A program plan is an essential planning tool for both students and the department. At its most basic level, the program plan lists all the courses that a student plans on taking in order to complete all of the curricular requirements for a student's chosen degree program. Even at this most basic level, the process of constructing a program plan is of benefit, providing a forum for discussion between the student and the graduate advisors regarding university and departmental policies, degree curricular requirements and the student's educational and professional goals.
At a deeper level, the program plan also encompasses two other important components:
- The term during which each of the courses a student has chosen will be taken
- An indication of planned quarters of non-registration
Putting together a program plan that includes all of these elements affords a student the opportunity to consider not only academic policies, but also other issues that affect a student's path to degree including financial, professional and personal concerns. From the department's perspective these complete program plans assist with course scheduling and inform future degree program and course planning.
Given the value of this tool for both the student and the department, each student pursuing an MS degree in the ECE Department is required to develop, submit and have approved by the graduate advisors a program plan that:
- Includes all courses to be taken during enrollment in the MS degree program at Drexel University
- Indicates the term in which each course is to be taken
- Lists all approved graduate transfer credit
- Satisfies all curricular requirements for the MS degree program of choice
- Clearly indicates all terms of planned non-registration
The following information and resources should help students pursuing an MS degree in one of the programs administered the ECE Department successfully construct a program plan that meets the above criteria. If at any point during the program planning process a student has questions or needs additional guidance, the student is encouraged to contact the graduate advisors.
The ECE Department utilizes DegreeWorks for program plan submission, review, and approval. DegreeWorks is an online program planning tool available to all students pursuing an MS degree within the department. This tool not only allows students and advisors to create, review, and save program plans, but also allows for tracking of progress towards degree completion by recording completed and currently enrolled courses and matching these courses against the curricular requirements for the degree program in which a student is enrolled.
DegreeWorks can be accessed through DrexelOne by:
- Logging in to DrexelOne
- Selecting the "STUDENT" tab at the top of the page
- Selecting the "Graduation Requirements (DegreeWorks)" link in the "Student Records" box.
Once a student has constructed a program plan that the student wishes to be reviewed, the student should email the graduate advisors, requesting such a review.
An important component of the program plan creation process is an understanding of curricular requirements of the student's chosen degree program. Curricular requirements for each of the MS degree programs can be found in the Drexel University Catalog.
Depending on the curricular requirements of the MS degree program being completed, it may be possible for a student to earn a graduate certificate within the minimum credit hour requirement for said MS degree program or by completing of a small number of additional graduate credit hours above this minimum requirement. Enrollment in these graduate certificate programs are controlled by the offering academic unit. Students interested in pursuing such an option should become familiar with the eligibility and curricular requirements for the chosen graduate certificate program through information available from the offering academic unit. One such graduate certification program for students completing an MS degree program administered by the ECE Department is the Engineering Management Certificate.
In order to select courses that meet the degree program curricular requirements and a student's educational and professional goals, the following additional course information resources may be useful.
Term Master Schedule
Graduate Course Offerings
The ECE Department strives to provide an accurate list of the likely departmental graduate course offerings for the current and upcoming academic years. These course lists can serve as a reference point for ensuring realistic placement of courses in specific terms on a program plan and for providing a reasonable estimate of what future departmental course offerings may include.
Graduate Course Foundations
The ECE Department faculty members have identified undergraduate courses offered at Drexel University that provide the foundational academic background for departmental entry-level graduate courses. This information can help students determine the background that is suggested by the instructors for each of these courses and whether additional preparation may be necessary to take a particular course that a student is planning to take.
Graduate Course Descriptions
The official university catalog course descriptions for all graduate coursework can be accessed at this link. These descriptions provide a very brief overview of course content and are also an important resource of prerequisite course requirements. Please be aware that the ECE Department graduate courses are divided into six subject codes:
Besides the academic factors discussed in the previous sections, there are a myriad of other considerations that can have an impact on the program planning process. Some of the major areas to consider during this process are touched upon below.
It is important in the program planning process that students consider not only how the student plans on paying for educational and living expenses during tenure in the degree program, but also how the chosen funding sources may impact program planning factors such as number of credits to be taken per term, planned terms of non-registration, and course selection. Some of the considerations with regards to more common financing sources for students pursuing an MS degree are discussed below.
Federal Financial Aid
For students that are utilizing federal financial aid or have received federal financial aid in the past, it is important to understand the eligibility requirements, deadlines, and other restrictions associated with continued receipt of these funds or repayment of past funds. In particular, students should be aware of regulations, policies, and procedures that affect program planning aspects such as quarterly time status, graduate co-op participation, and registration for online coursework. Students with questions about these matters should consult the Drexel Central Financial Aid & Assistance page.
Employer Tuition Remission or Reimbursement
Some students are fortunate enough to receive some form of tuition assistance from an employer in order to pursue graduate degree completion. It is important that students who intend to take advantage of this type of benefit fully understand the eligibility requirements, deadlines, and other restrictions associated with said benefit. Some important program planning questions to consider in relation to this type of benefit are:
- Is there a cap on the amount of money, the number of credits, or the number of courses that can be covered by the benefit over any given time period?
- Are there restrictions on the delivery format - face-to-face, online, hybrid - of the courses that can be covered by the benefit?
- Are there restrictions on the subject of the courses or the degree program that can be covered by the benefit?
- Must a specific grade be earned in order for a course to be covered by the benefit?
Scholarships, Fellowships & Assistantships
Acceptance of scholarships, fellowships, and assistantships - whether from a private organization or from Drexel University - as part of an overall educational funding plan can have significant impacts on program planning. Like employer tuition remission or reimbursement benefits discussed above, it is important that students fully understand the eligibility requirements, deadlines, and other restrictions associated with acceptance of these types of funding sources. In particular, these types of funding may provide explicit requirements regarding such areas as student time status, course and degree selection, and sustaining minimum GPA. In addition, they may also require additional time commitments during or after degree completion in the form of research participation, teaching activities, and community service.
It is essential that students who are utilizing these funding sources consider the implications of these factors during the program planning process. Some important program planning questions to consider in relation to these types of funding are:
- Is there a requirement for full-time student status associated with acceptance of this funding?
- Are there restrictions on the subject of the courses or the degree program that can be covered by this funding?
- Are there restrictions on the delivery format - face-to-face, online, hybrid - of the courses or degree program that can be covered by this funding?
- Is there a minimum GPA required in order to continue receiving funding from this source?
- What is the duration of this funding?
- Are there additional time commitments associated with acceptance of this funding such as research participation, teaching activities, or community service? If so, must these commitments be met during tenure in the degree program?
For students that are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents, additional considerations must be made in order to ensure compliance with applicable immigration regulations. In particular, students should be aware of regulations that affect program planning aspects such as quarterly time status, graduate co-op participation, registration for online coursework, and the timeframe for degree completion.
Learn more about the International Students and Scholars Services Office
Professional Obligations, Personal Commitments and Life Events
Students also deal with a host of other less tangible factors that can have a significant impact on program planning. These can include things like professional workload, employment attendance policies, family commitments, and participation in extracurricular pursuits. Some important programming questions to consider in relation to these aspects are:
- Are there particular times of year during which one's professional workload is particularly heavy, which may necessitate a reduced quarterly course load or planned terms of non-registration?
- Are there times of year during which professional travel commitments may make online coursework a more feasible option that on campus offerings?
- Will an employer permit flexible work hours to allow course attendance?
- Are there important life events that will take place during the student's tenure at Drexel University that may necessitate planned terms of non-registration?
- Does participation in extracurricular pursuits restrict the amount of time that can be devoted to coursework attendance, assignment completion, and study?