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Effective Fall 2021, Senate Regulation 715 regarding doctoral committee composition has been revised. The updated regulation applies only to UC San Diego PhD and DMA (SD 717) programs.  The committee rules for Joint Doctoral Programs with San Diego State University, CSU San Marcos, and UC Irvine remain unchanged; they are still required to have a five member committee (with the exception of AuD and EdD committees, which remain as they are).  A formal request to change the JDP committee rules would need to be submitted by both applicable campuses for UC San Diego Graduate Council review.



For a full description of the revised committee rules, please see the "In-Depth Committee Overview" link in the "Useful Links" section on the right. You may also view the relevant Senate documents here. The Senate website will be updated soon. 

Master and Doctoral students should work with their faculty advisor/PI to form their thesis/dissertation committee and let their graduate coordinator know once it is ready for approval. The graduate coordinator will submit it in the Committee Membership tool for Graduate Division approval.

It is highly recommended to submit committees at least two weeks before the student's qualifying exam or defense. This gives ample time for the department chair and Graduate Division to review and approve of the committee.


Basics of a Master (MA/MS) committee

The full rules are listed on our website.

  • There must be three UC San Diego faculty members.

  • At least two members must be from the student's home department/program.

Basics of a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) committee

  • There must be four UC San Diego faculty members.

  • Three members must be from the student's home department and one member must be from outside of the department, preferably tenured.

Basics of a Doctoral (PhD/DMA) committee

The full rules are listed on our website

  • There must be four UC San Diego faculty members.

  • At least two members must be from the student's home department/program.

  • At least one member is tenured or emeritus.

  • At least one member must have their primary appointment in a different department than the committee chair.  Note: faculty with evenly split appointments still have a primary appointment. 

Joint Doctoral Program Committees

JDP rules vary by program. Please consult the program directly or contact Sara Miceli in the Graduate Division with any questions. Please refer to the JDP Committee Membership and Table document below, which lists the previous Senate Regulation 715 for 5 member committees.

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Determining Faculty Eligibility for Committees

Faculty can serve on committees based on their official UCPath appointments.  Faculty appointments can be verified in the committee tool via Committee → Faculty Title Lookup.  This tool pulls UCPath appointment information for all faculty on campus.

Once the appointment has been verified, then the Committee Membership Table should be consulted.  This table shows the roles and eligibility of faculty appointments.  The Committee Membership Table refers to UC San Diego appointments and faculty.

To determine eligibility for individuals outside of UCSD, please refer to the table below:

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Frequently Asked Questions

Questions about specific members and their eligibility should be sent to the appropriate Graduate Division advisor.  The answers often depend on the specific student's committee composition and cannot be answered generally.


Excerpt

General Doctoral and Master's Committee Rules

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titleIs there a committee table for Master committees?

There is only one committee membership table. Although the table is listed as "Doctoral Committee Membership Table", it is used for Master committees. The difference is that the column for "One of Four UCSD Members" should be applied as "One of Three UCSD Members" for Master committees.


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titleIs there a committee table for JDP committees?

JDP committees will continue to use the former committee table prior to Fall 21.  They will not be using the new committee table implemented in Fall 21.  The former committee table can be accessed on our website or on this Collab page under "Joint Doctoral Program Committees."


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titleWhat do I do if a faculty member does not pull in the tool?

Contact one of the Graduate Division advisors. We will verify the faculty's appointment in UCPath. Once the appointment has been confirmed, you can manually enter the faculty's information in the committee tool.


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titleWill the Graduate Division consider any exception to the four UC San Diego committee members?

No. For example, if a student would like to have three UC San Diego faculty members and one UC faculty member, the student will be advised to select a fourth UC San Diego member.


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titleWhen is a letter of exception needed?

Proposing a person to serve in a role s/he is ineligible for based on official job title. See the committee membership table. Example: a lecturer wants to serve as co-chair.

Proposing a person who has a job title that is not listed on the committee membership table. Example: a scientist or professor from a lab/institute; scientist from a university (no professorial title); individual outside of academia, like Google, etc.

Doctoral advancement exam taken before the committee was approved by Graduate Division.

Letters of exceptions are not needed for faculty at other academic institutions. A justification in the committee tool is sufficient.


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titleWhat is needed for a letter of exception?

For an exception for a committee member outside of UC San Diego:

  • CV of the person being proposed.

  • A letter explaining how the person is a good fit for the committee and what efforts have been made to adhere to the campus requirements (i.e. an explanation of why the campus requirements cannot be met). It should be addressed to the Grad Division Dean, written by the Committee Chair and endorsed by the Department Chair or Vice-Chair (either on the letter itself or within the online tool). The letter can include, but is not limited to: what the person will contribute to the research, if currently collaborating with the student, and commitment to serving through the final defense.

For advancing to candidacy without an approved committee:

  • A letter explaining the situation. It should be addressed to the Grad Division Dean, written by the Committee Chair and endorsed by the Department Chair or Vice-Chair (either on the letter itself or within the online tool).

Exception letters and CVs should be uploaded as PDFs directly into the online committee tool. 


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titleHow do I know if a professor is "Professor of Clinical X" or "Health Sciences Clinical Professor"?

Professor of Clinical X includes, but is not limited to, the following title codes: 1453, 1454, 1455. It appears in the Faculty Title Lookup tool as Prof of Clin (see abbreviated title section below).

Clinical Professor includes, but is not limited to, the following title codes: 1732, 1733, 1734, 2000, 2010 2020, 2030, 2040, 2050.  It appears in the Faculty Title Lookup tool as HS Clin Prof (see abbreviated title section below.)


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titleHow do I know if a Research Scientist can be one of four members?

Research Scientists can only be one of four members (Doctoral) or one of three (Master's) if they also have a Lecturer or Educator appointment. The Lecturer/Educator appointment needs to be active, it cannot be pending approval. Both titles will be pulled up in the Faculty Title Lookup tool. If only the Research Scientist title is displayed it means there is no current Lecturer or Educator appointment and the person is ineligible to serve as one of four members (see below).

If the proposed member only has a Research Scientist appointment, then s/he can only serve as a 4th member (Master's) or 5th member (Doctoral).


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titleIf a faculty is leaving UCSD, can the faculty continue to serve on Doctoral/Master’s Committees?

If a faculty member leaves UCSD for a faculty position at another university, the faculty can remain on committees that were constituted prior to the departure from UCSD.  Remaining on the committee is contingent upon the support of the committee chair and department chair, who have determined it is in the student’s best interest for the departing member to remain on the committee.

If the departing faculty is a committee Member only no action is needed if the program/student wish to retain the faculty member on the committee and the faculty member is committed to continuing their role and will be available to participate in the student’s defense. (Note: if the student has not yet advanced to candidacy, it is generally recommended that a UCSD faculty member be added to replace the departing faculty).

If the faculty is serving as the Committee Chair, the program would need to submit a reconstitution request to change the role to Co-Chair and a UCSD Chair/Co-Chair would need to be added/assigned.

If the faculty member is leaving UCSD for an industry position, they would be allowed to continue as a Member or Co-Chair by exception only. A letter of exception would need to be submitted to explain how/why it is in the student’s best interest to have a non-academic continue to serve on the committee. It is typically preferred that another eligible faculty be added to the committee and the faculty who is now working in industry would become a 5th member.


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titleI need help understanding title abbreviations for the Committee Membership Table.

Abbreviated titles refer to the titles that show up in the Faculty Title Lookup/Faculty Search Tool in the Committee App in Student Database. This search tool pulls the faculty member's appointment information from PPSUCPath. If you believe there are errors you will need to follow up with your academic personnel contact in the department. 

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Committee Member Roles and Eligibility effective Fall 2021

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titleIs it still required to fill out the specialty field?

The specialty field is now optional. However, JDP committees are still required to input the specialty. 


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titleWhat is the attendance policy for qualifying exams and defenses?

The temporary COVID-19 authorization will remain in place through the end of Spring 22 quarter to allow remote participation for all committee members and students.

The  attendance policy for Master's defense and Doctoral qualifying exams/defenses is the following:

1. A committee member can participate in one of three ways: physically present (meaning they are in the room), telepresent (meaning they participate by live video teleconference), or in advance (if they must be absent on the exam date, it is permissible to examine the candidate in advance of the exam date).
2. At least half of the committee must be physically present.
3. The committee chair, or one co-chair, must be physically present.
4. The outside member must be physically present or telepresent (doctoral committees only).
5. If an emergency situation arises that affects the number of committee members present, the committee chair (or co-chairs) may decide how to proceed. There must be sufficient expertise among present members (either physically or telepresent) to examine the student.



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titleCan the Chair of the committee be from outside the student’s home department?

Yes, unless the department/program has their own rule that requires an internal Chair.

Note: the outside member requirement can never be fulfilled by the committee Chair, as it is the Chair’s primary department that defines whether the other members are “outside”, according to the regulation


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titleIf a student’s Chair is outside his/her home department, is a Co-Chair from the student’s home department required?

No, unless the department/program has their own rule that requires a co-chair in this instance. 


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titleFor professors with appointments in more than one department, how do I know which one is primary?

Looking up faculty in the "Faculty Title Look Up" tab in the committee tool will show you all of their appointments. Their primary appointment can be determined by the column "Job Indicator".

Example:


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titleTo satisfy the outside member requirement, may the outside member be the Co-Chair?

Yes, the Co-Chair may fulfill the outside member requirement, if their primary appointment is in a different department than the Committee Chair’s primary appointment. (However, the outside member requirement can never be fulfilled by the committee Chair, as it is the Chair’s primary department that defines whether the other members are “outside”, according to the regulation.)


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titleTo satisfy the tenured member requirement, may the tenured member be the Chair or Co-Chair?

Yes.


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titleMay additional external members be appointed beyond the 4 UC San Diego faculty?

Yes. Additional external committee members beyond the required 4 UC San Diego faculty members can be requested to serve, including from another UC campus, non-UC academic institutions and industry. Appointment of external members from other academic institutions  must be justified with a written explanation at the time of requesting the constitution and must be approved by the Graduate Division.  External members from industry, labs, etc. need a formal letter and CV at the time of requesting the constitution and must be approved by the Graduate Division.