FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Eligibility to Serve on Graduate Examination Committees FAQ

  1. Who has the authority to review and approve assignments to committees and to specific roles such as advisor or chair?

    All appointments to graduate examination committees must first be approved by the program’s Director of Graduate Studies. The collegiate dean or their designated representative at the collegiate level must also review and approve all appointments as advisor and all committee assignments. This responsibility may not be delegated to individual graduate programs.

  2. Can someone who is from outside the University and an expert in the area of the student’s research serve as the chair of the master’s final, doctoral preliminary or doctoral final oral examination committee?

    Persons who are expert in the area of the student’s research may serve on a master’s or doctoral examination committee, subject to program and college approval, but may not serve as advisor or chair.

  3. Are colleges required to approve advisor assignments at the time the student is admitted?

    No. The college approves the advisor when the membership of the preliminary and final oral examination committees is proposed.

  4. Is a faculty member who earned a Ph.D. degree at a non-U.S. university that is judged to be equivalent to an accredited institution in the U.S. eligible to serve on a doctoral preliminary or final oral examination committee?

    Yes.

  5. What is meant by “nonacademic relationship” with respect to an individual’s eligibility to serve on the preliminary or final oral examination committee?

    “Nonacademic relationship” refers to an individual’s personal or financial relationship with the student — e.g., the individual is a member of the student’s family, or is the student’s spouse, partner or friend, or employs the student in a capacity not related to the student’s education. It does not include professional relationships — e.g., an individual who supervises the student’s research at the company where the student is employed.

  6. How can I find out who is eligible to serve as graduate examination committee members for my program?

    For a current list of individuals who are eligible to serve on graduate examination committees in the various roles for your program, refer to the Faculty Role List.

  7. Can an emeritus faculty serve on a committee or as an advisor for a student?

    Emeritus faculty and faculty who have left the University may continue serving as advisor or on examination committees that were active at the time of their departure from the University, if both the faculty member and student agree in writing. New assignments for emeritus faculty or faculty who have left the University fall into the category of outside expert. Graduate programs may choose to appoint emeritus faculty or an outside expert as adjunct faculty with graduate education responsibilities in order for the individual to serve as advisor or chair. The individuals who have graduate education responsibilities in a particular program and therefore are eligible to serve as graduate examination committee members for that program are identified in the Faculty Role Database. Inclusion of individuals in this database is determined by program and collegiate processes. For a current list of individuals who are eligible to serve on graduate examination committees in the various roles for your program, refer to the Faculty Role Database.

  8. Who can serve as a co-advisor?

    A co-advisor has all of the same responsibilities as an advisor and therefore must meet the same eligibility requirements as an advisor.

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