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Rules and Regulations

3. Advisory Committee

Each graduate student has an advisory committee consisting of at least three faculty members (at least 2 must be Geosciences faculty). Normally the advisory committee Chair is the student's principal research advisor. The principal advisor may be a member of the Geosciences faculty or a faculty member in another Princeton department. Members of the advisory committee are selected by the student, usually in consultation with the advisor, and approved by the Graduate Work Committee (or DGS). Initial selection takes place in September of the first year and may be changed when a student has settled on a research topic and advisor. Further changes in membership may be made as the student’s career progresses, and should be arranged with the advisory committee Chair or the Graduate Work Committee Chair (the DGS). Some continuity of membership is generally desirable, however, and often, in practice, the same committee serves throughout the graduate student's career.  For the purposes of the general examination, each student should add at least one member to the advisory committee to form the general exam committee. This faculty member should have research interests somewhat outside the area of particular interest to the student. The advisory committee of post-generals students will normally include the prospective readers of the thesis. The advisory committee meeting must occur each semester even if the primary advisor is on sabbatical. Another faculty member may be asked to serve temporarily on the committee in his/her absence.

The major duties and responsibilities of the Advisory Committee are:

  • To plan an academic and research program in consultation with the student; each student will meet with the Advisory Committee at least once during each semester. Research plans, coursework, and independent study related to that research will be discussed and reviewed in these meetings. The committee meeting worksheet is to be filled out at each meeting.  The worksheet should indicate whether the student is an assistant-in-instruction or undertaking independent study and/or research.  This worksheet must be signed by the Chair (or another responsible member) of the advisory committee, confirming that the Committee has met with the student.  Thereafter the worksheet is to be turned in for final approval by the Director of Graduate Studies.  A copy of the committee worksheet is given to the student, to the Advisor, and to the Department office (Sheryl Robas).
     
  • To specify as early as possible two or more fields of concentration around which the academic program is to be molded. Normally these will be fields fundamental to the student's research inclination. They will be the fields in which the student is expected to show depth of knowledge during the general examination.

     
  • To plan, read, and evaluate the first year student’s research plan (~1 page abstract due in November), research progress report (paper and presentation due in March or April), and final research report (paper and presentation due in September).

     
  • To determine, together with the student, the student’s readiness to take the General Examination, to agree upon the two areas of concentration for the exam, and to arrange an appropriate group of examiners. This generally occurs early in the Fall semester of the second year.

     
  • To approve the thesis topic.

     
  • To arrange the thesis evaluation and final public oral examination, although the student usually takes the responsibility to schedule a time agreeable to all participants.

     
  • To discuss other concerns of the student that are of a general nature, such as financial support, as well as any matter the student wishes to clarify. The faculty urges each student to make maximum use of the advisory committee in order to maintain student-faculty relations on a personal basis of individual interest and responsibility. The student should feel free to meet with the committee members individually at any time. The advisory committee is responsible for the student’s welfare in case of absence of the advisor, and is expected to mediate in case of conflict between student and advisor.

  • To review preparations for the thesis defense.  About 3 months before the dissertation is submitted, the student should convene a meeting of his/her committee that will focus on insuring the dissertation is in order.  The student and committee will discuss the entire dissertation research.  The committee should then make a recommendation that this body of research is, if properly presented in the dissertation, appropriate for the Ph.D.  The standard committee report form will be modified for this purpose.  The committee should also recommend dates for readers' reports and the defense at which most students and faculty will be available.