Set up a Department

The first step: The Department Setup

In Prograds, the highest level of organization is the Department. Departments can have multiple programs.

1. Contact Prograds

We need to do the very first step to set up your department and add one person as the lead administrator, the Account Owner. So please write us at and we'll make that happen.

2. Activate your Administrator-role account

You'll get an invite email from us and you'll just need to set your password to get into Prograds.

Check out our Onboarding Plan and Sample Text for a plan for the next 3 weeks.

3. Set up the Department

You first set up your department.

You'll Set up Programs after you've got the department basics into the Prograds system. You can Create & Invite Users (Students and Faculty) after you've set up Programs.

In the top header bar, the gear icon will take you to the department and programs setup area.

Each of the tabs across the top of the Department Profile enables you to set and edit the features of your department. Go through them in order, from left to right. For each one, click the Edit button and put in the appropriate values.

Basic Info

  • Department name: The official name of the department, like Chemistry or Political Science. (Omit the "Department of")
  • University: Please use the full official name of the institution.
  • Department Abbreviation: The code for the department used in internal systems like course registration and HR. (e.g. CHEM or PSYC)
  • University_Department code: Use the standard abbreviation for the university, then an underscore, then the same abbreviation used above. (e.g. UBC_CHEM or UTK_HIST)
  • Account Owner is preset and can only be changed by Prograds support.


  • Department has labs: When this is on, labs are enabled and will display on faculty profiles and student profiles and progress pages. When it’s off the Labs setting tab is greyed out.
  • Academic Year start month: Enter the number of the month of the start of the academic year. This is important so we can display university-specific year-in-program information.
  • Users must consent to privacy / security agreement: If you switch this on you will see a text entry box to hold your department’s notification to users. We will show this when they first log in and record their agreement. If they do not agree, they will not be able to access prograds and will have to discuss it with the program administrators.
  • Students can add their own courses: This governs whether students can select from the list of courses you upload to populate their course listing. This can be a big time-saver, since in most cases this is not the system of record, it is only used so faculty can quickly see what courses a student took.
  • Students can change their own Supervisor and Committee. When this is on, students can select their supervisor and committee members on their profile page. When it’s off, only department admins can assign faculty to supervision and committee membership.
  • Students can set and edit their own Stage Transitions and Transition Dates. When this is on, students can move themselves from stage to stage and set those dates. This can be useful if you are onboarding a lot of students who are already well into the degree.
  • Number of days before deadlines that notifications will be sent. You can change this at any time to change the lead time for notifications in your department. All students receive a monthly email that indicates, for milestones and requirements, when they are:
    • Overdue
    • Approaching the due date (within the number of days specified by this setting)
    • Past the idea date but not yet approaching the due date
    • Approaching the ideal date (within the number of days specified by this setting)

Note: Notifications will not be sent for Milestones and Requirements until after 30 days from the time they are created. This allows departments to create student accounts, their milestones and requirements get populated, and then there is a 30 day period before those milestones and requirements would be included in the monthly emails.

  • Students can add their own Funding and Employment items. These settings give the students the ability to enter Funding and Employment items. If they are off, only admins can enter these items on a student’s progress page.
  • ... more: we'd like to hear from you what settings would be useful at the department level.


On this tab you add co-administrators. It's likely they won't have Prograds accounts, so just enter their name and the official university email that they use. Prograds will send them an invite to create an account. Once that's done, they have the same privileges as you. The only difference is that they can't remove the initial Account Owner's administrative role. (If that's necessary, contact

More details are available on how to Add and Remove Administrators.

Email Notifications. There is a toggle setting for each administrator that says whether they receive email notifications when automatic notifications go out to students for upcoming or overdue milestones and requirements.


On the programs tab you can create a Program simply by entering its name (e.g. MA, PhD, MPP, MBA). The Program's details will be entered and edited on the Program Settings page. After a Program is created, a button on this tab will take you to the Program Settings page.

Funding Sources

Funding sources are set at the Department level, not the Prograum level. Your list of funding sources is used only to fill in details when a Funding item is created for a student. However Funding items can also be entered manually, without being given one of these funding sources.

Funding sources include awards, stipends, scholarships, employment (TA, RA, etc.), and research funding.

Specify a name, a source type (optional), a value (optional), maximum months (optional), and whether it is research or teaching. When users create a new Funding item for a student they can pull in these options but they can also be changed. If at a later date you update a Funding Source name or value it will not change existing funding items that used that Funding Source.


Because the Instructor is drawn from the list of Faculty in the Department, it is best to wait to populate courses until all Faculty have been invited to Prograds. (See Create & Invite Users (Students and Faculty)). If you have faculty who should be listed as Course instructors but cannot have accounts (i.e. have left the department), contact us at with a list of names of those and we will add those names to the Faculty list without creating accounts.

Courses are defined at the Department level and then attached to students' records. There is nothing student-specific about a particular course.

Courses have a Code, Instructor (from Dept Faculty listing), Year, and Title.

Courses can be entered manually or uploaded as a csv file.

Courses in Prograds are not meant to be a system of record with grades. They are meant only for informational purposes to show what courses a student has taken and (optionally) is taking.

To upload from a csv file, you must provide a comma-separated values file (csv) with only four column headers named with exactly these items, case-sensitive, without any leading or trailing spaces: Code, Year, Instructor_LastName, Title.

The Department Settings allow for Student-entered course number/title for departments that wish to do so.


If the Department is set to have labs (see Settings above), you simply add Labs with a Director (PI) and the name of the lab. At this time, funding and labs are not connected in Prograds, but you can set a Funding Source type (see above) to be a lab or labs in general.

Check out our Onboarding Plan and Sample Text for a sequence of steps and text you can use to communicate with faculty and students.
That's it. You're set up. You can edit these settings anytime from the gear icon at the right of the header bar. Now you can move on to set up your Programs.

contact us at


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Last updated on June 1, 2022