Ph.D. Committees

Prelim and Dissertation Committee Membership

  1. The Prelim Advisor (for Prelim Committees) and Dissertation Advisor (for Dissertation Committees) is the primary intellectual mentor for the student. The Advisor is a full-time faculty member of Statistical Science (whether primary or secondary) and of the Duke Graduate Faculty.
  2. The Committee Chair is a full-time faculty member of Statistical Science and of the Duke Graduate Faculty. Except in rare circumstances (cases covered by points 3 and 4 below) the Advisor is also the Committee Chair.
  3. Secondary faculty members in Statistical Science that are full-time members of the Duke graduate faculty are eligible to serve as Prelim and/or Dissertation Advisors, though not as Committee Chairs.
  4. If an existing dissertation Advisor leaves the department for another position, s/he can remain as Advisor though not as Dissertation Committee Chair. A proposal to remain as Advisor must be agreed on by the student and existing committee members, as well as the Director of Graduate Studies, prior to proposal to the Dean of the Graduate School.
  5. The Committee has (at least) three full-time Duke graduate faculty members from Statistical Science; this count of three includes the Chair. One or more of these can be a secondary faculty member in Statistical Science.
  6. External Member: Both Prelim and Dissertation Committees have one external/minor area member. This person is a full-time member of the Duke graduate faculty usually from another Duke department. For Dissertation committees (but not Prelim committees) ad-hoc appointments are sometimes made of Adjunct or Visiting Professors in Statistical Science, or researchers outside Duke who are closely affiliated with the program and specific research interests of the student. These irregular, ad-hoc appointments are made by the Graduate School on the basis of a proposal from the DGS, and require a CV and a short note on why the person is being proposed, what the nature/extent/expectation of his/her role is, and why there are no eligible non-Statistical Science Duke professors to serve as external. The Committee Chair, or proposed Chair, is responsible for providing this information/documentation to the DGS with the committee proposal form.
  7. Co-Advisors: Two full-time members of the Statistical Science faculty may be proposed as Co-Advisors, in rare cases. One of these must be named as Chair. If one Co-Advisor is a secondary member of the Statistical Science faculty, the other must be primary in Statistical Science and also committee Chair.
    • In the normal course of things it is preferable to have a single Advisor, to be clear about where the primary responsibility for intellectual leadership and mentoring rests. The provision for additional faculty members on the active Committee usually provides coverage of scientific/statistical areas without needing Co-Advisors. However, in (rare) cases when the thesis research is really in two areas, or two distinct aspects of one area, then Co-Advisors may be proposed.
    • Only faculty eligible to serve as Advisor may be proposed as Co-Advisor. In particular, Adjuncts, visitors, non-Statistical Science professors from Duke, or researchers from outside Duke are not eligible to serve as either Advisors or Co-Advisors; the External Member role provides the formal mechanism for such researchers to actively participate and contribute research guidance to a student.