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Doctoral & Master's Committees

Find information on how to form doctoral and master's committees.

Appointment of the Doctoral Committee

A doctoral committee conducts the qualifying examination, supervises the preparation of the dissertation, passes the dissertation, and administers the final defense. An advancement exam or defense must not be scheduled unless the Graduate Division has approved the student's committee. Students are advised to consult the department graduate advisor and/or coordinator at least six weeks prior to the exam.

The following policy is a general one for all doctoral students at UC San Diego. A department may have more specific requirements for appointments (e.g., a departmental ladder rank faculty member on each committee) and the department chair has final departmental authority to recommend a committee.

Completed committee form must be electronically submitted to the Graduate Division no later than two weeks prior to the date scheduled for the qualifying examination or doctoral defense.

Membership of the Ph.D. committee must comply with the Manual of the San Diego Division, Academic Senate, Regulation 715, which states:

A Doctoral Committee of five or more members shall be appointed by the Dean of Graduate Studies under the authority of the Graduate Council. At least five of the committee members shall be officers of instruction and no fewer than four shall hold professorial titles (of any rank). The committee members shall be chosen from at least two departments, and at least two members shall represent academic specialties that differ from the student’s chosen specialty. In all cases, each committee must include one tenured or emeritus UCSD faculty member from outside the student’s major department. [Am 10/26/93]

The Graduate Council confirms that either of the following Ph.D. committee compositions are in compliance with Regulation 715:

1. Four members from the student’s department and one tenured or emeritus member from outside the student’s department, as long as two members’ academic specialties differ from the student’s (i.e., a 4+1 committee). 

2. Three members from the student’s department and two members from outside the student’s department, including one tenured or emeritus outside member, as long as two members’ academic specialties differ from the student’s (i.e., a 3+2 committee). 

Departments are responsible for ensuring that a Ph.D. committee complies with Regulation 715 by appointing at least two members differing in academic specialty from the student, regardless of whether these members are from inside or outside the student’s department.

Departments and graduate programs that have received approval from the Council for exceptions to the membership requirements for Ph.D. committees remain in effect.

Membership of the AuD doctoral committee must comply with the Manual of the San Diego Division, Academic Senate Regulation 716

Membership of the DMA doctoral committee must comply with the Manual of the San Diego Division, Academic Senate Regulation 717.

Membership of the Ed.D. doctoral committee must comply with the Manual of the San Diego Division, Academic Senate Regulation 718

Departments are advised to refer to the Doctoral Committee Membership Table, which specifies which academic titles may serve on doctoral committees and in what capacity. The faculty titles listed on the chart refer to UC San Diego faculty members only (with the exception of the "Professor from another UC campus" title). Please note: A Research Scientist/Scholar must have a lecturer’s appointment to be eligible to serve on a committee.

The department chair’s electronic approval of the committee form is certification that the composition of the doctoral committee is in compliance with Senate Regulations concerning Requirements for Higher Degrees.

The Dean of the Graduate Division will consider exceptions to individual committee membership with plausible justification from the graduate program. Requests for exception are submitted electronically via the online committee constitution form/tool under Student Committee Membership.

Graduate Council Action 6/9/88

A faculty member with a regular appointment in one department, and an adjunct appointment in another department may be an inside or an outside member of the committee for either department. Only one such member is accepted per committee. There must also be one person with no connection to the student's department. The tenured outside member may be either the adjunct or outside person. (NOTE: in this case adjunct only refers to a person with a ladder-rank appointment in one department who is also adjunct to the student's major department. It does not refer to a person with an adjunct appointment only.)

Graduate Council 1993 Action 4/8/93

A professor who leaves UC San Diego may continue to be on the committee and may serve as co-chair, but may not continue as chair.

A committee chair or co-chair from outside the department may not also serve as the tenured, outside member.

A professor from another UC campus may be an inside or an outside member.

Graduate Council Action Regarding Committee Participation at the Qualifying Examination and/or Final Defense 11/8/18

San Diego Senate Regulation 715, Requirements for the PhD Degree at San Diego, requires that the doctoral committee conduct the qualifying examination and final oral examination (the dissertation defense). The preferred means to conduct these examinations is when all members of the doctoral committee are physically present. The Council recognizes, however, that practical exigencies do not always make this possible. Therefore, the Council approves the following rules for conducting PhD qualifying exams and defenses:
1. A doctoral committee member can participate in one of three ways: physically present (meaning they are in the room), telepresent (meaning they participate by live video teleconference), or in advance (if they must be absent on the exam date, it is permissible to examine the candidate in advance of the exam date).
2. More than half of the doctoral committee must be physically present. No more than two members may be telepresent.
3. The committee chair, or one co-chair, must be physically present.
4. The outside tenured member must be physically present or telepresent.
5. If an emergency situation arises that affects the number of committee members present, the committee chair (or co-chairs) may decide how to proceed. There must be sufficient expertise among present members (either physically or telepresent) to examine the student.
6. Departments and programs may impose more restrictive requirements regarding how to conduct these exams, as they deem appropriate.

 

Academic Senate regulations:

http://senate.ucsd.edu/operating-procedures/educational-policies/academic-degrees/

http://senate.ucsd.edu/media/59852/GC-PhD-Doctoral-Committee-Membership.pdf

Doctoral Committee Membership Table

Title Professorial Title Senate Member Officer of Instruct Tenured Outside Member Chair Co-Chair One of Five Members Sixth
Member
PROFESSOR SERIES:
Full & Associate Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Assistant Y Y Y N Y Y Y Y
IN-RESIDENCE PROFESSOR SERIES:
Full & Associate Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Assistant Y Y Y N Y Y Y Y
FULL-TIME SALARIED ADJUNCT PROFESSOR IN HEALTH SCIENCES:
Full & Associate Y N Y Y Y Y Y Y
Assistant Y N Y N Y Y Y Y
ACTING PROFESSOR SERIES:
Full & Associate Y Y Y N Y Y Y Y
Assistant Y N Y N N Y Y Y
ADJUNCT SERIES*:  (including non-salaried appointments in Health Sciences)
All Ranks Y N Y N Y# Y# Y Y
PROFESSOR OF PRACTICE*:
Full Y N Y N Y# Y# Y Y
Visiting Y N Y N N N N Y
PROFESSOR OF CLINICAL "X" SERIES:
Full & Associate Y Y Y N N Y Y Y
Assistant Y Y Y N N Y Y Y
CLINICAL PROFESSOR SERIES:
All Ranks Y N Y N N N N Y
VISITING PROFESSOR SERIES:
All Ranks Y N Y N N N N Y
PROFESSOR EMERITUS SERIES:
All Ranks Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
PROFESSOR FROM ANOTHER UC CAMPUS**:
All Ranks Y Y Y N N Y Y Y
LECTURER SERIES:
Lecturer & Sr. Lecturer N N Y N N N N Y##
LSOE & Sr. LSOE***
LPSOE & Sr. LPSOE***
N Y Y N N N Y Y
RESEARCH SCIENTIST/SCHOLAR W/LECTURER APPOINTMENT:
All Ranks N N Y N Y Y Y Y
RESEARCH ASSOCIATE, RESEARCH FELLOW & PROJECT SCIENTIST/SCHOLAR:
All Titles N N N N N N N Y##

+Dean of Graduate Studies will consider exceptions to individual committee membership with plausible justification from the graduate program
* Only one person in this category per committee unless there are more than five members.
** May serve as inside or outside member
# Adjunct professors and Professors of Practice of all ranks may serve as chairs of doctoral committees as long as a ladder rank faculty member serve as a co-chair
## Voluntary basis
*** Must have full-time status

Appointment of the Master's Thesis Committee

The following policy is a general one for all master’s thesis students at UC San Diego. A department may have more specific requirements for appointments (e.g., a departmental ladder rank faculty member on each committee) and the department chair has final departmental authority to recommend a committee.

Completed committee form must be electronically submitted to the Graduate Division no later than two weeks prior to the date scheduled for the thesis defense.

A master's thesis committee consists of three faculty members, at least two of whom must be from the candidate's major department. (Graduate Council, January 4, 1991)

Departments are advised to refer to the Doctoral Committee Membership Table , which specifies which academic titles may serve on graduate student committees (doctoral or thesis). The faculty titles listed on the chart refers to UC San Diego faculty members only (with the exception of the "Professor from another UC campus" title).

The department chair’s electronic approval of the committee form is certification that the composition of the master’s committee is in compliance with Senate Regulations concerning Requirements for Higher Degrees.

The Dean of the Graduate Division will consider exceptions to individual committee membership with plausible justification from the graduate program. Requests for exception are submitted electronically via the Committee Membership tool.

Graduate Council 1993 Action 4/8/93

A professor who leaves UC San Diego may continue to be on the committee and may serve as co-chair, but may not continue as chair.

A committee chair from outside the department may not also serve as the tenured, outside member.

A professor from another UC campus may be an inside or an outside member.

Graduate Council Action Regarding Committee Participation at the Master's Thesis Defense 11/8/18

The preferred means to conduct a master's defense is when all members of the committee are physically present. The Council recognizes, however, that practical exigencies do not always make this possible. Therefore, the Council approves the following rules for conducting master's defenses: 

  1. A master's committee member can participate in one of three ways: 1) physically present (meaning they are in the room), 2) telepresent (meaning they participate by live video teleconference), or 3) in advance (if they must be absent on the exam date, it is permissible to examine the candidate in advance of the exam date).
  2. More than half of the master's committee must be physically present. No more than one member may be telepresent. 
  3. The committee chair, or one co-chair, must be physically present.
  4. If an emergency situation arises that affects the number of committee members present, the committe chair (or co-chairs) may decide how to proceed. There must be sufficient expertise among present members (either physically or telepresent) to examine the student. 
  5. Departments and programs may impose more restrictive requirements regarding how to conduct these exams, as they deem appropriate. 

Reconstitution of a Doctoral or Master's Committee

For a variety of reasons a doctoral or master’s committee may need to be reconstituted. The request to reconstitute the membership of a committee must specify the reason/s for the change and must be approved by the department chair and the committee chair. The reconstitution request must be submitted to the Graduate Division no less than two weeks prior to the qualifying examination or defense of the dissertation or thesis.

Requests are submitted electronically via the Committee Membership tool.