Forming a Thesis Committee

Students are expected to form a Thesis Committee as soon as possible after passing the Qualifying Exam and no later than by end of winter quarter of the third year (or of the G2 year for MSTPs). This is done in consultation with the advisor. Students are required to meet with the Thesis Committee, either individually or as a group, at least once before the Thesis Proposal is defended. The Thesis Proposal milestone must be complete by the end of the third year (G2 year for MSTPs). It is the student’s responsibility to enter the Thesis Committee information in CAESAR using the PhD Prospectus form.

Each Thesis Committee, which includes the advisor, will be composed of at least four full-time members of the Northwestern University Faculty. At least two of the committee members (including the chairperson and advisor) must belong to the Graduate Faculty, and one member must be from a different department than the research advisor. The research advisor and the committee chairperson must both be affiliated with NUIN. The research advisor cannot chair the committee. Students are welcome to include a committee member from outside of Northwestern University. Such a member may also satisfy the “member from outside the advisor’s department” requirement. (Any costs associated with outside members are the responsibility of the research advisor).

Once your committee is assembled, you should meet with each member of the committee once before your scheduled proposal date.  You do not need to meet as an entire group, rather you can just meet with each member individually.  If the committee members have any major issues with what you are proposing, it should be discussed in this initial meeting, prior to your actual proposal defense.