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Once you have passed the Prelim Exam, you should establish a formal Ph.D. Supervisory Committee as soon as possible. Establishing a committee is essential to demonstrate continued "satisfactory progress" in the Ph.D. Program. Establishing your committee will also help you stay on track to finish your Ph.D. degree in a timely manner. Before you take the following steps to establish your committee, please read carefully through Graduate School Memorandum No. 13: Supervisory Committees for Graduate Students.

Step 1:

Choose an adviser for your research project. You will most likely continue working with your first-year adviser, however, if your research interests have changed, you may decide to change advisers. Either way, now is the ideal time to establish your goals and to consciously choose an adviser who can help you meet these goals.

Step 2:

Identify committee members and confirm that they are willing to serve on your committee. Refer to Graduate School Memorandum No. 13 for guidelines about the Ph.D. Supervisory Committee and rules about committee membership. For Graduate Faculty membership and appointment information, use the UW Graduate Faculty Locator.

Step 3:

Please send the Graduate Program Coordinator (GPC) a brief description (one paragraph) of your research project and a sentence about each proposed committee member which explains why you have chosen them for your advising team. In the email, please confirm that the the GSR has no conflict of interests: "Budgetary relationships, personal relationships, or research and/or publication relationships between the GSR and either the student or the committee chair are examples of possible conflicts of interest" (see Graduate School Representative (GSR) Eligibility).

Step 4:

When you, your research adviser, and the Graduate Program Coordinator (GPC) have reached a consensus on committee membership, the GPC will recommend to the Graduate School that your committee be formed. When your committee has been officially established, you and your committee members will receive email notification from the Graduate School.

If you have decided that your next goal is to complete an M.S. degree, please also read carefully through the Master's Degree Policies on the Graduate School's website.

You should immediately form an M.S. Supervisory Committee by following the first three steps above, with the exception that you do not need a Graduate School Representative (GSR) for your M.S. committee. At step 4, the Graduate School will not be involved; your M.S. Supervisory Committee will be approved within ESS.

Step 5:

If you are going to do a PhD final exam, you will need a Reading Committee, which usually consists of the Chair of your Supervisory Committee and two other UW faculty. If circumstances require that a non-UW faculty member serve as a reader, the Reading Committee must consist of a full UW Reading Committee (three readers who are UW faculty) in addition to the non-UW faculty reader (for a total of four readers). Please send the Graduate Program Coordinator (GPC) an email listing your proposed Reading Committee members and their affiliations.