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Areas of Specialization and Program Tracks

Section 8.5 of the Graduate School Handbook

A graduate specialization represents a significant, widely recognized division of an overall field of study that is broader than an individual faculty member’s area of interest or an individual student’s thesis or dissertation topic. A graduate program track is a specific series of courses and/or other curricular requirements that may be selected by students who wish to develop depth in a particular discipline area. 

Both areas of graduate specialization and program tracks must be within the student's graduate program. Specializations that lie outside the student's program are designated as graduate minors or GIS. 

Program of Study. Graduate specializations are approved by the Graduate School for the student’s graduate degree program. The student, together with their advisor, may select an approved specialization and forward a request for approval to the local Graduate Studies Committee. If the committee approves the student’s request, the committee forwards the request, together with notice of approval, to the Graduate School.

Upon the student’s graduation, the Graduate School posts the graduate specialization in the student’s permanent record so that it appears on the student’s Ohio State transcript with the student’s graduate program. 

Unlike graduate specializations and minors, program tracks are not formally approved by the Graduate School, and are not designated on the student’s transcript. The completion of a program track is administered at the program level. Approval by the Graduate School of new program tracks or substantial changes to program tracks is required only when the changes constitute at least 50% of the existing graduate program.