Dissertation Committee Policy

Dissertation Committees

The dissertation committee supervises a student’s dissertation work, determines the acceptability of the dissertation, and serves as the final examining committee.

Full Graduate Faculty Policy


Deadlines

The dissertation committee must be on file with the Graduate School no later than 6 months prior to the final oral defense.


Appointment Procedures

Each department or program determines its own internal dissertation committee approval procedures. After the dissertation committee is approved by the department, the Graduate Coordinator submits the committee recommendation in GradWeb.

Once the Graduate School has reviewed and approved the committee, the student and department will receive an email confirming that the committee has been approved by the Graduate School.

Departmental policies for membership of doctoral committees should be guided by Graduate School policy, but may be more restrictive than Graduate School policy. Petitions for exceptions to Graduate School committee policies may be submitted using the general petition form.


Committee Membership

The dissertation committee consists of a minimum of four members, each with a particular role:

Chair(s)

The chair has principal responsibility for advising the student. They should have adequate time available for this work and should expect to be accessible to the student.

If co-chairs are appointed, both co-chairs share the responsibility for the student's progress

The following requirements apply:

  • The chair must be a tenure-related member of the graduate faculty who holds a doctoral degree.

  • For a tenure-related member of the Graduate Faculty from a department other than the student’s degree-granting department, the student’s department must have authorized that faculty member to serve as chair (or co-chair) using the dissertation committee service nomination form.

Once a faculty member is authorized to chair in another department, they remain authorized to chair in that department indefinitely, or until the department asks to change the faculty member’s status.

Once authorized to serve in that capacity for a department, the faculty member can no longer serve as institutional representative for the department on future committees.

Advisor

In those departments in which dissertation committees have both a chair and an advisor, the advisor(s) of a committee must be able and willing to assume principal responsibility for advising the student.

They should have adequate time available for this work and should expect to be accessible to the student. If co-advisors are appointed, both co-advisors share the responsibility for the student's progress.

In addition, the following requirements apply:

  • The faculty member must be a member of the graduate faculty with authorization to serve as advisor.

  • Professors of practice may be appointed to the graduate faculty and granted authorization to serve as a dissertation advisor in the student’s degree-granting department.
  • For a member of the graduate faculty from a department other than the student’s degree-granting department, the student’s department must have authorized that faculty member to serve as advisor using the dissertation committee service nomination form.

Once a faculty member is authorized to serve as advisor in another department, the authorization remains indefinitely, or until the department asks to change the faculty member’s status.

Once authorized to serve as an advisor for a department, the faculty member can no longer serve as institutional representative for the department on future committees, except in the:

  • Department of Biology
  • Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
  • Department of Physics

In these departments, if the advisor is not a member of the degree-granting department, the institutional representative must be from a different department or research institute than the advisor.

Core Members

At least one core member must be a member of the graduate faculty (including non-tenure-related members) from the student’s degree-granting department.

The remaining member may be a:

Institutional Representative

The institutional representative serves in the role of impartial, “outside” committee member who ensures that all rules and standard practices governing committee procedures are followed.

The institutional representative typically also offers substantive expertise related to the dissertation, although that is not required.

The institutional representative must meet the following requirements:

  • Must be a tenure-related member of the graduate faculty.

  • Must be from a University of Oregon department other than the student’s degree-granting department.

  • In the departments of biology, chemistry and biochemistry, and physics, where there the role of chair and advisor are separate, if the advisor is not a member of the degree-granting department, the institutional representative must be from a different department or research institute than the advisor.

Additional Core Members (optional)

Additional members may be appointed to the dissertation committee, at the discretion of the student’s degree-granting department.

An additional core nember may be a:

Interdisciplinary Doctoral Degree Programs

Each interdisciplinary degree program shall maintain a list of faculty members appointed to the program for purposes of graduate faculty membership and designated by the department as eligible to serve as chairs/advisors and core members or as core members only.

If a faculty member is appointed to serve as chairs/advisors or core members, they may not serve as institutional representatives for committees in that program.