UC San Diego SearchMenu

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 (https://goapp.ucsd.edu/committee/login.php) 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 on-line committee constitution form/tool at https://goapp.ucsd.edu/committee/login.php 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.

Academic Senate regulations: