Doctoral Committees

Doctoral Supervisory Committee

The Supervisory Committee is comprised of a Chair, a Graduate School Representative (GSR), and at least two additional faculty members. All appointed Supervisory Committee members are voting members of the committee. With the exception of the GSR, committee members are scholars with expertise in the student’s regional, theoretical or methodological areas of interest. These members are responsible for:

  • approving a course of study which will fulfill the general course requirements of the student’s major and supporting fields;
  • conducting the student’s Preliminary Exam;
  • conducting the student’s General Exam;
  • approving the Candidate’s dissertation proposal; and
  • conducting the Candidate’s Final Exam.

Chair: The Chair of the Supervisory Committee assumes principal responsibility for advising the student, attends the preliminary, general, and final exams and any additional committee meetings, and signs the dissertation signature page acknowledging approval of the dissertation and completion of the degree.

GSR: The GSR is a voting member of the Supervisory Committee who does not have a primary, joint, or affiliate appointment at the Jackson School. The GSR must attest to having no conflict of interest, defined by the Graduate School as having no budgetary, personal, research and/or publication-related relationships. The GSR’s responsibilities are to represent the broad concerns of the University with respect to high standards of scholarly performance; provide, for the Graduate School, a non-specialist’s view of the quality of the student’s work, ensuring that the student’s mastery of the subject matter is broad and comprehensive; assure that all procedures are carried out fairly and according to the guidelines of the Graduate School; participate in conducting both the General and Final examinations; assure that the required 4 members are present for the exams – Chair, GSR, and at least two other members.

Members: It is possible to appoint non-UW faculty members to your committee. It is also possible to appoint non-faculty members to your committee if they have specific expertise needed for your work. You must ensure that the number of Graduate Faculty (including your Chair and GSR) outnumber the non-faculty committee members. For example, if you add two non-faculty, you must have three Graduate Faculty.

Details regarding the composition of a doctoral supervisory committee are located in Graduate School Memorandum 13.