Graduate Student Handbook

8.5 Advisory Committee

The Graduate Faculty of the College of Public Health delegates the responsibility for establishing course requirements for the PhD student to the division of specialization and the Advisory Committee.  The Advisory Committee, selected with the advice and consent of the GSC chair, is composed of a minimum of four persons meeting these criteria:

  • All committee members must be category P graduate faculty members.  Category M faculty may serve on the committee with approval of the division chair and the GSC chair.*
  • The major field is represented by two members, including the student’s advisor, who must have faculty appointments in the College of Public Health division containing the student’s major area.  The advisor’s principal appointment must be in the College of Public Health or be listed as an approved advisor by the division.
  • The research methods area is represented by one College of Public Health faculty member appropriate for the curriculum of the student.  A faculty member outside the College of Public Health may be approved to fulfill the research methods area, however only with approval from the student’s advisor. The overall composition of the committee must be a majority of graduate faculty holding P status from the College of Public Health. In cases where the research methods and minor cognate representatives are graduate faculty outside the College of Public Health, an additional graduate faculty member from the College (typically from the student’s division) must be added to the committee.

  • The minor cognate field is represented by one member appropriate for the curriculum of the student, who must come from outside the division containing the student’s major field and may come from outside the College of Public Health.

*For the PhD in Epidemiology, at least one member of the committee must have a primary appointment in the division of Epidemiology.

Additional members meeting the criteria stated may be included (e.g., the research methods area could be represented by two persons rather than one).  A student who wishes to depart in any other way from the stated criteria must petition in writing with the advisor’s support, indicating the justification for the departure.  Any departure from the criteria must be approved by the chair of the student’s major division and the GSC chair.

The advisor serves as a chairperson of the Advisory Committee and the Candidacy Examination Committee and is responsible for coordinating the preparation and conduct of both the written and oral portions of the Candidacy Examination.  The Advisory Committee continues these activities until the student selects a Dissertation Committee, subsequent to the successful completion of the Candidacy Examination.

Students admitted to the PhD degree program will work with their advisors to create a tentative curriculum plan during the first term of enrollment.  The complete Advisory Committee must be formed and the student’s complete curriculum plan must be approved within five terms of enrollment as a PhD student or within three terms for students who have received a master’s degree in the College of Public Health.  In either case, the GSC chair must approve the membership of the Advisory Committee and the proposed curriculum (see Doctoral Curriculum Approval Form in Appendix J).  In addition, the complete curriculum plan must be approved at least one term before the student attempts the Candidacy Examination.