Composition of Ph.D. Exam and Thesis Committees
The student’s doctoral guidance committee consists of at least five persons, a majority whom must be full members of the Graduate Faculty. Other committee members may be faculty from other institutions, scholars from industry, or others whose expertise is relevant to the dissertation. Such individuals must obtain Special Appointments to the Graduate Faculty (next paragraph) At least one committee member must hold the rank of Associate Professor or higher.
The student names the committee by submitting Part I of the Graduate School form Report of Doctoral Committee Composition. Proposed committee members who are not already members of the Graduate Faculty must be appointed as Special members of the Graduate Faculty for the purpose of serving on this guidance committee.* For each proposed committee member who is not on the Graduate Faculty, a curriculum vitae and the Graduate School form “Recommendation for Appointment to Membership on the Graduate Faculty” should be attached. The dissertation adviser serves as committee chair, unless the adviser is not a Computer Science faculty member, in which event a Computer Science faculty member serves as chair.
As a rule, all regular and research faculty in Computer Science are full members of the graduate faculty. The other categories of membership are Limited and Special; these are used when non-faculty persons are enlisted for service on guidance committees. Check with the department’son the status of a faculty member if there is any doubt about the status of potential committee members.
The Ph.D. guidance committee must include five members, but since a 2/3 vote is required to pass the student on the oral exam and on the defense, some students add a sixth member to the committee to allow two dissenting votes and still pass exams. With only five members, two dissenters result in a failure. On the other hand, meetings of larger committees are more difficult to schedule, and additional committee members are additional people who must approve the dissertation document.
*In order to appoint a non Graduate Faculty committee member, a curriculum vitae must be submitted to the Student Services Manager, who will then submit that and a form to the Graduate School for an appointment recommendation.