Doctoral Dissertation Committees

Doctoral Dissertation Committees in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine

Composition The student’s primary research adviser; at least 3 Pathology graduate school faculty members (primary or secondary appointment); additional faculty members from any department to bring the total membership to 5.
Responsibility Act as consultants to the student in design, performance and interpretation of the experimental work that will make up the dissertation, participate in the committee meetings and approve the final draft of the dissertation after the student defends it. At least 2 meetings, and a period of one year of work by the student are required between the proposal and the defense. At each meeting, the next meeting should be scheduled.
Designated positions and duties Chair: Member of the Pathology faculty who has expertise in the student’s research area. The chair is not the student’s primary adviser. The chair will preside at all committee meetings, write to the student a summary of the committee’s suggestions and criticisms after each meeting (with copies to the entire committee and to the Director of Graduate Studies of the department), and usually serve as Second Reader. In the special tracks, a Second Reader other than the chair may be chosen by the student, the primary adviser and the chair.
Primary adviser: review with the student all oral and written materials to be presented to the committee at meetings and serve as First Reader on the thesis.
The First Reader must approve the thesis draft that is provided to the Second Reader who then makes a thorough, critical review. When the revised draft is acceptable to the First and Second Readers, the draft is given to remaining members of the committee, and the Defense is scheduled.
Additional members of the committee: Review all written materials submitted by the student before each meeting, present critiques and suggestions at the meetings, consult informally with the student between meetings as needed, review and critique the final draft of the dissertation and notify the student of any major problem, attend and give final comments at the Defense. (Either the First or Second Reader or the student may ask one or more members of the committee to review the draft dissertation or sections of it at any point in the writing.)
Chair at the Defense The committee Chair, if designated as Second Reader, cannot chair the Defense. Therefore another committee member will preside at the Defense.
Student Schedule, reserve a room for and remind committee members of each meeting.
Prepare and deliver to committee members a complete, written proposal at least one week before the first meeting and written progress reports at least one week before subsequent meetings.
Submit the final thesis draft, approved by both Readers, to all committee members at least 2 weeks before the defense.