Doctoral Student Oral Exam Committee Composition
To establish the requisite configuration of members on doctoral student oral examination committees, which include the doctoral comprehensive oral exam and the doctoral final oral exam
All Lawrence/Edwards Campus Graduate students
Committee Composition Requirements
Doctoral student oral examinations include the doctoral comprehensive oral exam and the doctoral final oral exam (i.e., dissertation defense).
- Doctoral committees are composed of at least five voting members.
- All committee members must be members of the Graduate Faculty authorized to serve on doctoral exams.
- The committee chair must also be authorized to chair doctoral examinations.
- Except as provided in point 4.1, the majority of committee members must be tenured or tenure-track faculty in the candidate’s department or program of study. Tenured and tenure-track faculty who are appointed as courtesy faculty within a program or department are considered to be faculty of that program or department, for the purposes of committee composition.
- For approved professional doctorate programs (listed below), the internal or departmental majority may include one individual who holds a non-tenure-track faculty appointment in the student's department or program.
- One member must meet the requirements for serving as the Graduate Studies Representative. A faculty member from a different department with a courtesy appointment in the student’s department may serve as the Graduate Studies Representative or in fulfillment of the committee majority requirement but cannot serve in both roles at the same time. (For more information on the Graduate Studies Representative, see the policy listed in the Policy Library here).
- As long as the majority requirement is met, additional committee members may be, but need not be, a member of the candidate’s department or program.
As long as the conditions above are met, the committee may include more than five members.
While committees are not required to have a co-chair, the student or the committee members may decide to select a co-chair.
Substitutions of the committee chair (and/or co-chair) are prohibited after the committee has been approved by the Graduate Division of the School or College. If a committee chair (and/or co-chair) needs to be replaced, the revised committee must be approved by the Graduate Division in advance of the exam.
Substitutions of the committee members are permitted as long as the new committee meets the requirements above. Additional members can be added after the committee has been approved by the Graduate Division of the School or College. Additions and substitutions must be approved by the Graduate Division in advance of the exam.
Non-Tenure-Track Faculty as Internal Majority
The following doctoral programs are approved to include one member of the non-tenure-track faculty as part of the departmental or internal majority on exam committees, as stated above. Such non-tenure-track faculty include, but are not limited to, professors of the practice, clinical faculty, and/or research faculty.
- Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) programs
Graduate Studies will manage any exceptions to the policy outlined above. Program requests for exceptions should be routed through the appropriate school or college for approval and then forwarded to the Dean of Graduate Studies. Requests for exceptions should provide details of the exception requested and the extraordinary circumstances that have prompted the request.
02/14/2020: Policy change approved by Executive Council of Graduate Faculty and Provost Lejuez -- allows enumerated programs to appoint non-tenure-track faculty as internal majority committee members.
10/17/2019: Technical edit to align the language here with recent changes to the Graduate Faculty Appointments policy.
08/09/2018: Updated link to Dean's Letter to the Graduate Studies Representatives.
01/27/2015: Policy formatting cleanup (e.g., bolding, spacing).
10/21/2014: Policy formatting cleanup (e.g., bolding, spacing).
09/2014: This policy that specifically applies to doctoral student exams was developed from the preceding policy titled: Graduate Student Oral Exam Committee Composition. Prior to final approval by the Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, this policy was reviewed and endorsed by the academic deans and associate deans, directors of graduate study, school personnel, the Executive Committee of Graduate Faculty, and the Dean of Graduate Studies.
12/2012: Updates were made to the policy.
10/2012: Updates were made to the policy.
03/2012: The Office of the Provost approved Graduate Student Oral Exam Committee Composition policy.