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[F]requently [A]sked [Q]uestions for Current Students

GSSP:

  • What is the GSSP?
    The GSSP (Graduate Student Support Plan) is a highly competitive support package used to attract top graduate students to NC State. Under this plan, students supported on a teaching, research, or extension assistantship or a fellowship with an annualized rate of at least $8,000 who meet the minimum registration requirements, receive (at no cost to the student) health insurance and (for a limited number of semesters) fall and spring semester tuition.

    Requirements/Benefits at a Glance [Back To Top]
  • How do I enroll with the GSSP?
    You will automatically be enrolled in the health insurance plan if you meet the minimum requirements shown on the Requirements/Benefits at a Glance chart above. Upon automatic enrollment, the insurance company will mail the student a membership card and information on benefits, filing claims and enrolling dependents. The student must pay the cost of dependent coverage. Some students may decline enrollment in the insurance offered under the GSSP by sending a letter to the Student Financial Support Services Manager in the Graduate School. The letter must state that the student has comparable coverage from another source (i.e. under a spouse's policy) and therefore wish to decline coverage. The graduate student must sign this letter (Note: International students may not decline enrollment in this plan).

    Online resources:
    The GSSP Website
    Insurance Company (Hill, Chesson and Woody) Website
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  • What are the GSSP requirements and benefits in detail?
    If you meet the following requirements, you are automatically enrolled in the GSSP

    You must register by 5pm on census date each fall or spring semester for no fewer than the minimum credit hours indicated by the "Requirements/Benefits at a Glance" chart. Census date is the 10th day of classes each fall or spring semester. This date is publicized well in advance on the GSSP web site and Graduate School web site calendar. It is also the last day to register for, add, or drop a course, or to change from credit to audit with a tuition adjustment.

    Notes Regarding Registration:
    1. Credit hours attributed to audited classes do not count toward minimum semester credit-hour requirements for the GSSP. Tuition charges related to audited courses are not reimbursed by the GSSP.
    2. Credit hours attributed to distance education courses do count toward the minimum registration requirement but GSSP will not pay for more than the on-campus rate for the total hours registered.
    3. Summer registration is not required for GSSP. However, unregistered students are required to pay a special fee to use the Student Health Center. GSSP tuition benefits are available for the spring and fall semesters only. Summer session tuition is NOT covered.
    **Students eligible for tuition under GSSP will need to complete the online notice of sponsorship form, indicating GSSP as their sponsor.**
    Please note that the tuition benefits apply only to tuition charges and NOT student fees. Students must pay required fees unless the source of your stipend provides funds specifically earmarked to pay this cost. Such special arrangements will be handled outside the GSSP through the department.

    Stipend Level Requirement: You must have an official graduate research, extension, and/or teaching assistantship or primary fellowship that provides a minimum stipend of $8,000 annualized. The stipend must be paid through the university payroll system.
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  • What are the tuition support limits?
    To receive tuition benefits, you must have been enrolled as a graduate student for no more than the maximum allowed number of semesters from initial graduate enrollment to the current semester according to the "Requirements/Benefits at a Glance" chart. Initial enrollment refers to initial enrollment in Graduate School at N.C. State and includes those who go from a Master's degree to a Ph.D. Tuition support for those taking distance education courses is limited to the on-campus rate for the total hours registered.
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  • What do I do with my tuition bill if I am no longer supported by the GSSP?
    If you have passed the tuition support limit, are not eligible for an exception or your exception request was denied, you will need to print a detailed copy of your bill, have your PI sign it, mark what grant number should be used and which items will be covered, and take or send the bill to Chastity Buehring.
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Other Financials:

  • What should I do when my student account is showing a balance which I thought the GSSP was supposed to cover?
    The GSSP payments can take several weeks to process. Students should contact the Cashier's Office: Student Accounts/Billing for details on why the payment has not been made.
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  • I received notification that my insurance coverage has been dropped or is about to be dropped - what do I need to do to be covered again?
    Students need to be supported by RA, TA or Fellowship and be registered for the respective semester in order to receive health coverage. If you meet both of these criteria and have received the notice that your insurance is being dropped, contact the DGP Office and speak with the DGP Assistant.
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Plans of Work:

  • What is my plan of work?

    [A] Plans of Work for Master's Students:
    Master's students are required to complete a conditional Plan of Work (POW) in consultation with their advisor/advisory committee by the time they have completed half of the credits required for the degree.

    The final POW submitted to the Graduate School must be approved by two parties: 1) members of the advisory committee for programs with a required thesis, or the major professor for Option B students 2) the Director of the Graduate Program (DGP). The approved POW must be submitted electronically by the DGP to the Graduate School.

    The latest that the final POW may be submitted to the Graduate School is when a student submits the Request for a Permit to Schedule the Master's Oral Examination or Request for Option B Graduation Checkout. Under certain circumstances, the Graduate School may request a POW earlier. If there is anything unusual about the POW that makes its timely approval doubtful, the DGP is strongly advised to submit it as early as possible.

    The Master's POW should include a minimum of 30 hours and an advisory committee with at least one faculty member. If the student has not yet joined a research group, they should list the DGP as their committee. The coursework can be made up of relevant courses that have already been taken or that will be taken in the future, this includes MS research hours (i.e. PY 695) and MS seminar (PY 601).

    The Plan of Work is accessed and submitted electronically via MyPack Portal.

    [B] Plans of Work for Doctoral Students

    Doctoral students are required to complete a Plan of Work (POW) in consultation with their advisory committee by the time they complete 18 hours of coursework. The final POW must be submitted to the Graduate School as early as reasonably possible, but at the latest when the student submits the Request to Schedule Oral Preliminary Examination. The final POW must be approved by members of the advisory committee and the Director of the Graduate Program (DGP).

    The latest that the final POW may be submitted to the Graduate School is when a student submits the Request to Schedule Oral Prelim/Final. Under certain circumstances, the Graduate School may request a POW earlier. If there is anything unusual about the POW that makes its timely approval doubtful, the DGP is strongly advised to submit it as early as possible.

    The Doctoral POW should include a minimum of 72 hours and an advisory committee with at least four faculty members. The coursework can be made up of relevant courses that have already been taken or that will be taken in the future, this includes PhD research hours (i.e. PY 893, 895, etc.) and PhD seminar (PY 801). The graduate school requires that there be one advisory committee member that is outside of the department. It is not required that the student assign this member; if the student does not appoint an advisory committee member from outside the department, the graduate school will appoint one for him or her.

    Examples:

    If you list all FOUR advisory committee members from the Physics Department, then the graduate school will appoint a fifth committee member from another department.

    If you list THREE advisory committee members from the Physics Department and one from Nuclear Engineering as your Minor Rep, the graduate school will NOT need to appoint another committee member.

    When the DGP electronically submits a POW to the Graduate School, the Graduate School Records Unit will evaluate it and inform the program whether or not the POW meets all Graduate School degree requirements. The Graduate School will withhold approval of any doctoral student's POW or Request to Schedule Oral Examination until all documents necessary to complete that student's permanent file are received. If any materials are missing, the POW will be denied with the reason for the denial communicated to the DGP. Typical missing items include transcripts for post-secondary work still undertaken at the time the applicant was admitted to the graduate program.

    The Plan of Work is accessed and submitted electronically via MyPack Portal.

    [C] Contents of Plans of Graduate Work

    Whether optional or as part of the degree requirement, the POW must:

    1. Include both a list of the course work to be undertaken (in all programs) and the thesis or dissertation topic (except in non-thesis Master's programs);
    2. Be developed by the student and his/her advisory committee; information on advisory committees can be found through the following link (http://www.ncsu.edu/grad/handbook/sections/3.2-advisory-committees.html);
    3. Be approved by the committee and the DGP or Department Head prior to submission to the Graduate School for final approval; and
    4. Be submitted (optional) prior to completion of one-half the total Master's program, or (mandatory) upon completion of 12 hours of a doctoral program.

    [D] Creating and Revising a Plan of Work

    The POW must contain accurate information about any transfer credits to be used for the degree. Any request to include transfer credit should be submitted to the Graduate School prior to the start of the student's graduate program or no later than before the end of the first semester. In addition, should there be any anticipated exceptions to registration policies that could affect the POW, the student must inform the DGP and Graduate School of these prior to the start of the graduate program, or no later than before the end of the first semester.

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Option B Check-out:

  • How do I complete an Option B Graduation Checkout?
    First, contact the DGP Office to set-up a meeting with the DGP for approval. Once your Option B Checkout is "OK-ed" by the DGP, you will need to fill out the following forms:
    A hard copy of the completed forms are to be handed in to the DGP Office for signature before they are forwarded to the graduate school for final approval by the Dean.

    At this time, you should log into MyPack Portal and apply online for graduation in the respective semester. If you wish to receive your MS-B during the summer, remember to apply for SECOND Summer Session - there is NOT a graduation for first summer session.
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  • What are the components of an Option B Graduation Checkout?
    1. A comprehensive oral exam is not required
    2. A thesis is not required
    3. Departmental research credit hours will not be included as part of the course work
    4. No more than six hours of independent study credits can be included in the 30-hour minimum
    5. Individual departments define other requirements for their Option B program, such as additional course work or final projects
    6. Option B Master's degree programs may not carry an officially designated minor
    7. Students have a single assigned advisor rather than an advisory committee

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Scheduling Exams:

  • What is the process to schedule an oral preliminary examination?
    To schedule a preliminary exam, you should first check with ALL of your committee members and decide on a date and time that they all can meet for the exam. If all committee members are not available for the chosen date, a substitute or replacement member needs to be appointed, in which case you will need to fill out the the Graduate school's Committee modification form

    Once a time and date is decided upon, please officially reserve a room through the appropriate building liaison.

    Fill out a schedule request form and hand in to DGP office for signature. After this form has been approved by the DGP, it is sent to the graduate school for final approval.

    Please keep in mind that the form is to be in the graduate school for approval at least TWO WEEKS prior to schedule request date.

    Upon completion of the defense, either the student or one of the committee members needs to deliver the signed papers to the graduate secretary. A diploma order request card (http://www.ncsu.edu/grad/faculty-and-staff/docs/forms/DOR.pdf) should be filled out by the student and handed in with the other papers as well.
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Advising/Registration:

  • How often do I meet with the DGP?
    Students who have not yet taken their prelim are required to meet with the DGP each semester during the allotted time for advising. An advising hold is placed by the university on every student; this hold will be released once the student has met with DGP for advising.

    Once a student successfully completes their oral prelim, they may drop back to only meeting with the DGP for advising once per year. Students may also drop their registration down to 3 hours/semester once the prelim is completed successfully. The advising hold can now be released by any member of the student's advisory committee.
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  • I have already met with the DGP for advising and there is still a hold on my account, how do I get the hold lifted?
    You should first check online or with the Cashier's Office that there are not any outstanding balances with the university (tuition/fees not paid yet, etc.). If there is a balance, take care of that and then contact the DGP Office. If there is no balance to begin with, contact the DGP Office.
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  • Are there any other online resources?

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Physics Department Graduate Programs Office
py-grad-program@ncsu.edu
204 Riddick Hall
North Carolina State University
Raleigh, NC 27695-8202
Phone 919-515-8706, fax: 919-515-6538