Supervisory Committees

Before the beginning of their first semester, new students meet with the faculty to discuss their long-term academic plans, establish a course plan for the year, and to formulate the composition of their future supervisory committee.

Supervisory committees will generally consist of three members or more and must have at least one ISAW faculty member who will serve as the student's advisor. Students typically work most closely with their advisor, and in some cases the advisor is asked to make decisions or sign paperwork for a student on behalf of the entire committee. However, the members of the supervisory committee are all collectively responsible for helping the student develop a detailed course of study (see: Doctoral Contract), guiding the student through the selection of courses and the fulfillment of non-coursework requirements, advising the student on academic matters, supervising the student's dissertation work, aiding the student in professional development, and providing mentorship.

The supervisory committee may change according to adjustments to the student's course of study. Changes to a student's committee are subject to review by the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS). If a student and advisor are in agreement on a possible change to the committee, the advisor should formally propose the change by sending an email to the DGS (with copy to the Associate Director for Academic Affairs). If there are other reasons for considering a change to the committee, the advisor and/or the student should consult the DGS, who should help find a resolution.

First-year students meet with their committees at the beginning of their first semester at ISAW to discuss their initial Doctoral Contract. They meet with the committee again at the end of the fall and spring semesters.

Continuing students normally meet with their committees at least once per year at the end of the spring semester.