Doctoral Committee | College of Education and Human Services | SIU

Southern Illinois University



Doctoral Committee

Student Advisement

Upon entering the doctoral program, each student will be assigned an advisor. It is important that the doctoral student meet with his/her advisor to review program requirements before registering for any coursework. The advisor is separate from the dissertation committee chair (see next section), but may serve in both capacities.

The student’s doctoral committee should be established as soon as possible after he/she has some familiarity with faculty research interests and some idea about possible dissertation research focus. It is recommended that a student’s doctoral committee be established by the end of the second semester (or after approximately 18 semester hours) of active course work on campus.

Committee Selection Procedures

During the first year, each student and his/her advisor should discuss prospective doctoral committee chairpersons based on the student’s research interests. If appropriate, the advisor may serve as the committee chair. 

Individual students should contact his/her prospective chairperson, if different from the advisor, directly to determine whether the faculty member is able to accept the responsibility of this position.

Once a committee chairperson has been selected, he/she will work with the student to select remaining committee members. Again, it is the student’s responsibility to personally contact each prospective member to ensure the availability and willingness of the faculty member to serve on his/her committee.

All faculty members must have Graduate School approval to serve as a member of a doctoral committee.

Doctoral Committee Membership

The Doctoral Committee shall consist of five (5) members, all of whom must have graduate faculty status at SIUC. The Chairperson and at least two (2) other members shall be from the student’s approved academic department. At least one member shall be from outside the Education Ph.D. who is involved in a Ph.D. program. One member can be any other person with SIUC graduate faculty status, even if in a program without a Ph.D. option. The Chairperson must have Dissertation Director Faculty status from the SIUC Graduate School. At least three (3) of the remaining four members must have Regular graduate faculty status with the SIUC Graduate School (i.e., they usually teach and/or conduct research in other graduate programs on campus). No more than one (1) member of the five is allowed to have Adjunct graduate faculty status with the SIUC Graduate School. SIUC emeritus faculty, most SIUC non-tenure track faculty, and faculty from other universities who are approved by the SIUC Graduate School will be assigned Adjunct status. Once the student’s doctoral committee is finalized, he/she should complete the Graduate Faculty Committee Approval Form and the department will forward it to the Dean of the College. Should the student wish to change committee membership, the student or any member of the committee must request this change in writing to the Dean of the College and submit a revised Graduate Faculty Committee Approval Form. The Graduate Faculty Committee Approval Form can be found online HERE.

Working with Your Doctoral Committee

The doctoral committee is responsible for the following:

  • advising students on their program of study;
  • certifying that students are ready to take preliminary examinations;
  • monitoring the preliminary examination so it is consistent with the policies of the concentration/department;
  • certifying the student’s advancement to candidacy;
  • approving the dissertation topic and prospectus;
  • providing guidance through the writing of the student’s dissertation;
  • conducting the student’s final oral examination<and;
  • certifying the final approval of the student’s dissertation and the completion of requirements for graduation.

Each doctoral student must work with her/his doctoral committee to develop and approve a rigorous program of study. The Ph.D. in Education Program of Study form can be found HERE. The form must be completed and signed by the chairperson and at least two (2) members of the doctoral committee no later than the end of 27 semester hours of course work.

Each doctoral student is expected to meet annually with his/her advisor to evaluate progress in the planned program. During such meetings, adjustments can be made to the approved program of study based on the availability of courses, evolving research interests, and other priorities. Committee members may also determine which, if any, additional coursework should be taken. Any changes to the Program of Study must be submitted to the Dean of the College for approval.

Although it is typical for the advisor and committee members who approve the program of study to be members of the student’s dissertation committee, it is not required. Sometimes research interests change, new relationships are developed, and so forth. Changes to the membership of a student’s dissertation committee can be initiated by the advisor, a committee member, or the student in consultation with the advisor.