See FAQ About Committees for more information.
Upon entering the graduate program, each student is assigned a temporary advisor. By the end of two terms in residence, all students must select a major professor. This may, but need not, be the temporary advisor.
The second year research paper must be approved by a committee consisting of the major advisor and at least two additional non-retired tenure line faculty. The Ph.D. guidance committee and dissertation committee must contain at least four non-retired tenure line faculty members, at least three of whom must be from the Department of Sociology.
Retired and emeriti faculty are considered with this group of “non-retired” faculty for the first two terms of their retirement. Temporary faculty or faculty who has been retired for more than two semesters may serve on committees in addition to the three or four regular faculty members required.
Each year, each graduate student is evaluated by his/her major professor and the department. These evaluations from the major professor should be discussed with the student and any concerns about the student’s ability to complete the degree should be addressed at this time. Students should expect to receive, and have a right to see, the evaluations from their committee and major professor. Students also have a right to communicate, orally or in writing, their own comments regarding their performance. For more information on advising and mentoring, please see Guidelines for Graduate Student Advising and Mentoring Relationships.
All students in the Ph.D. program are encouraged to consult regularly with their advisors and form a Guidance Committee as soon as possible. All students in the Ph.D. program are required to turn in a signed Guidance Committee report by the end of the third semester of their regular enrollment (not counting summer terms) in the Ph.D. program. (For those who were initially taking English language training, this would mean within three semesters of completing their English language requirement.) Any student who had not met this requirement shall not be permitted to enroll until he/she has formed a guidance committee. If the student’s performance is otherwise satisfactory, the student may re-enroll once he/she has formed a committee and has a course of study approved.
It is the responsibility of the Guidance Committee to approve all courses which the student intends to take. Prior to completing the formation of the Guidance Committee, the student shall work out a list of all courses to be taken each term throughout her/his graduate program, in consultation with the major professor or temporary advisor.
When the Guidance Committee meets, it should not only approve a course of study, but comment on the student’s progress and prospects, strengths and weaknesses. If the committee has any concerns about the student’s ability to complete a Ph.D., it should communicate those directly to the student and the Graduate Program Coordinator.
The Ph.D. Guidance Committee also composes and evaluates the students’ comprehensive examinations, meets with the student to consider the proposed dissertation, reviews the dissertation, and conducts the final oral examination.
At any time, a student may change committee members, including the major professor. In particular, one’s Dissertation Committee need not be the same as the Guidance Committee for the pre-dissertation part of the Ph.D. program. To change committee members, a student should (1) secure the consent of the individuals to be added, and (2) inform the Graduate Secretary of the names of those being added and those being removed from the committee. A form will be filled out notifying all old and new committee members of the changes.