Read more about dissertation committees in the Graduate Student Handbook.

How many members should be on my dissertation/doctoral essay/lecture recital essay committee?

Doctoral Degree: For the dissertation/doctoral essay/lecture recital essay committee a student needs no less than four members. The committee chair must be Regular Faculty from the student’s program or department of concentration (this includes secondary appointments). In addition to the chair, two members must be Regular Faculty or have Graduate Faculty status in the student’s program or department of concentration. The fourth member can be an outside member. “Regular Faculty” are faculty having tenured or tenure-earning appointments of a program or department. A thesis or dissertation committee cannot be chaired by a person unless they hold a higher or equivalent degree as the candidate for the graduate degree. Exceptions to the committee composition may be approved by the chair of the department and Dean of the Graduate School. A department, program, or school / college may require additional members.

Master’s Degree: The thesis committee will consist of not less than three members. The committee chair must be Regular Faculty from the student’s program or department of concentration (this includes secondary appointments). In addition to the chair, one of the remaining members must also be Regular Faculty or have Graduate Faculty status in the student’s program or department of concentration; the third member can be an outside member. “Regular Faculty” are faculty having tenured or tenure-earning appointments of a program or department. A thesis or dissertation committee cannot be chaired by a person unless they hold a higher or equivalent degree as the candidate for the graduate degree. Exceptions to the committee composition may be approved by the chair of the department and Dean of the Graduate School. A department, program, or school / college may require additional members.

Who would be considered an "outside member" of the committee?

An outside member of the committee can be from a UM department outside your area of concentration or from outside the University of Miami altogether. All committee members must be approved by the Chair of your committee.

Can I have more than four members on my dissertation/doctoral essay/lecture recital essay committee?

Yes, there is no maximum limit of members you can have on your doctoral committee. However, the Graduate School recommends that students have committees that do not exceed six members.

Do all committee members need to be present for my defense?

Yes, all committee members must be present at and participate in the defense of your thesis or dissertation. If necessary, committee members can participate in the defense via teleconference or Skype.

What should I do if I need to replace one of my committee members?

If there are any changes to the committee, a new application for Admission to Candidacy form must be submitted.

What if one of my committee members retires before I defend?

Emeritus faculty can be made permanent members of Graduate Faculty by the Chair of the department. As long as the emeritus professor on your committee is still a member of the Graduate Faculty, he or she can still serve on your committee.

Read more about dissertation committees in the Graduate Student Handbook.