students who are on assistantships or fellowships must be registered full time (9 hours during fall/spring, 6 hours during summer) during the relevant semesters.
How can I remove a Missing Degree Plan hold?
A degree plan hold is removed once your degree plan is in “OGS” status, meaning it has been approved by your committee and your department. You can also ask your department to send a request through the Graduate Operations Committee (GOC) Dean of your college to have the block lifted. The GOC Dean should email the request to email@example.com
Can I take a leave of absence from my studies?
You can initiate a leave of absence request by submitting a Waivers and Exceptions petition through the Document Processing Submission System (DPSS). A leave of absence will be granted for one year, and only under conditions that require the suspension of all activities associated with pursuing the degree. For certain types of approved leave, such as medical, the time period for completing the degree will stop with the leave and begin when the student returns to the program. Other types of leave may not stop the time limit for the degree. Consult your program’s graduate academic advisor for details.
More information about registration and academic status is available in the Graduate and Professional Catalog.
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When do I submit my degree plan?
Requirements for when to submit a degree plan vary by college and department. Since it is meant to guide your course selection and facilitate timely completion, you should submit your degree plan as early in your program as possible. Please check with your program’s graduate advisor regarding deadlines for degree plan submission.
Where do I submit my degree plan?
You can submit a degree plan through the Document Processing Submission System (DPSS).
Do degree plans have to include every course I have taken?
No. Each degree program has a minimum number of required hours. Please consult your program advisor regarding which courses to include on your degree plan as well as overall graduate degree requirements.
How long does it take to get a degree plan approved and how will I know?
Before coming to the Office of Graduate and Professional Studies (OGAPS), a degree plan will route through the following, any of whom can approve or disapprove and return the proposed degree plan to the student:
- Departmental Pre-Approver (usually a graduate advisor or coordinator)
- Committee Chair (if there is no departmental pre-approver, this is the first step)
- All Committee Members
- Department Head (or designee)
When your degree plan reaches OGS status, it has been submitted to the Office of Graduate and Professional Studies for review. Degree plans, like all OGAPS documents, are processed in the order that they are received. Generally, a student can expect 20 working days for a degree plan to be reviewed (and approved or returned) following submission to OGAPS. During peak periods it could take longer; however, we make every effort to process all degree plans as quickly as possible. Once your degree plan has been approved, or if it is returned for some reason, you will receive an email to your official TAMU email address.
Can my degree plan be moved ahead in the queue because I need to register for OPT/CPT?
No. We will process your degree plan in the order it was received so that we assure exceptional and equitable service for all TAMU graduate students. International Student Services has the ability to determine if your degree plan has been submitted to OGAPS and may use this information to process your OPT/CPT request. However, the best way for students to expedite the processing of their CPT/OPT-related degree plan changes is to put the corresponding coursework on their degree plan as early as possible, preferably when initially submitted.
How do I view my current degree plan?
You can access degree plan information (excluding grades and the semester a course was taken) through the Document Processing Submission System (DPSS). Active, approved degree plans are available in Howdy through the degree evaluation function, which can be found under the “My Records” tab. For further guidance, see Instructions on how to run a degree evaluation.
What are the differences between the degree plan GPA and the cumulative GPA?
The cumulative GPA shows the GPA for all the courses you've taken, while the degree plan GPA shows the GPA for only the graded courses listed on your degree plan.In order to schedule your preliminary or final examination or to graduate, both your cumulative and degree plan GPA must be 3.0 or above.
My GPA is not on my transcript. How can I get it?
You can submit a Special Request Letter Form to the Office of Graduate and Professional Studies requesting your GPA. Please note that this will include your degree plan and cumulative GPA only, and you must provide documentation stipulating the necessity of your request when submitting the form.
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How do I change my degree plan or committee?
You can change coursework or alter committee membership by submitting a petition through DPSS. Committee changes must receive the approval of all members of the committee, old and new. In the Proposed Committee section, please list everyone on the committee, including those whose status will not change.
How do I change my major, degree or department?
You can submit an MDD petition through DPSS. If you already have an approved degree plan on file, please be aware that in most cases you will need to submit a new degree plan after making this change. If you want the change to be effective for the current semester, the petition must be approved by OGAPS no later than the 12th class day (international students) and 20th class day (domestic students) during fall and spring semesters. For the summer, the change must be approved by OGAPS by the 4th (international students) and 10th (domestic students) class days. Any changes approved after these dates will be made effective for the following term. If you are an international student changing degree level, be sure to consult with International Student Services (ISS) first.
What other kinds of requests or changes can I make via petition?
In addition to coursework, committee, major, degree, or department changes, graduate students may file petitions to request leaves of absence, extensions to time limits, or exceptions to published rules. All petitions are filed through the Document Processing Submission System (DPSS). For assistance, consult with the graduate advisor for your program or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance. To assure prompt service, send the email from your official university email address and include your name and UIN.
Why hasn’t my petition been approved yet?
Petitions, like all OGAPS documents, are processed in the order that they are received. We make every effort to process all petitions as quickly as possible. Please keep in mind that petitions go through the same pre-OGAPS approval route as degree plans (outlined above). Once your petition has been approved, or if it is returned for some reason, you will receive an email to your official university email address.
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How do I list transfer courses on my degree plan?
List them on the degree plan as transfer work and indicate from which university they are being transferred. List them exactly as they appear on the transcript from that institution. Be sure to reduce Quarter Hours to Semester Hours.
The course I want to transfer was taken in Quarter Hours. How do I convert it to Semester Hours?
One quarter hour equals 2/3 of a semester hour. You may round to the nearest whole number.
How are courses transferred?
Transfer work will not appear on your Texas A&M transcript until a degree plan including it has been approved by OGAPS. Once the degree plan with the transfer work has been approved, OGAPS will request from the Office of the Registrar that approved transfer courses be added to your TAMU transcript.
How do I add transfer work if my degree plan has already been approved?
You can file a coursework change petition through DPSS requesting that the transfer courses be added to the degree plan.
How do I know if an institution is accredited or approved?
You can verify its status with either Graduate Admissions or International Admissions.
What if I have not yet taken the transfer course, but plan to do so?
List the course on your degree plan or petition just as you would other transfer courses, but indicate the semester in which the course will be taken and the university where it will be taken.
The course I want to transfer was taken prior to the conferral of my degree, but was not applied to my degree. What do I need to do?
A letter must be sent directly to OGAPS from the registrar’s office of the institution where the course was taken stating that the course was not applied to the degree received.
May I take a course at another institution and transfer it to TAMU during the semester I plan to graduate?
Doctoral students may not take transfer courses in their final semester because it would delay admission to candidacy. Master’s students may take a transfer course during their final semester but are advised that a delay in the receipt of the final official transcript for the course may mean that you will have to postpone graduation for a semester.
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How many committee members am I required to have?
This varies by program. Please refer to your program’s page in the Graduate and Professional Catalog for requirements specific to your degree.
My committee member is leaving the university; can they stay on my committee?
The committee member may remain with committee and department approval. However, they must also be willing to continue to participate in all committee meetings, discussions, examinations, and sign off on the thesis/dissertation. Please discuss this with your committee and department head.
How do I add a special appointment to my committee?
Your department should initiate the request by submitting a Graduate Committee Faculty nomination through http://gradcom.tamu.edu. Keep in mind that special appointments do not count toward the minimum number of Graduate Committee Faculty necessary to form the committee, are not considered voting members, and will not be included on the title page of the thesis or dissertation.
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What format do I need to follow for my research proposal?
While it is recommended that proposals follow Thesis and Dissertation services formatting guidelines, OGAPS does not require a specific format. Please consult your academic advisor.
What if my research involves animals, human subjects, or issues of biosafety?
As of Spring 2019, students whose research involves animals, human subjects, or issues of biosafety should obtain a copy of the Determination Letter, Approval Letter, or AUP Approval Memo from the Office of Research, Compliance and Biosafety (RCB) prior to submitting their proposal to OGAPS. That documentation should then be attached to the Research Proposal Form that is submitted to OGAPS along with full copies of the research proposal.
If either the Determination Letter, Approval Letter, AUP Approval Memo or a copy of the research proposal is not attached to the form, OGAPS processors will reach out to the student and program contacts to obtain these before processing the proposal. Once all required attachments have been received and appropriate signatures are verified, the research proposal will be approved.
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How do I schedule my preliminary examination?
Download and review the preliminary examination checklist to verify that you have met all the requirements and are thus eligible to take the examination. If you are eligible, coordinate with your committee and committee chair to schedule the examination. Upon completion, submit both the Report of the Preliminary Examination (signed by all committee members) and the Checklist (signed by the chair and department head) to the Office of Graduate and Professional Studies within 10 working days.
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Admission to Candidacy
What are the requirements for me to be admitted into candidacy?
Admission to candidacy is a prerequisite for scheduling your final examination. To be admitted to candidacy for a doctoral degree, a student must have:
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- Completed all formal (graded) coursework on the degree plan with exception of any remaining 681, 684, 690, 691, 692, or 791 courses.
- A graduate cumulative and degree plan GPA of at least a 3.0 with no grade lower than a C in a degree plan course.
- Passed the preliminary examination (written and oral portions).
- An approved dissertation proposal on file with OGAPS.
- Met the residence requirements.
When can I schedule my final exam?
The final examination will not be authorized for any doctoral student who has not been admitted to candidacy and whose proposal has not been approved. If you’re unsure about the status of these requirements, you can run a degree evaluation in Howdy and check under the additional information section of the report. In addition, consult the graduate catalog regarding the final examination requirements for Master’s and Doctoral candidates. After coordinating with your committee and committee chair, submit a completed Request and Announcement of the Final Examination to OGAPS.
How can I be exempted from the final exam?
Thesis option candidates may petition to be exempt from their final examination if the degree plan GPA is 3.500 or greater and they have approval of the advisory committee, the head of the student’s department, and the Office of Graduate and Professional Studies. The Request for Exemption from the Final Examination should be submitted the same semester you submit the thesis.
I am scheduled to hold my final exam/defense, but how do I get the Report for Final Exam form?
You don’t. Once your final examination request has been approved, the Office of Graduate and Professional Studies generates the Report of the Final Examination and emails it to your departmental contact person and committee chair. It is the department’s responsibility to ensure that this form is signed and returned to OGAPS within 10 business days from the exam date.
How do I change my final exam date or cancel the exam after the request has been submitted?
Your committee chair can contact OGAPS to request that the exam be rescheduled or indicate that the exam has been cancelled.
One of my committee members scheduled a last-minute trip to Mozambique for field work and now won’t be at my final exam. What do I do?
As long as it is not the chair, you are allowed one committee substitute who is a graduate faculty member of standing equal to the committee member they are replacing. If possible, your department should contact email@example.com before submitting the Report of the Final examination to either let us know of the change or verify that the substitute is eligible to serve.
How do I know if the results of my final exam have been received by OGAPS?
Once your exam has been processed, the results will be indicated in the degree evaluation in Howdy under Additional Information.
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I’m attempting to apply for graduation and I’m getting an error message that says “No Curricula.” What do I do?
Please contact OGAPS for assistance. You can call 979-845-3631 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
I have questions about graduation. Where do I find information?
Please refer to the TAMU graduation website.
Can I choose who will hood me at graduation?
Approximately one month prior to the Doctoral Commencement Ceremony for a given semester, applicants for graduation will receive an email from email@example.com with detailed information about the hooding process.
Do I have to register in my last semester?
Students who were registered for at least one credit hour in the preceding semester and have passed their final exam as well as submitted and cleared Thesis and Dissertation Services by the early clearance deadline for that semester will not have to register for coursework. Students not meeting those requirements or on an assistantship must be registered for at least 1 hour in the semester they take their final exam. International students may need to consult with ISS about registration requirements in their final semester. OGAPS does not require non-thesis students who have completed all degree plan coursework to register, but individual departments or programs may.
I applied for graduation but will not be able to graduate. What do I need to do?
Students who have completed all degree requirements will not be allowed to cancel their graduation. Students who are not meeting degree requirements can submit a Graduate Student Graduation Cancellation Form to OGAPS.
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