PhD

Supervisory Committee Policy

Membership

The student proposes members for the supervisory committee (with the exception of an internal reviewer, if applicable) at least four months prior to the student’s general examination. One of the members of the supervisory committee serves as the chair of the supervisory committee and acts as the student’s. A student may elect to have co-chairs of the supervisory committee. The student submits a request to establish the supervisory committee to the Information School’s Office of Student Services, at which point the Ph.D. program chair approves the committee membership. Student Services then officially establishes the supervisory committee with the Graduate School.

The supervisory committee consists of at least voting four members; a majority must be members of the UW graduate faculty:

Chair/supervisor:  The chair/supervisor must be an internal faculty member* and be a member of the UW graduate faculty with an endorsement to chair doctoral committees. If co-chairs are selected, one of them must be an internal faculty member.

GSR:  The Graduate School Representative (GSR) is an external faculty member** who must be a member of the UW graduate faculty with an endorsement to chair doctoral committees. The GSR must present no conflict of interest (budgetary relationship, adjunct appointment, or the like) with the departments of either the student or the supervisory committee chair (dissertation advisor).

Members:  At least two additional members of the committee are appointed. At least one of the members must be an internal iSchool faculty member*. One of the two must be a member of the UW graduate faculty with an endorsement to chair doctoral committees.

Quality Assurance Processes

The Information School is committed to a process that ensures the dissertation meets a high level of quality.  A variety of processes may be implemented to assure quality; each supervisory committee must implement one of these processes. 

Two approved processes relate to the constitution of the supervisory committee and are enumerated below.  If a supervisory committee believes another quality assurance process is necessary, they may submit this process to the Ph.D. committee for approval.  The quality assurance process should be selected at the time the supervisory committee is constituted.  If a change to the quality assurance process is made, the Ph.D. chair must approve it.

Quality Assurance Approved Processes

Appointment of an internal reviewer:  At least twelve weeks prior to the dissertation defense, the chair/supervisor, in consultation with the student, submits the name of an internal faculty member who has agreed to be an internal reviewer  to the chair of the Ph.D. program. The chair of the Ph.D. program approves the internal reviewer to the supervisory committee. The internal reviewer must be an internal faculty member* who is a member of the UW graduate faculty with an endorsement to chair doctoral committees.  The student or chair of the supervisory committee notifies Student Services of the selection of the internal reviewer, at which point Student Services officially adds them to the student’s supervisory committee. The internal reviewer should be added to the supervisory committee after the student has completed a draft of the dissertation and after the chair of the supervisory committee has read and edited the complete dissertation at least once. The role of internal reviewer is to assure the quality of the dissertation. While the internal reviewer may comment on the dissertation and make recommendations for changes, it is not within the purview of an internal reviewer to suggest changes in methodology, design or other aspects of the research that were approved at the dissertation proposal stage.

Appointment of a non-University of Washington*** external faculty member:  When the supervisory committee is constituted, least six weeks prior to the student’s dissertation proposal defense, the student, in consultation with their chair/adviser, selects a non-UW external faculty member to be part of the supervisory committee. The role of the non-UW external faculty member is to participate fully as a supervisory committee member, bringing the perspective of someone outside of the School and University to the supervisory process.

More Information

Graduate School committee policies
Supervisory committee roles and responsibilities
Supervisory Committee Form

*An internal faculty member must be a faculty member holding a tenure-track faculty appointment, a joint faculty appointment, or a research faculty appointment in the School.

** A University of Washington external faculty member must be a tenure-track faculty member, researcher, or equivalent at the University of Washington.  The UW external member may have an adjunct faculty appointment at the Information School.

***A non-University of Washington external faculty member must be a tenure-track faculty member, researcher, or equivalent at another institution and may not have an affiliate or adjunct appointment at the Information School.