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
Doctoral student oral examinations include the doctoral comprehensive oral exam and the doctoral final oral exam (i.e., dissertation defense) and must adhere to the following requirements:
- Doctoral committees are composed of at least five voting members;
- The majority of committee members serving on a doctoral student oral examination committee must be tenured/tenure-track faculty holding regular or dissertation graduate faculty status in the candidate’s department/program of study. Tenured/tenure-track faculty who are appointed as courtesy faculty within the program/department are considered (for the purposes of committee composition) to be faculty of that program/department;
- 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, 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); and
- Beyond the majority requirement, the additional member may hold any graduate faculty status, including regular, dissertation, or special status. This fifth member can be, but need not be, a member of the candidate’s department/program. For more information, see the policy on Graduate Faculty appointments.
As long as the conditions above are met, the committee may include more than five members.
The doctoral committee chair must hold dissertation status. While committees are not required to have a co-chair, the student or the committee members may decide to select a co-chair. The co-chair can hold any graduate faculty status.
Substitutions of the committee chair (and/or co-chair) are prohibited after the committee has been approved by the Graduate Division of the school/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 members hold regular or dissertation graduate faculty status. Special members can be added after the committee has been approved by the Graduate Division of the school/college, but these additions must be approved by the Graduate Division in advance of the exam.
Graduate Studies will manage any exceptions to the policy outlined above. Program requests for exceptions should be routed through the appropriate school/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 resulted in the request.
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.