The Madison Plan of Study form is your "contract", if you will, with the foundation that outlines the path you plan to take to earn your master's degree. In it, you will specify the courses you expect to take at Ashland, roughly when you will take them, and the track you will take to finish your degree.

Keep in mind that this is a plan. As you well know, plans can (and often do) change. It's hard to project the courses that will be offered in any given semester two or more years out. Today, you may plan to finish by way of the qualifying examination, but it's entirely possible you may discover in your studies some aspect of the American experience that sparks a new plan to write a thesis or develop a capstone project. This is fine and entirely normal. Your program advisor will work with you to amend your plan of study at that time.

Note: Fellows are responsible for submitting the MAHG or MASTAHG program description, course descriptions, and program acceptance letter to the James Madison Foundation. Please also note that the foundation prefers that fellowship forms be typed rather than hand-written. For your convenience, we've created a fillable PDF of the Plan of Study form with several Ashland-specific fields already completed for you.

Here's how you should complete the Plan of Study:

Section I: Degree Information

  • Fellow's name - Please enter your complete, legal name.
  • University at which you have matriculated - Enter "Ashland University".
  • School of university in which you are enrolled - Enter "College of Arts and Sciences".
  • Exact name of degree - Enter "Master of Arts".
  • Subject of degree
    • Students enrolled in the MAHG program should enter "American History and Government"
    • Students enrolled in the MASTAHG program should enter "Teaching American History and Government".
  • Minimum number of credit hours/courses required for your degree
    • MAHG students should enter 32
    • MASTAHG students should enter 36.
  • Ashland University operates on a semester calendar. 

Section II: Acceptance of Summer Institute Credits

  • Check the "6 Semester Credits" box.
  • Your academic advisor will complete and sign as the university official.

Section III: Description of Coursework

As noted above, this is a plan and you should not consider this set in stone. It can be amended later, but you should make your best effort to project which courses you will take and roughly when you expect to take them. If you do make changes to your intended coursework or summative option, be certain to notify the Madison office as soon as possible. Changes to the courses listed on your plan may be made by simply notifying the Madison office by email that you will take, for example, course XYZ instead of course ABC that you listed on your POS. Changes to your completion track (qualifying exam, thesis, or capstone project) or changes in program (MAHG or MASTAHG) require filing a new Plan of Study.

Failing to notify them of changes to your Plan of Study may result in reimbursement delays.

Subsection A: Constitution-related coursework

This section must add up to 12 semester credit hours. Estimate the term in which you will take each course.

Enter the year you expect to attend the Foundations of American Constitutionalism program at Georgetown. For most fellows, this will be the year AFTER their award year. Thus, if you received your fellowship this year, you will attend Georgetown NEXT year. 

For the remaining lines, enter a total of 6 additional hours of constitution-related coursework you expect to take at Ashland. JMF will accept courses that focus on pre-20th century constitutional thought. Many AHG courses fit the constitutional study requirement. Some common ones include:

AHG 502 - American Founding

AHG 632 - The American Presidency I, Washington to Lincoln

AHG 633 - The American Presidency II, Johnson to the present

AHG 640 - The Congress

AHG 641 - The Supreme Court

AHG 643 - Constitutional Rights and Powers

Additionally, some sections of AHG 510 - Great American Texts, AHG 630 - American Statesmen, and AHG 660 - Topics in American History and Government may meet the constitutional study requirement. The topics of these courses vary, but sometimes will include constitutional topics. For example, a section of AHG 510 on The Federalist Papers, a section of AHG 630 on John Marshall, or a section of AHG 660 on the ratification debate may fulfill the requirement. Since it is difficult to predict when particular topics will be offered, we suggest listing the courses enumerated above in your plan of study. If one of these varying topics courses appears on a future schedule and you wish to take it as one of your constitutional courses, you can amend your POS at that time by emailing Sheila Osbourne at the Madison office.

Tally up the number of credit hours and enter the subtotal where indicated. 

Subsection B: Other coursework, including thesis credit if applicable

Include here all other courses you will take for your degree. MAHG and MASTAHG students should be sure to include here any core course NOT listed for constitutional study purposes in section A, plus as many AHG electives are are needed to complete the degree. MASTAHG students should also list their education core courses here. 

IMPORTANT: The full 12 hour AHG core is required of all students. Be sure your POS includes AHG 501, AHG 502, AHG 503, AHG 505, AHG 506, and AHG 510.

Tally up the number of credit hours and enter the subtotal where indicated.

Subsection C: Courses taken prior to fellowship for credit toward degree

If you were awarded your fellowship after you began work on your degree at Ashland, OR you have completed coursework elsewhere you wish to transfer to Ashland, enter those courses here. MAHG students are limited to 6 hours of transfer credit, which will be covered by the Georgetown hours. MASTAHG students may transfer in up to 9 hours, of which 6 will be covered by the Georgetown hours. Please be sure to consult and receive approval from your advisor prior to listing transfer credits here. DO NOT include transfer credits from Georgetown.

Tally up the number of credit hours and enter the subtotal where indicated. 

Subsection D: Other degree requirements

All MASTAHG students and those MAHG students on the qualifying exam track should enter AHG 693 - Qualifying Exam. AHG 693 is worth zero credit hours.

MAHG students on the thesis or capstone project tracks should leave this section blank. 

Tally up the number of credit hours and enter the subtotal where indicated. 

Subsection E: Master's thesis

MAHG students on the thesis track should enter AHG 691 - Thesis. AHG 691 is worth 4 credit hours.

MAHG students on the capstone project track should enter AHG 692 - Capstone Project. AHG 692 is worth 4 credit hours.

Please note that the foundation encourages fellows to choose the qualifying exam or capstone project tracks. Nonetheless, you may choose the thesis track if you wish. Please be aware that the foundation requires theses to focus on a constitution-related topic. Indicate your intended topic on the POS in Section E.

Don't stress over this now. As noted, you are permitted to change tracks or topics.

If you have chosen the exam track, leave this section blank. 

Tally up the number of credit hours and enter the subtotal where indicated. 

Tally the total number of credit hours listed and enter the Total Hours where indicated. The total should equal 32 hours for MAHG students and 36 hours for MASTAHG students. For MAHG students, section B, C, D, and E together should total 20 credit hours; for MASTAHG students, these four sections should total 24 credit hours.

MAHG students should also keep in mind that 16 of the 32 credit hours must be completed in residence during the summer semester at Ashland. Please keep this in mind as you plan out your semester-by-semester load. Additionally, we strongly encourage students to take no more than one course at a time during the fall and spring semesters (that is, no more than one course per eight week session for a total of up to TWO courses per semester).  

You are strongly encouraged to use the fillable PDF version of the POS form (link provided above). Complete a first draft and email it to Chris Pascarella at the MAHG office. He will review your POS with your advisor.  If revisions are needed, the POS will be returned to you with comments and suggestions. If all looks good, they will sign it and forward it to Madison for you. A copy will be kept on file at the MAHG program office. It is not necessary for you to print and sign the first draft. We set the form up for signing online once it is approved.