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Supervisory Committee

The appointment of a doctoral supervisory committee indicates that the graduate faculty in the student's field find his/her background and achievement a sufficient basis for admission into a program of doctoral study and research.

In conjunction with the student’s faculty adviser, the doctoral supervisory committee should be established at least four months before the General Examination. This is not a hard deadline, but recommended by the Graduate School to insure sufficient time to confirm the committee members. The doctoral supervisory committee consists of a minimum of four members, at least three of whom (including the Chair and the Graduate School Representative (GSR)) must be members of the graduate faculty with an endorsement to chair doctoral committees. A majority of the members must be members of the graduate faculty. To determine graduate faculty status, use the Graduate Faculty Locator.

The chair(s) of a committee must be a member of the graduate faculty with an endorsement to chair doctoral committees. The chair(s) must be able and willing to assume principal responsibility for advising the student. CEE Emeritus faculty, as well as faculty who hold an adjunct or affiliate appointment with CEE may serve as chair if the above conditions are met. Co-Chairs (maximum two) may be appointed when both serve with equal importance on a student’s supervisory committee and equally share the responsibility for the student's progress.

The GSR must be a member of the Graduate faculty with an endorsement to chair doctoral committees. Faculty members with primary, joint, adjunct, or affiliate appointments in the student’s degree-offering unit or any of the committee chair’s department(s) are not eligible to serve as GSR. It is vital that the appearance of conflict of interest in the selection of the GSR be avoided. Budgetary relationships, personal relationships, or research and/or publication relationships between the GSR and either the student or the committee chair are examples of possible conflicts of interest. The GSR is responsible for ensuring that no such conflicts of interest, or appearance of conflicts of interest, exist, and must attest to this upon request.

The GSR is a voting member of the committee and must attest to the validity of examinations, must indicate approval of the process by which examinations are conducted, must ensure that the student is treated in an unbiased manner, and must represent the Graduate School in ensuring university-wide standards of scholarly performance. The student should arrange to introduce themselves to the assigned GSR prior to the exam.

The remaining committee members must be productive scholars in the student's major field and/or subfields. A person not affiliated with the university may serve as a committee member as long as the majority of the committee members are members of the graduate faculty as mentioned above.

Set up your committee by providing a list of your committee member names to the Graduate Advising Office via email, designating the Chair, GSR and members. If a member is not affiliated with the UW, include their email and name of their employer/organization. Also include the quarter you plan to take your General Exam. The Graduate Adviser will submit the committee recommendation to the Graduate School. You and the members of your committee will receive an automatic email confirmation when your committee has been established.

Learn more about committee member roles and responsibilities.