Selecting a Dissertation Chair and Committee

It is the responsibility of the student to select a dissertation chair and a committee. The student should:

  • Select a dissertation chair whom the student considers to have compatible research and teaching interests and with whom the student feels there is the possibility of a comfortable, productive working relationship.
  • Ask a faculty member to serve as dissertation chair only after discussing with the faculty member the student's and faculty member's interests and the faculty member's willingness to help the student complete a dissertation pursuant to the student's interest.
  • Once you selected a dissertation chair, consult with him/her about the composition of the dissertation committee, considering the research/teaching interests of the committee members, and the requirements of the Graduate College regarding the number of committee members.
  • Discuss with prospective committee members their interests and the willingness and abilities of the faculty members to consult with the student about the completion of a dissertation pursuant to the student’s interests.

Note that as the interests of the student and/or faculty change, or if faculty should leave the institution, there may be a need to select a new dissertation chair and/or committee members. For reasons of professionalism and courtesy, this should be done only after discussion with potential new members and with those they will replace, and following the same procedures outlined above for the original selection of a dissertation chair and a committee.