FAQ Pertaining to the Program of Study Proposal

Q1:  What is the Program of Study Proposal form for? 

A1:  MSE students use this form to propose courses that they wish to take for the purpose of meeting the MSE degree graduation requirement. A course without an MSE advisor’s approval may not be used for meeting the graduation requirements. 


Q2:  Can I take more courses than the courses listed on this form? 

A2:  Yes, you can and many students do.  This form ONLY shows the courses that are required for meeting the MSE degree requirements.  You are free to take any additional courses in any semester without asking for approval.   However, a course without an MSE advisor’s approval may not be used for meeting the graduation requirements. 


Q3:  Do I need to submit this form every semester? 

A3:  No.  Once your proposal is approved, you don’t need to submit it again.    If you wish to change the proposed courses after they have been approved, you should submit another proposal along with the approved one.  It is not unusual that MSE students change their plan before graduation. 


Q4:  Any general advice and guidelines for selecting courses for this form? 

A4:  There are several things to consider in selecting courses:  

  • Your educational and career goals.  You can select a variety of courses to best support your goals.   
  • Your background knowledge.  You should only take the courses that you have enough background for.  You can take the prerequisite courses to build up your background knowledge.  The prerequisite courses may or may not be used for meeting graduation requirement. 
  • Availability of the course. Not all courses in the catalog are offered regularly.   The best way to predict if a course will be offered next year is to check if the course was offered in recent years.  The current and previous semester’s class schedules are available online.  


Q5:  What are some examples of rejected proposals?   

A5:  There are many reasons that a proposal will not be approved.   For example, a proposal with all elective courses in one department will not be approved.   The flexibility of the MSE curriculum is NOT for duplicating another department’s curriculum.  In general, if a proposal contains more than 3 courses from the same department (i.e. with the same prefix) will be rejected. 


Q6:  Can I include some undergraduate courses in the proposal?   

A6:  It is possible to include upper division undergraduate courses (1xx courses).   If you wish to include any undergraduate courses, you should discuss this with an MSE advisor.  In general, undergraduate courses in your BS major area will not be approved.  


Q7: Who should I submit the form to and when? 

A7: You should make an appointment with an MSE advisor to discuss the proposed courses.  After the meeting, you can finalize the form and submit to the advisor. MSE students should submit this form before the end of the 1st semester study in the MSE program.  


Q8: Should I fill out the form completely (i.e., list all the courses) before I meet an advisor? 

A8: Not necessarily.  You should fill out the form as much as you can and make an appointment with an MSE advisor. 


Q10:  My proposal has been approved.  Does that mean that I am entitled to enroll in the approved courses in the semesters indicated on this form? 

A10:  No. The approval of a proposal is not a guarantee of enrollment in the courses listed in the proposal.  It is students’ responsibility to enroll in and to complete the courses. Some of the reasons for not being able to enroll in a class are: (i) The course is not offered in that semester. (ii) The student does not meet the pre-requisite. (iii) The class is full.   Some departments give their major students the enrollment priority.


Q11:  Do I need to submit another proposal, if I need to take a course in a different semester?   

A11:  No.   The semester/year information on this form is for your planning purpose.   You can take the listed courses in any order as long as you don’t violate any pre-requisite condition.   You don’t need to re-submit this proposal if you just want to take the listed courses in a different semester. 


Q12:  If I just want to change one course, do I still need to submit a new form?   

A12:  Yes.  The proposed courses are evaluated as a package based on many factors such as students’ educational background and goals.  Any change to an approved proposal requires a new evaluation of the entire plan. Students should NOT assume any partial set of the courses will be approved in a new proposal. 


Q13: Another MSE student has an approved proposal.  If I copy his proposal, would my proposal be approved for sure?   

A13:  Not necessarily.   It depends your educational background and goals. 


Q14: What is the difference between this form and the Candidacy form?   

A14:  Candidacy form is an official university form.  This proposal is a record of discussion between students and the advisors.   Candidacy form can only be filed after students have completed 9 units of required units and met the GWAR requirement. Normally, students file candidacy form 1 year before graduation.     This proposal serves the purpose of letting students know early on what courses can be approved and what cannot.    When a student is ready to file the Candidacy form, the student only needs to copy the information from the approved proposal to the candidacy form.