The GS6 Program of study is a document that outlines the path you will take to complete your degree. The form lists the courses you will take to fulfill your degree requirements and declares your graduate committee. This form is meant to be developed between you and your committee to best guide your graduate studies and prepare you for your future career.

Your GS6 is due to the Graduate School during your third semester.
If you are in your third semester, or later, and have not yet completed your GS6 Program of Study, please read below!
*Please note that you may not submit your official GS6 electronically until you have completed the GDPE Supplemental GS6 and have received official approval to proceed from our Assistant Director, Dr. Jennifer Neuwald

What You Will Need to Complete Your GDPE Supplemental GS6

1. Committee: (Graduate School guidelines about committee members)

  • Advisor: must be GDPE
  • Co-advisor: (optional) must be GDPE
  • Regular Committee Members: may be GDPE; PhD need 2; MS need 1; co-advisors may fill one of these positions
  • Outside Committee Members: may be GDPE, but must not be in advising department; must be regular CSU faculty (no affiliate faculty can be in this role)
  • Totals: The majority of your committee must be in GDPE. PhD students need 4 members (3+ GDPE). MS Students need 3 members (2+ GDPE).

2. CurriculumGDPE has specific program requirements that serve to provide a breadth and depth of training to our students which promotes a common background in the fundamentals of ecology, while still tailoring the program to their specific ecological subfield of interest. Please refer to the specific curriculum guidelines from the CSU catalogue webpages listed  below.

Previous MS: If you have completed a MS prior to starting you Ph.D., you can apply 30 credits to you current Ph.D. program. These get transferred in as one “chunk” of credits. They are not itemized. Please make note of this on your supplemental form! If you are interested in applying previous coursework to fulfilling specific GDPE course requirements, please contact Dr. Neuwald.

Note: The requirements for Master’s and Ph.D programs are different! When planning your proposed coursework, make sure to take special note of any credit requirements for maintaining financial aid and GTAs/GRAs!

Protocol for your GDPE Supplemental GS6 and the Official electronic GS6

1 . Download the appropriate Supplemental GS-6 form from the webpage and complete:
Master’s (link)
Ph.D. (link)
Ph.D. with HEI Specialization (link)

Note: The Supplemental GS-6 forms (and course requirements) for Master’s and Ph.D. programs are different!

2. Once you have a draft of your Supplemental GS-6, send it by email to Dr. Jennifer Neuwald with the form attached.

3. Dr. Neuwald will review your Supplemental GS-6 to make sure it complies with GDPE and Graduate School requirements, and then send you an official email with approval to proceed with the electronic filing of your official GS-6. Your GDPE file will be incomplete without Dr. Neuwald’s approval. Here is a link to the Graduate School’s official Program of Study (GS6) instructional website.


4. Once you submit your official GS-6 on-line (without ANY deviations from the approved Supplemental GS-6), you will be directed to a Dynamic Form to submit your signature. The form will then be routed to appropriate parties for the remaining signatures. Note: If there are issues, the form may be returned to you for corrections. Please follow all directions to ensure a smooth process.

Student Responsibilities

  • Be available and responsive to requests from your advising department advisor. Communicate regularly on progress and problems.
  • Be independent and self-motivated in research, and take personal responsibility for learning.
  • Ask for help when needed.
  • Meet deadlines and accomplish goals established by advising department advisor.
  • Manage time wisely to maximize completion of a degree in a timely manner.
  • Represent your advising department, your advising department advisor, and GDPE in a professional manner.
  • Develop a research proposal that will allow for eventual publication of results.
  • Be an active member of the advising department advisor’s lab.
  • Collaborate with and help other students.
  • Network with other faculty and other students within the university and at professional meetings. Attend and present research at these meetings.
  • Be aware of funding opportunities: investigate and apply for additional funding sources for research projects, fees, and tuition.
  • Be aware of and take responsibility for advising department, GDPE, and university policies; requirements; deadlines; and timelines.
  • Graduate and be successful!

Advisor Responsibilities

  • Communicate clearly to the student what the funding situation, expectations, and philosophy are with regard to program goals and benchmarks signifying adequate progress. This should be done early in the student’s program. Conduct and open discussion about publications, authorship, reports, applying for grants to help support research, and fellowships to cover stipends.
  • Work with the student to identify a thesis/dissertation top that matches the student’s interests and builds upon their strengths.
  • Work with the student to develop a program of study complementary to their thesis/dissertation topic.
  • Help the student navigate the requirements for a degree from GDPE, including; forming a committee, writing a research prospectus, planning coursework, completing the GS6, and scheduling required meetings and exams.
  • Guide the student through the process of obtaining necessary research permits and assist with research logistics as necessary.
  • Encourage students to make presentations about their research often, locally, and at scientific conferences; support them as much as possible but also encourage students to seek additional funding opportunities for attending conferences; provide guidance on how to make effective scientific presentations either individually or in a group (lab) setting.
  • Work with the student to improve their scientific writing and enhance their communication skills overall.
  • Help students publish their work in appropriate peer-reviewed journals.
  • Help establish connections with other scientists who might be useful in the student’s research and future career prospects.
  • Provide help and instruction when the student hits roadblocks, whether in research, coursework, university processes, committee selection, etc.
  • Be willing to serve as a reference for the student for years down the road.

If you are planning on graduating this semester, please review the following lists.

You must be enrolled in at least one credit or continuous registration for the semester in which you graduate.
All forms that require the Department Head’s signature need to be signed by GDPE (not your advising department chair). Please work with the GDPE Program Coordinator, Dawn Koschnitzki, to get appropriate signatures and your form submitted.

Procedures for completing the GS25:

  1. Review your program of study on RamWeb to make sure that all of the credits you proposed have been taken.
  2. If there are credits missing, review your unofficial transcript on RamWeb to identify which credits were taken instead.
  3. Work on a draft copy of your GS25 to drop credits that you did not take and add credits your took instead. Note: if you took additional courses beyond those you proposed on your GS6, you are not required to add them to your GS25.
  4. Write in the following for Departmental Requirements: “Complete GDPE Student Survey” Note: You are responsible for GDPE departmental requirements, not those of your advising department
  5. Save the draft GS25 to pdf and email draft copy to Dr. Neuwald ( You will be notified to make corrections, if necessary.
  6. Once you receive approval from Dr. Neuwald, go to RamWeb and submit your on-line GS25
  7.  Coordinate with Dawn Koschnitzki to obtain GDPE signatures and submit your form to the Graduate School. Note: DO NOT have your advising department chair sign the “Department Head” line!!!

Other items due to the Graduate School during your graduation semester:

(Please check Graduate School deadline dates to confirm due dates, we recommend submitting at least 10 days prior to deadline)

  1. GS24 – Report of Final Examination Results (Due within 2 days of your final defense exam!)
  2. GS30 – Thesis/Dissertation Submission Form
  3. GS31 – Embargo Request (optional)
  4. Survey for Earned Doctorates (PhD only)
  5. Electronic copy of thesis/dissertation (formatted according to GS guidelines)
  6. GS25B – Departmental Requirements Clearance (Complete GDPE Student Survey)

Note: The GS30 and GS31 must be submitted before your thesis/dissertation can be approved. Submit the GS30 as soon as possible after your defense. Please coordinate with our Program Coordinator (Dawn Koshnitzki) to get your GS25B signed and submitted.

Critical Reminders: Before your Defense

  1. Make sure that your committee on record is current. Use GS9A to make any changes.
  2. Check with any committee members who have affiliate status in their departments to make sure their appointment is current.
  3. Submit your defense announcement at least 2 weeks prior to your defense.

Need to Reapply?:

If you already submitted your GS25 during a previous semester, you will need to log into RAMWeb to reapply. Make sure to change the graduation semester to the current semester.

Please contact the GDPE Assistant Director, Dr. Jennifer Neuwald (, if you have any questions about your GS-25. Please contact the GDPE Program Coordinator, Dawn Koschnitzki ( if you have any questions about your defense or your GS25B.