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Graduate Resources

Information for Continuing Graduate Students

Whether you are pursuing a M.S., Master of Ag., or Ph.D. degree, you are responsible for planning your program of academic study in order to satisfy the requirements for the degree. The guide sheets and check sheets in the documents box on the right-hand side of this page can be used to help plan your program and prepare for your exams. See the Graduate School website, for additional information.


Planning your Program

Choosing a Committee

Your permanent adviser will be selected (by you) from among departmental faculty once initial entry to the program has been completed. The adviser is the chief source of advice in the planning process. This individual works closely with the student throughout the graduate career on all matters related to the degree program.

Except for those pursuing Plan C master’s degrees, each student has an individual graduate advisory committee. Members of the committee should be chosen on the basis of the student’s interests, the student’s experience with faculty members, and the adviser’s knowledge and expertise. The makeup of a graduate committee must be approved by the department head and, of course, agreed to by the potential members themselves.

The committee must consist of at least three faculty members for a master’s degree program (of any rank and at least one member from outside the department) and at least four for a doctoral degree program. For the Ph.D. degree, committee members are as follows: 1) the adviser who serves as chairperson of the committee and who must hold academic faculty rank as a professor or associate professor, (assistant professors may co-chair per department regulations) of any appointment type within the department or program granting the degree; 2) one or more additional members from the department; 3) any non-departmental faculty member who may be appropriate; and 4) one member from an outside department who, appointed by the Vice Provost for Graduate Studies, represents the Graduate School. The outside committee member appointed by the Vice Provost for Graduate Studies must hold a regular, special, transitional, joint, or emeritus/emerita faculty appointment at Colorado State University.

This committee must be identified before filing a GS-6 form, due before the time of the fourth regular semester registration (see below). Committees can be changed by filing a GS-9A form. More information about advisers, committees, and other requirements can be found under “Graduate Study” in the Graduate and Professional Bulletin.

GS-6 Form

All students are required to file a GS-6 form that formally declares the classes to be used to satisfy the degree. This form must be filed with the Graduate School before the time of the fourth regular semester registration. Students who fail to meet this requirement may be denied subsequent registration. This form must be completed online (the form at the end of the file can be edited), then printed, signed, and returned to the graduate school. Include only those classes necessary to fulfill your degree, especially if you are a Master-level student.


Continuous Registration

All students admitted to a graduate program at Colorado State University are required to be continuously registered in the fall and spring semester throughout their degree programs. This policy applies from the time of first enrollment through the graduation term. Students may fulfill this requirement by registering for any graduate credit-bearing course (regular or non-regular). As an alternative, students may opt for a Continuous Registration (CR) status. Registration for CR status is accomplished in the same way as registration for courses. Section ID numbers appear in the class schedule under the CR prefix. Students registering for CR will be assessed a fee for each semester of CR registration. Students graduating in summer term are required to be registered for at least one credit or CR. See the Continuous Registration document from the Graduate School for more information.



While the content of your thesis/dissertation is up to you (and your committee), the Graduate School has some very specific guidelines regarding paper, margins, pagination, etc… These requirements are documented by the Graduate School on their Publications and Documents page.


Preparing to Graduate

Once you have completed all of the departmental and graduate school academic requirements for graduation, there are a few steps left to take, including filing for graduation (there are deadlines!), filling out a few more forms, and getting your academic regalia. See the Graduation Information page from the Graduate School for all the details.


After you Graduate

The Department requests you fill out the post-graduation survey forms in the documents box at the appropriate times, and please keep in touch!


Exam Appeal Policies

Students are given two attempts to pass each exam. A failed attempt must be followed by a retry on the same exam the next time it is offered. You are expected to take measures to pass the second attempt, which could include:

Obtain a copy of your exam from the department’s main office. Develop an understanding about why you did not pass. Talk to your peers, your committee chair and the members of the exam committee.

Practice previous exams

Develop a realistic and comprehensive study plan and sit in on relevant courses.

If you fail your second attempt, you may appeal for a third attempt. A fourth attempt is not allowed. To appeal, submit a letter to the graduate coordinator. The coordinator will work with you to understand your situation and then present your case to the faculty. The department chair will make the final determination based on a faculty vote. The Chair’s decision is final.

Approving third attempts will be the exception, rather than the rule. It is the student’s burden to provide evidence that both of the conditions below are true:

  • Circumstances beyond their control resulted in a situation that made passing the exam on the second attempt difficult to impossible (such as illness, family illness, a death in the family, etc.), and
  • That you will pass if given another opportunity.

Your case will be stronger the more information you provide. Include specific information about why you would pass a third attempt such as a sitting in on courses, practicing exams, and spending more time studying, and also about why this is different from what you did for the second exam.

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