Graduate Study Guidelines

Selection of committees

A committee chair (thesis advisor) must be selected by each Ph.D. student before the end of the second semester (i.e., before the end of Academic Year 1). While this is a latest date, it is expected that most students will match with an advisor within their first semester.

The committee chair will aid the graduate student in selecting a Special Committee, which shall consist of a minimum of three faculty members and which will directly supervise the graduate study and research of a student. The committee chair, who is also usually the thesis advisor, represents the major field of Systems. The other faculty members represent two minor fields. Students in Systems are strongly advised to develop interdisciplinary skills and thus are discouraged from having both of their minors fields in areas closely related to their undergraduate training or major advisors primary field. The special committee must be formed before the end of the third semester but the advisor and the student should begin thinking about this at the beginning of their graduate study.

This committee must be formed before the end of the third semester. Exceptions to the above requirements must be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS). Failure to comply with the above requirement may result in a hold being placed on your registration by the Graduate School. A Special Committee Selection and Change form must be submitted to the Graduate School to establish a committee or change/add committee members. Forms can be printed from the Graduate School website. A copy of all forms must be given to the Systems Graduate Field Assistant ( in Systems before submission to the grad school.

Selection of a Special Committee (including the thesis advisor) is a mutual agreement between a student, the chosen faculty members and the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS). During the pursuit of the degree, changes in circumstances may cause the student and/or faculty members to desire the termination of this commitment.