Set up Programs

The second step: Setting up each Program

From the Department Profile page's Programs tab, click on the Edit this Program button to get to the Program Profile screen.


Here's a google sheet template you can duplicate to fill in and then share with your grad program administration team. Make sure you read the section on Stages, Milestones, and Requirements, below.

Basic Info

Provide the common name and formal name of the program (e.g. PhD, Doctor of Philosophy).


We will be adding settings here as new program-specific settings are suggested to us by users.

For now, the only setting is the list of subfields in the program. These are listed on students' profile pages. Simply add them, edit, and delete them as necessary. Note that deleting one will not delete it from students' profiles.

Administrators (Under construction)

This tab allows you to add program-specific Administrators, who will be able to see all faculty in the department but only students in this program. However this feature is still under construction and not available. If you have a strong use-case for it, please let us know about it at

About Stages, Milestones, and Requirements In Prograds, the main sequential stages of the program are called Stages. For a PhD, for example, these are often: Coursework, Comprehensive Exams, Dissertation Proposal (Prospectus), Dissertation, and Awaiting Defense. There is no enforcement of the sequence of Stages in Prograds. Stage transitions are implemented manually for each student by administrative users from the student's profile page. It's important to understand that Stages are set manually and students occupy a stage until they have been progressed to the next one. So, for example, while there might be a stage called Comprehensive Exams, the individual exams with dates would be best set up as Milestones within the Comprehensive Exams Stage. When the milestone is complete and approved, then the student can moved to the next stage (i.e. Candidacy or Prospectus or whatever your program specifies). Milestones are the key progress markers in Prograds. They are ordered and must be placed within Stages. For example, choosing a committee and getting it approved is a typical Milestone within the Proposal/Prospectus Stage. There is no enforcement of the sequence of Milestones in Prograds; the milestones to be completed simply display on students' pages in the order defined by their ideal dates in months from program entry, which are set here on the Program Profile page. Milestones are baked into the program. Students can only be exempted from Milestones; they can’t be deleted from a Student’s record. Requirements are things that must be completed but do not have a sequence or depend on completion of prior stages, milestones, or requirements. Examples include being a Teaching Assistant or certifying competence in a second language. Requirements are more flexible than Milestones — student-specific requirements can be added by administrators and supervisors. Milestones and Requirements have Ideal Dates and Deadline Dates that are set by the Department. These dates are in months and are relative to each Student's Program Entry Date. So, for example, an Exam that should be taken after two years of coursework would likely have an Ideal Date of 24 months and a Deadline Date of perhaps 28 months. The ideal date is there to allow for reminders to go out indicating that a milestone’s ideal date is approaching or has passed; we hope this provides a lower-stress way to keep students progressing. Milestones and Requirements have completion and approved indicators for each student. Milestones and Requirements have an exempt indicator for each student. Completion, Exemption, and Approvals are logged for audit purposes. You can view the history of a given Milestone or Requirement from a little clock icon on the right side of the milestones and requirements items. Note: When Milestones and Requirements are added to an existing department, they populate to all Students (with status marked not complete). Note: When new Students are created, the Program's Milestone's and Requirements populate to the student.


PhD Programs, for example, will typically have four to six stages. These are very common across North American programs and increasingly elsewhere. You may want to use, for example:

  1. Admitted
  1. Coursework (could be year 1 or year 2 although that is already something indicated automatically in Prograds)
  1. Comprehensive (or Qualifying or Prelim) Exams
  1. Dissertation Proposal / Prospectus
  1. Dissertation
  1. Awaiting Defense / Defended
  1. Graduated (although there is a Graduated indicator on the student record in Prograds, so this is really unnecessary).
You can filter the student listing by Stage and also classify funding events by stage to get a report on funding at each stage.


Within Stages there are usually things that need to be completed to move to the next stage. We call these Milestones. Some are formal and required for continuing status and progress in the Grad School. But others are all the smaller micro-milestones that are defined at the program level and appear in a Graduate Program Handbook.

In Prograds, Students can indicate when Milestones are completed and then administrators can approve completion. Note that the program sets a setting on each Milestone to say whether that Milestone can be approved by the supervisor.

When you enter Milestones, you must place them within a Stage. You can provide a description that will appear when that Milestone is opened from a Student page. And you can attach files to each Program Milestone that will be available to each student in their version of that milestone — forms, for example.

Milestones should have Ideal Dates and Deadline Dates. These dates are in months and are attached to students relative to each Student's Program Entry Date. When these dates are passed, the Milestones show as Past Due on the Faculty Dashboard and the Student Page, as well as in the monthly status report emails that go to students and their supervisors. Note also that if a student has been in the program for a year or more, when they first create their account there will be Milestones and Requirements that are overdue and will simply need to be marked complete by the student, with a completion date.

The order of Milestones within Stages is determined by their Ideal Date. On the student progress page’s Milestones section the Milestones will be automatically sorted by Stage.

Milestones can be used creatively to signpost things that need to be done by students and supervisors. Don't hesitate to use them simply as a signalling mechanism. They needn't be limited to the formal steps in the program. Something like "Choose 2nd term courses" can be a Milestone that serves mainly as a reminder for the student to initiate a discussion with the advisor/supervisor. For these kinds of Milestones you’ll likely want to set them to allow the supervisor to approve them.

Milestones are baked into the program. Students can only be exempted from Milestones or the dates changed by administrators; Milestones can’t be deleted from a Student’s record.


Requirements are simply checklist items that should be completed at some point in the program. Administrative users can exempt students from Requirements by opening the Requirement from the Student's page.

Requirements have the same date and completion features as Milestones. Requirements are only approved by administrators; they can’t be approved by supervisors.

Requirements have descriptions and can have files attached, just like Milestones.



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Last updated on June 7, 2022