Doctoral Committees

Committee Structure

Upon accepting a student to the doctoral program, the iSchool will assign a three member initial committee to advise the student. The committee chair is the student's initial advisor. The student may change the makeup of this three member committee at any time, choosing from among the iSchool faculty (with the committee members' help and input). Upon selection and agreement, the committee chair then becomes the student's advisor. If a student's research focus changes significantly during their course of study it is reasonable to expect that the committee members might also change.

In advance of the qualifying procedure, the student will add a fourth committee member from outside of the iSchool but from the UT Austin faculty.

In the process of applying for candidacy the student will add a fifth committee member to what now becomes the Dissertation Committee. Since Dissertation Committee members can be changed only by application to the Graduate School, students should carefully consider their choice of members. Detailed requirements for Dissertation Committee members are available from the Graduate School website. Dependent on approval from the Graduate School, the fifth committee member may be from the iSchool, another unit at UT Austin, or another university.

Annual Review

Early in the fall semester of every academic year, the three member doctoral committee will review the performance of the doctoral student and candidate. The most important criterion in each annual review is the student’s ability to demonstrate satisfactory progress toward the degree in the judgment of the iSchool faculty. The annual review is also intended to help the student plan the upcoming academic year(s).

The annual review will include:

  • an updated Plan of Study
  • completion of any required progress tracking data collection
  • an explanation of progress towards the degree, including participation in research, teaching, and service activities within the iSchool and beyond
  • an explanation of plans for the coming academic year with concrete goals
  • copies of major papers, research presentations, and article submissions
  • other materials as appropriate such as plans for seeking research grants, applying for research internships, or teaching in the School’s undergraduate minor
  • specific questions or topics on which the student seeks input from their committee

The student will present these materials in full to all committee members by the 6th week of the semester and schedule an appointment for the full committee to convene for a discussion of the student’s progress and plans. (The student may attend electronically if the committee chair approves.) At the meeting, the student will make a brief, informal presentation of the annual review highlights and identify any areas on which the committee’s advice is particularly sought.