Your Dissertation Committee is usually chosen when applying for Ph.D. candidacy and consists of at least four members. Consult with your faculty supervisor and the graduate advisor for proposed members of your committee. The Graduate Advisor must approve your committee before recommending it to the Graduate School.
Your Dissertation Committee must include:
- faculty supervisor (committee chair)
- at least two other members of the MS&E Graduate Studies Committee
- at least one faculty member that is not in the same home department as your supervisor*
* If all four members of your committee are MS&E GSC members, a petition will need to be submitted by the Graduate Advisor on your behalf BEFORE you submit your application to candidacy. These are not a big deal and are routinely granted to MS&E students due to the layout of our program.
The Dissertation Committee is responsible for conducting the preliminary and final oral examinations and must approve your dissertation. Any changes to your committee after your candidacy application is approved should be discussed with your supervisor and the Graduate Advisor before submitting an official “change of doctoral committee” form to the graduate school. Note that changes to the committee are very carefully scrutinized by the Graduate School and must be justified. Schedule conflicts do not apply, so please choose your committee carefully.
Admission to doctoral candidacy is based on successful completion of course work and progress in research. The application for doctoral candidacy can then be prepared and submitted online. The official candidacy application requires a short statement describing the topic of your research (max. 4600 characters). This should not be a historical summary of work done in the area of research, but rather, it should include the following:
- A statement explaining why this problem is worth studying from an academic perspective (note that this is not the same thing as the commercial relevance)
- An explanation of the methods and techniques you intend to use to study/address the proposed question(s)
- Example candidacy abstracts are available here. Students are expected to structure their candidacy abstract in a similar fashion. Students are expected to first draft their candidacy abstract in MS Word, using 12 point Times New Roman font. Basic proofreading of grammar and spellchecking is required.
Once this is completed, students are expected to email the draft to their entire committee for comments and approval prior to submitting the electronic candidacy application. Once submitted, changes cannot be made to the candidacy application.
The application will route electronically to your research supervisor, the Graduate Advisor, the GSC chair and the Office of Graduate Studies for approval. At the end of this process you are eligible to register for dissertation courses.
Continuous Registration and Progress Towards Degree
Once you are admitted to candidacy for the doctoral degree, you must register continuously each long semester (i.e., Fall and Spring) until the degree is awarded. If you have not graduated two years after admission to candidacy, the GSC will begin reviewing your program annually to ensure that you are progressing towards completion of your degree. If you are not making satisfactory progress at this point, your candidacy may be terminated. You must maintain a satisfactory GPA. (If your GPA falls below 3.3, the GSC will review your academic performance and progress, and will determine whether you should continue in the Program.)