Committees advise and evaluate satisfactory progress, administer preliminary and final oral examinations, evaluate a thesis or dissertation, and/or sign a degree warrant. A student’s program arranges a committee with appropriate expertise to afford the breadth and depth needed in degree examinations. The responsibilities of individual committee members are determined by the program. The executive committee (or its equivalent) of a program/department is responsible for approving the composition of all graduate committees. The final warrant request which includes committee membership must be submitted to the Graduate School at least three weeks before the examination date. Students should consult their advisor and their program’s student handbook for the specific function of degree committees in their program.
Use this online tool to help you determine whether the proposed committee would meet the following criteria.
1Graduate Faculty: The UW–Madison Faculty Policies and Procedures 3.05 contains the policies and exceptions regarding the graduate faculty status.
2Academic Staff: The UW–Madison Faculty Policies and Procedures 3.05H contains the policy related to academic staff serving on the committees.
3Program: Programs are officially approved courses of study and research leading to a master’s or doctoral degree. They may be administered from within a disciplinary department or across departments by an interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary cluster of faculty. Some programs have official areas of concentration within them (called named options or subplans) at the master’s and/or doctoral levels. Both programs and named options appear on the student’s transcript. Some programs have unofficial tracks, specializations, or concentrations, but these are not listed on the transcript. Contact the program’s graduate coordinator for more information.
4The advisor does not have to be chair of the committee, although it is often the case. Moreover, the co-advisors/co-chairs will be designated in the dissertation document.
5Note that affiliate appointments may be used to satisfy this requirement.
6Readers: Committee members who commit themselves to closely reading and reviewing the entire dissertation. The rationale for specifically designating non-reader status is to facilitate faculty participation in dissertations without automatically expecting the level of commitment associated with deeply engaging a PhD thesis. Given faculty workloads, designating a non-reader in some cases may permit faculty participation where engagement would otherwise be impossible. As long as the Graduate School minimum of at least three committee members that are readers is upheld, programs will remain in compliance with Graduate School policy. Programs may choose to have stricter requirements.