Your graduate committee guides your course work and research and serves as your final examining committee. It is generally expected that all committee members or approved substitutes must be present for all formal meetings with the student (e.g. final oral exams). If you have a special case in which a committee member may need to participate remotely, you and your committee must assure that all the conditions listed below for remote participation are met. Your major professor serves as chair of these meetings.
Roles of committee members
- Major Professor: Your major professor (MP) is the committee member from your major field who serves as your primary academic advisor, your principal thesis advisor, and the general mentor for your academic program and your research. Your MP must be a Graduate Faculty member in your major department/program who is approved to direct students at your level. In some departments/programs, the student is responsible for selecting a MP; in others, the department/program assigns a MP in consultation with the student. Please check with your major department/program regarding local procedures.
- Minor Professor: The minor professor is the member on your committee who represents your minor department or field, if you have declared one. This person must be an approved Graduate Faculty member in this minor department/program. If you have an "integrated" minor, your minor professor cannot be from your major department/program but must be from one of the departments/programs represented by the courses in the minor.
- Graduate Council Representative: All Doctoral students and Master's students who are writing a thesis (as well as all MAIS students) are required to include a Graduate Council Representative on their committee. The Graduate Council Representative (GCR) serves in the role of impartial committee member who advocates for the student and insures that all rules governing committee procedures are followed. They must be present at your final defense of your thesis and are strongly encouraged to attend program meetings. GCRs are required at MAIS degree program meetings. You must select a GCR from the list generated by the online GCR list generation tool. Faculty can learn more about being a GCR on the GCR guidelines page.
- EdD, PhD: A minimum of five members of the Graduate Faculty, including two from the major department/program, one from each declared minor field, and a Graduate Council Representative are required. The major professor is one of the two members representing the major department/program. The committee can be completed with graduate faculty from other programs who have been nominated to serve on doctoral committees for the student’s program.
- MA, MBE, MCoun, Meng, MFA, MHP, MMP, MNR, MS, MocE, MPP, PSM:
- Non-Thesis: The examining committee consists of three members of the graduate faculty-two in the major field and one in the minor field if a minor is included. When a minor is not included, the third member may be from the graduate faculty at large.
- Thesis: The examining committee consists of at least four members of the graduate faculty-two in the major field, one in the minor field if a minor is included, and a Graduate Council representative. When a minor is not included, the fourth member may be from the graduate faculty at large.
- MAIS: A minimum of four members of the Graduate Faculty: one from each of three fields, and a Graduate Council Representative are required. The member representing the primary field is the major professor.
- MAT: A minimum of two members of the Graduate Faculty from the major department and one member of the Graduate Faculty representing the teaching speciality are required. The major professor is one of the two members representing the major department/program.
- EdM: Individual committees are usually not established for students in these programs. Each student will need to identify a Graduate Faculty member from the major department and Graduate Faculty member representing the minor department if a minor is declared.
- MF: Two members of the Graduate Faculty from the major department; one member of the Graduate Faculty from the minor if a minor is declared, otherwise another member of the Graduate Faculty; and a Graduate Council Representative if a thesis is involved. The major professor is one of the two members representing the major department.
- MPH: Three members of the Graduate Faculty from the department and a Graduate Council Representative if a thesis is involved. The major professor is one of the members representing the department.
Remote access at committee meetings
It is generally expected that all members of graduate committees should be physically present at all required graduate committee meetings (i.e., program meetings, preliminary examinations, and final examinations). However, it is permissible for the student, and/or committee members to participate from a remote location provided the conditions listed below are met:
- Advance agreement of the student and all committee members has been obtained.
- All participants join in with two-way audio and video connections; audio-only connections must be approved by the major professor if the video connection is not possible. When the student is the remote participant, his or her connection must be an audio and video connection.
- Any visual aids or other materials have been distributed in advance to the remote participants.
- The committee members participate in the complete meeting, discussion, presentation, and evaluation.
- The student is responsible for making arrangements.
Changing your committee membership
If it becomes necessary to replace one of your committee members after your committee has been established or to substitute a committee member for a particular meeting, refer to your committee composition requirements. Ensure that your replacement member is a member of the Graduate Faculty and approved for his or her proposed role. If the faculty member is not a member of the Graduate Faculty or is not approved for the role proposed, your major department/program will need to nominate the proposed member to act in those roles using the Nomination to Graduate Faculty form. Committee structure is evaluated when your program of study is received by the Graduate School and when you schedule your formal examination(s).