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* Academics

Graduate Program

Choosing a Doctoral Committee

The Ph.D. thesis is supervised by a doctoral committee with at least four members. At least three of the members, including the committee chair (the student's primary advisor) must be Computer Science Department faculty. These faculty must be full-time, tenured/tenure-track faculty. Clinical, research, and emeritus professors do not count for this purpose. Faculty who are based in another department but who have a joint appointment to Computer Science count as CS faculty.

The fourth member must be an "outside member." The outside member may be from outside Rensselaer, or may be an RPI faculty member who does not have an appointment to the Computer Science Department. Students are encouraged to choose an outside member who is not a member of the RPI faculty.

Students may choose more than four members for their committee if they wish.

After you have chosen the members of your committee, you must fill out a Nomination of Doctoral Committee form. You need to get all your committee members to sign the form.

For any committee members who are not RPI faculty members, you also need:

  1. The committee member's curriculum vitae. Include this with the nomination of doctoral committee form.
  2. A letter from the Graduate Program Director. Have your advisor send an email to Terry Hayden with a few notes about the committee member, and Terry will work with the Graduate Program Director on the letter. Talk to Terry for more details.

After you have completed the form and gotten signatures from your committee members, give it to Terry Hayden. She will have the Department Chair sign it. After the form has been signed, Terry will put a copy in your file and send the original to the Office of Graduate Education.

If you need to change your committee membership later, you can submit another Nomination of Doctoral Committee form or you can prepare a memo to be submitted by the department chair to the Graduate School.

If a member of your committee retires or otherwise leaves Rensselaer before your graduation, the person may continue to count as one of your full-time members if

  1. You graduate no more than one year after the professor's retirement.

    and

  2. The department chair requests an extension from the Graduate School.

* Return to main Graduate Program page


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