Selecting and Changing a Special Committee


Forming a new committee

Students must select their special committee chair within three weeks of registering with the Graduate School. A temporary committee chair or the field’s director of graduate studies may assume the role for new students who have not yet identified a permanent committee chair. The faculty member who represents your major subject is considered the chair of your special committee. Your chair will supervise your thesis or dissertation work and will typically provide the facilities and supervision necessary to conduct your research. Students have a lot of flexibility when it comes to selecting members of a special committee. Any member of any graduate field may serve on a special committee, with occasional limits imposed on the faculty based on their field standing. Minor members are typically selected to add a breadth of expertise to the anticipated research topic.

Changing a committee

Changing the members of a special committee requires approval from all members of the newly formed committee. It does not require approval from members who are leaving the committee.

Master’s students may make changes at any point prior to three months before the final examination by visiting their Student Center. Doctoral students may make changes to their special committee at any time prior to the A exam. Committee changes after an A exam require the dean’s approval.

Although it occurs only infrequently, any member, including a chair, may resign from a special committee. It is the student’s responsibility to reconstitute their special committee if this occurs, often with guidance from the field. Students who do not have a complete, valid special committee may not register or continue in their program.