Stages and Steps

Students aiming for the Master's degree pass through the following steps:

  • Temporary advising: Until the student selects a permanent advisor, the Coordinator of Graduate Studies, or the Associate Coordinator, serves as a temporary advisor. The temporary advisor guides the student in course selection in the initial stages, answers questions about program policies and requirements, and facilitates the process of selecting a permanent advisor and establishing a program of study.
  • Establishing the Program of Study: No later than the registration period for the third semester (at about the 10th week of the second semester), the student selects a permanent advisor, and with that advisor selects the rest of the graduate committee, and sets out the courses that will constitute the student's Program of Study for the degree. These decisions are registered with the Graduate School via Form GS 6, which must be signed by the advisor and submitted to the Department for administrative signatures.  Information for using possible transfer credits can be found at the Graduate School website:  http://graduateschool.colostate.edu/faculty-staff/faculty-and-staff-resources/credit-requirements/transfer-credits/
  • Completing course work: Over the first three semesters, the student completes all required and elective courses included in the GS 6 Program of Study.
  • Completing the Thesis: Under the guidance of his or her graduate advisor, the student selects a research topic and completes the thesis. The thesis is not complete and ready for defense until the advisor gives approval.
  • Applying for Graduation: Early in the semester when the student expects to graduate, Form GS 25, Graduation Application, is submitted. The deadline is announced and posted each semester.
  • Defending the Thesis: When the advisor gives approval, the student proceeds to schedule the Final Oral Examination with the rest of the graduate committee. The advisor-approved draft of the thesis should be distributed to committee members for their reading, at least 2 weeks in advance of the defense. The defense is open to the public. The signed Form GS 24, Report of Final Examination, is submitted to the Graduate School immediately following the defense.
  • Final steps: After the defense, the student makes final revisions to the thesis as directed by the advisor and committee. When the revisions are approved and correct formatting is assured, permanent copies of the thesis are produced for the archives. Two unbound loose copy are submitted to the Graduate School, and formal hardbound copies are submitted to the Department and to the advisor. Completion of these final steps is reported to the Graduate School on Form GS 25B, Departmental Requirements Clearance Form.
  • Graduation: The Graduate School holds its own Commencement ceremonies in December and May. Degrees are conferred and each student is individually recognized by name.

Students aiming for the PhD degree pass through the following stages and steps:

  • Temporary advising: Until the student selects a permanent advisor, the Coordinator of Graduate Studies, or the Associate Coordinator, serves as a temporary advisor. The temporary advisor serves to guide the student in course selection in the initial stages, to answer questions about program policies and requirements, and to facilitate the process of selecting a permanent advisor and establishing a program of study.
  • Establishing the Program of Study: No later than the registration period for the fourth semester (at about the 10th week of the third semester), the student selects a permanent advisor, and with that advisor selects the rest of the graduate committee, and sets out the courses that will constitute the student's Program of Study for the degree. These decisions are registered with the Graduate School via Form GS 6, which must be signed by the advisor and submitted to the Department for administrative signatures.
  • Completing the Core: Over the first three semesters, students complete the required core courses and begin field and elective courses. In addition, during the summer after the first year, students write a technical paper combining their theoretical and econometric understandings, and defend it the following fall and submit Form GS 24, which in combination with appropriate course work qualifies them to earn the Master's degree. Students wishing to gain the MA degree must use Form GS 7 to temporarily become MA students, file a GS 6 and GS 25 for the MA, then afterward use Form GS 7 to switch back to the PhD program.  Information for using possible transfer credits can be found at the Graduate School website:  http://graduateschool.colostate.edu/faculty-staff/faculty-and-staff-resources/credit-requirements/transfer-credits/
  • PhD Qualifying Exam: To meet the Satisfactory Progress guidelines, students must sit for the Qualifying Exam, which covers macroeconomic and microeconomic theory, in January at the start of their fourth semester. In case of a failure, students are allowed a second attempt during the following summer.
  • Other course work: Students normally complete their field and elective courses by the end of the 5th semester, though the timing of field course offerings sometimes causes delay into the 6th semester. In the 6th semester, the student participates in a research seminar course and begins work on the dissertation proposal.
  • Preliminary Oral Examination: In the 7th semester, the student proceeds to the preliminary oral exam in which the dissertation proposal is presented and defended to the student's graduate committee. A proposal typically sets out the initial chapters of the dissertation in their close to final form, and outlines what the remainder is expected to achieve. When the advisor is satisfied that the proposal is ready for presentation to the committee, the preliminary oral is scheduled. The written proposal should be distributed to the committee at least two weeks in advance of the exam.
  • Completing the Dissertation: Under the guidance of his or her graduate advisor and in light of recommendations arising in the preliminary oral exam, the student completes the dissertation work. The dissertation is not complete until the advisor gives approval. In the 8th semester, the student again participates in the research seminar class, and is expected to have completed a substantial piece of the dissertation (which often becomes the "job market paper") for presentation to the seminar class. Students seeking academic jobs should be prepared to enter the job market in the 9th semester, while completing the final pieces of their dissertation research.
  • Applying for Graduation: Early in the semester when the student expects to graduate, Form GS 25, Graduation Application, is submitted. The deadline is announced and posted each semester.
  • Defending the Dissertation: When the advisor gives approval, the student proceeds to schedule the Final Oral Examination with the rest of the graduate committee. The advisor-approved draft of the dissertation should be distributed to the committee for their reading, at least 2 weeks in advance of the defense. The defense is open to the public. The signed Form GS 24, Report of Final Examination, is submitted to the Graduate School immediately following the defense.
  • Final steps: After the defense, the student makes final revisions to the dissertation as directed by the advisor and committee. When the revisions are approved and correct formatting is assured, permanent copies of the dissertation are produced for the archives.  An electronic copy is submitted to the Graduate School, and formal hardbound copies are submitted to the Department and the advisor (bound copies can be produced at The Bookbinders, Loveland, CO, www.coloradobookbinders.com).  Completion of these final steps is reported to the Graduate School on Form GS 25B, Departmental Requirements Clearance Form.
  • Graduation: The Graduate School holds its own Commencement ceremonies in December and May. Degrees are conferred and each student is individually recognized by name and is "hooded," i.e., bestowed with the traditional doctoral hood by the student's PhD advisor.

Graduate Advising

MA Degree Requirements

PhD Degree Requirements

Pre-2009 Reqs

Satisfactory Progress

Grad School Steps to Student Degree (2016)