Committee Guidelines

The supervising committee for the MAP and the Dissertation is composed of a minimum of 4 members who should provide both depth and breadth of experience.  The committee must be formed by the end of the second year (fourth semester). All committees must include the following:

  • Chair:  This person is a member of the Primary P&N Faculty or Joint Clinical Faculty and is your research advisor and supervisor of your research program.  This is the person with whom you came to Duke to work.  This person signs in the “Chair” space of your exam card.  This person must be a Full Member of the Graduate Faculty.
  • Administrative Member/Chair:  This person is a member of Primary P&N Faculty or Joint Clinical Faculty and is usually the most senior member of your committee who is familiar with departmental procedures.  This person is responsible for managing the procedures of the actual exam as outlined in the MAP and Dissertation documents on the website (e.g., collecting votes and evaluations of the written paper in advance of the oral exam; notifying the student whether the oral exam can be scheduled; collecting evaluations at the end of the exam).  This person must be a Full Member of the Graduate Faculty. 
  • Committee Member:  This person is a member of Primary P&N Faculty or Joint Clinical Faculty.  However, in some instances in which a P&N secondary faculty member has been approved as the student’s Program (e.g., a co-Chair), he/she can be counted as one of the three primary P&N members. This person must be a Full Member of the Graduate Faculty. 
  • Minor Member:  This person is a faculty member from a different, but related field to the exam topic (e.g., Psychiatry, Neurobiology, Philosophy, Business).  This person can also be from a different University.  On some occasions, this person may be selected from a different program within P&N (e.g., a Cog/Cog Neuro student who does non-human primate research may choose a Clinical Faculty who studies similar phenomena using human subjects).
  • Only these 4 members are required, but students may elect to have a 5th committee member who can be from P&N secondary faculty or other Departments. 

Committee members 1-3 above must be Full Members of the Graduate Faculty.  Please check the graduate school listing to ensure your members qualify:  https://gradschool.duke.edu/academics/graduate-faculty

Committee members 4 and 5 can obtain “Term Appointments” (usually a 3 year term) on the Graduate Faculty in order to serve on the committee.  For this appointment, the student should forward the CV and DOB of the member to the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) for review and approval by the Graduate School.   

Once you have discussed your committee with your advisor and the potential members have agreed to serve, email the rationale for the list and the names, ranks, and department affiliations to Pamela Smith, DGSA, who will enter the information in the electronic system for review by the DGS and the Dean. 

You must wait 30 days after the Dean approves your committee before you can defend.  This is a Graduate School rule! Additional rules include:

  • The Chair/Advisor of the student's committee must be present for the exam. It is acceptable to have a committee member (other than the Chair/Advisor) participate remotely via Skype under extenuating circumstances (e.g., sabbatical; international travel). To request that a member participate via Skype, notify the DGS of the request.  The DGS will seek permission from the Dean.
  • If you hold an exam without all members of the committee present (unless prior arrangement has been made with the Graduate School Dean), the exam will be declared invalid by the Graduate School.