University of Minnesota  Administrative Policy

Graduate Advisor and Examination Committee Membership: Eligibility Requirements

Policy Statement

This policy governs who is eligible to serve on master’s final examination committees and doctoral preliminary oral and final oral examination committees in the following roles:

  • Advisor
  • Chair
  • Committee member
  • Reviewer

I. Eligibility to Serve on Graduate Examination Committees

  1.  University tenured or tenure-track faculty who hold an earned doctorate or designated equivalent in an appropriate field from an accredited institution are  eligible to serve in any role on master’s final, doctoral preliminary oral, and doctoral final oral examination committees, including as advisor.
  2. University non-tenure or non-tenure track faculty (including adjunct, term, or contract faculty) who hold an earned doctorate or designated equivalent in an appropriate field from an accredited institution are  eligible to serve in any role on master’s final, doctoral preliminary oral, and doctoral final oral examination committees, including as advisor.
  3. Emeritus (retired) faculty and tenured or non-tenured faculty who have left the University are eligible to continue with all advisor and/or examination committee assignments that were approved and active at the time of their departure, if the faculty member and the student both agree to the continuation in writing.
  4. Academic staff who hold an earned doctorate or designated equivalent in an appropriate field from an accredited institution, but who do not hold any faculty appointment (tenured, tenure-track, adjunct, term, or contract) are eligible to serve in any role on master’s final examination committees, including advisor, and to serve on doctoral preliminary oral and doctoral final oral examination committees except in the roles of advisor or chair. They also may co-advise and/or co-chair doctoral preliminary and final oral examinations with a co-advisor/co-chair who represents the student’s major field and is a tenured or tenure-track faculty member.
  5. Experts outside of the University who do not hold any faculty appointments (adjunct, term, or contract) at the University are eligible to serve on master’s final examination committees, doctoral preliminary oral and doctoral final oral examination committees except in the roles of advisor or chair. All appointments of outside experts to graduate examination committees must be reviewed at the collegiate level according to a review process and criteria specified by the collegiate unit.
  6. Individuals having a nonacademic relationship with the student are not eligible to serve as that student’s advisor or on that student’s examination committee.
  7. Individuals working toward a graduate degree at the University are not eligible to serve as advisor.  Participation as an examination committee member is not allowed unless an exception has been granted by the Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Education.

II. Assignment of Graduate Examination Committee Roles

  1. Graduate programs must assign roles to individuals serving on graduate examination committees subject to collegiate level approval according to a review process and criteria specified by the collegiate unit.
  2. Collegiate deans or their designated representatives must review for approval all assignments as advisor.

III. Exceptions

This policy does not apply to the J.D., M.D., Pharm.D., D.V.M., D.D.S, L.L.M. and M.B.A. [Twin Cities] degrees.

Reason for Policy

To ensure quality, consistency, and fairness in standards and practices for assignments as advisor, final examinations of master’s candidates and preliminary and final examinations of doctoral candidates.

Contacts

Subject Contact Phone Fax/Email
Primary Contact(s) Toni Abts 612-625-7579 [email protected]

Definitions

Academic Staff
Academic professionals who parallel faculty in having the requisite preparation and specialized knowledge in an academic discipline or field.
Designated equivalent
A terminal post-baccalaureate degree qualifying the recipient to teach at the university level in their field. Example: MFA.
Non-academic relationship
A personal or financial relationship financial relationship not connected with the student's academic program.

Responsible Individuals

Responsible Officer
Rachel Croson
Executive Vice President and Provost
Owner
Scott Lanyon
Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Education
Primary Contact
Toni Abts

Responsibilities

Collegiate Units
  • Maintain a set of publicly available standards, processes, and forms for appointments to all roles on graduate examination committees with special attention to requirements for advisors and for chairs of the doctoral examination committees.
  • Review and approve all assignments as adviser (including co-advisors).
  • Review and approve all examination committee assignments.
Graduate Programs
  • Programs are responsible for maintaining a current list of individuals with Graduate Education Responsibilities (GER) and updating the Faculty Role List Database.

Related Information

History

Amended:
January 2022 - Comprehensive review. Minor revisions.
  1. Expanded the eligibility to co-advise that reflects current practice.
  2. Added a definition of academic staff.
  3. Minor edits to improve clarity.
  4. Title change.
Amended:
June 2017 - Comprehensive Review, Minor Revision: 1. Revised the title of the policy to reflect its purpose more clearly. 2. Clarified the goal of this policy relative to other related policies and moved elements of the policy into related policies. 3. Simplified and organized the criteria with regards to the roles on each type of committee and the criteria to be eligible to serve in each role. Created an appendix table to summarize the policy. 4. Reviewed the roles of outside experts as advisors and chairs of graduate examination committees. 5. Discussed development of a policy with regards to reinstating a “Graduate Faculty” at the central level.
Effective:
February 2011