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Dissertation Reading Committee

The Doctoral Dissertation Reading Committee consists of three faculty members (the principal dissertation advisor and two other readers) who agree to read a student’s dissertation and serve on the orals committee. All members of an approved reading committee are expected to sign the signature page of the completed dissertation. The reading committee normally serves on the oral exam committee, but not always. At the very least, the primary dissertation advisor and one reader from the reading committee serve on the oral exam committee. The student is responsible for obtaining signatures from advisor and readers before submitting the form to the Doctoral Programs Officer for final processing.

The rules governing the composition of the reading committee are as follows: at least one member of the committee must be from the GSE; the principal dissertation advisor must be on the Stanford Academic Council (AC); and any member of the committee that is not a member of the academic council must be approved by the Area Chair and the Associate Dean for Student Affairs. In the last case, the Petition for Non-Academic Council Member to Serve on Doctoral Committee form (available from the Doctoral Programs Officer) and a current CV of the proposed member are required. This person must be particularly well qualified to consult on the dissertation topic and hold a PhD or an equivalent foreign degree. Non-AC members may not serve as dissertation advisors, but may serve as a co-advisor along with a member of the AC. Students may only have one non-AC member on the reading committee. The only exception to this rule is if you have more than the three members required for a reading committee. At least two members of the reading committee must be members of the Stanford AC. Reading Committee members must sign the Doctoral Reading Committee form (all forms located on the GSE website under current students>forms). Email confirmations or digital signatures will be accepted.

The reading committee formation, and any subsequent changes to the committee composition, are reviewed and approved by the Associate Dean for Student Affairs. This signature is obtained by the Doctoral Programs Officer, not the student.

The University requires approval of the Doctoral Dissertation Reading Committee form prior to advancement to Terminal Graduate Registration (TGR) status, or before scheduling a University Oral Examination–whichever comes first in the student’s program. Further instructions for form completion are on the GSE Website.

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