Ph.D. Student Handbook

Administrative Structure & Advising


The Ph.D. Program Committee (Ph.D. Committee) is responsible for oversight and design of the Ph.D. Program. In collaboration with the GPA and the Office of Academic Services, the Ph.D. Committee handles all administrative and procedural issues related to each student from admittance to graduation. The Ph.D. Committee coordinates the program’s activities with other graduate programs and administrative bodies in JSIS and the UW. The Ph.D. Committee also undertakes active assessment of the Ph.D. program and its students and can make adjustments to procedures, curriculum, and requirements to improve the quality of the program. The Ph.D. Committee will regularly consult with the JSIS faculty and the Director of the Jackson School.

The Ph.D. Committee aims to be representative of a range of disciplines, regional areas of expertise, faculty rank, and gender. The voting members of the Ph.D. committee include a Chair (who is the Director of the Ph.D. Program) and typically five other members of the JSIS faculty. The 2019-2020 Ph.D. Committee is comprised of Drs. Nathalie Williams (Director), Noam Pianko, Sara Curran, Christian Novetzke, Tony Lucero, and Clair Yang. The Director of the Jackson School (Dr. Resat Kasaba), the Director of the Office of Academic Services (Dr. Katherine Kim), and the GPA (Rebecca Alhadeff) also sit on the Ph.D. Committee, but without a voting role.


The 2020-2021 Director is Dr. Nathalie Williams. The Ph.D. Program Director is responsible for serving as the Chair of the PhD Committee and for the overall direction of the Ph.D. Program, including management of routine program activities and assessment and adjustment to the program, in collaboration with the Ph.D. Committee. The Director also works to ensure effective communication with the students and faculty. The Director can make decisions regarding individual student requests for deviations from the typical schedule or requirements of the program, on a case-by-case basis. In collaboration with the GPA, the Director is also responsible for monitoring student progress and reporting unsatisfactory progress or other student problems to the Graduate School.


The Graduate Program Adviser is currently Rebecca Alhadeff. She is responsible for advising and assisting students on administrative matters related to the Ph.D. program, specifically degree requirements, policies and procedures, and graduation requirements. As the first point of contact for Ph.D. students, the GPA directs students to the appropriate resources or advisers for matters that require additional decision-making on non-administrative matters.


All first-year doctoral students are assigned a Jackson School Faculty Adviser (FA), who is appointed in line with the students’ expressed research interests. FAs serve as a main point of faculty contact during the first year and are valuable resources for students on specific intellectual trajectories, graduate classes, grant and fellowship applications, doctoral dissertations, etc.

From the beginning of the first year, students should begin formulating a dissertation prospectus under the guidance of their FAs.  To that end, FAs play a central role in guiding students toward other faculty who can support the student to make concrete progress on their dissertation prospectus in the first year and who can serve on their formal Doctoral Supervisory Committee (“Supervisory Committee”). In consultation with students, FAs may or may not go on to serve as Chairs or Members of the Supervisory Committee. All FAs and/or Supervisory Committee Chairs are advised to acquaint themselves with their obligations and deadlines in the Ph.D. Program as they supervise the work of students. For that purpose, a streamlined checklist is provided by the program. See the section on the Doctoral Committees for further information.