Graduate Advisor and Committee Makeup

ADVISOR

  • WHO CAN SERVE: Professor, Associate Professor, or Assistant Professor within the department or program granting the degree.
  • SPECIAL NOTES:
    • The regular, special, transitional, joint, temporary, or emeritus/emerita designation is a categorization within the academic professorship designation. The advisor may have any of these designations, but may not be a visiting faculty.
    • Faculty Affiliates can serve as advisors only if they are given a ranking/job title of Professor, Associate Professor, or Assistant Professor.

CO-ADVISOR

  • WHO CAN SERVE: Professor, Associate Professor, Assistant Professor, Instructor, or Faculty Affiliate.
  • SPECIAL NOTES:
    • The regular, special, transitional, joint, faculty affiliate, temporary, or emeritus/emerita designation is a categorization within the academic designation. The co-advisor may have any of these designations, but may not be a visiting faculty.

COMMITTEE MEMBER

  • WHO CAN SERVE: Professor, Associate Professor, Assistant Professor, Instructor, or Faculty Affiliate.
  • SPECIAL NOTES:
    • The regular, special, transitional, joint, faculty affiliate, temporary, or emeritus/emerita designation is a categorization within the academic designation. The committee member may have any of these designations, but may not be a visiting faculty.

OUTSIDE COMMITTEE MEMBER

  • ROLE & RESPONSIBILITY: According to long-standing Univeristy policy, the outside member on graduate committees represents the Graduate School and has three main functions:
    • First, such a person makes available to the student a disciplinary expertise not possessed by members of the major department. This is thought to be desirable in that exclusive reliance on the procedures or conceptual principles of a given discipline is sometimes considered to be restrictive.
    • Second, outside members are believed to be important forces for university wide academic standards. The presence of outside members presumably encourages departments to articulate standards consistent with overall University faculty expectations.
    • Third, the presence of outside members is thought to symbolize campus wide acceptance of examination practices that are fair and appropriate for graduate students.
    • Letter to Outside Committee Member
  • WHO CAN SERVE: Professor, Associate Professor, Assistant Professor, or Instructor with a regular, special, transitional, joint, or emeritus/emerita faculty appointment at CSU. This appointment must be outside the department of the student.
  • SPECIAL NOTES:
    • A faculty member who holds only a temporary or faculty affiliate appointment cannot serve as an outside committee member.
    • A faculty member who is tenured in the student's department cannot serve as the student's outside committee member.
    • A faculty member who holds a joint faculty appointment in the student's department cannot serve as the student's outside committee member.

      A faculty member may hold a primary appointment in an academic department but also holds a joint faculty appointment in another academic department. He/she cannot serve as an outside committee member for a graduate student in either department. As an example, a Professor in the Physics Department who also holds a joint faculty appointment as an Associate Professor in the Mathematics Department cannot serve as the outside committee member for a student in either the Physics or Mathematics Departments.

Additional Notes:

CSU employees who hold Administrative Professional Appointments (and are not tenured) are required to obtain joint faculty appointments in an academic department in order to be eligible to serve on graduate committees.

Non-CSU employees are required to obtain faculty affiliate appointments in an academic department in order to be eligible to serve on graduate committees.

Please contact the Human Resource staff member of the appropriate department to determine the appointment designation of a potential committee member.

Please review "The Advisory System" found in Section E.1.1 of the Graduate & Professional Bulletin for the complete policy.

Plan A & B Master's Degrees and Master of Fine Arts Degrees

Plan A & B Master's Degree Programs and Master of Fine Arts Programs - The committee must consist of at least three faculty members:

  1. Advisor from the student's department
  2. A co-advisor or committee member from the student's department
  3. An outside committee member from an outside department
  4. A co-advisor or additional committee members from an outside department may be added to the student's committee, if appropriate, as long as items 1-3 above are met.

Plan C Master's Degrees

Plan C Master's Degree Programs - A common departmental faculty committee serves this function. It is not necessary to have an outside committee member.

PhD Degree

PhD Programs - The committee must consist of at least four faculty members:

  1. Advisor from the student's department
  2. One or more members from the student's department (serving as a co-advisor or committee member)
  3. An outside committee member from an outside department
  4. A co-advisor or additional committee members from an outside department may be added to the student's committee, if appropriate, as long as items 1-3 above are met.