Supervisory Committee

In order to assure that students are under careful advisement and mentoring throughout their careers, a Supervisory Committee is established before a doctoral student has accumulated 45 credit hours including any transfer hours but excluding research or language tools.

The Supervisory Committee is appointed by the Dean of Graduate Studies based upon a recommendation of the departmental or program Graduate Committee in the student’s major prior to the approval of the program of study. 

The Supervisory Committee consists of at least four resident Graduate Faculty members.

  • All professors on the Supervisory Committee must either be on the graduate faculty or be non-graduate faculty approved to perform specified Graduate Faculty duties.
  • The Supervisory Committee must include at least one Graduate Faculty member external to the academic department or program in which the doctorate is to be granted but within the University of Nebraska system. If the student is pursuing a minor, the Graduate Faculty member from the minor department may serve as the outside representative.

Supervisory Committee Member Roles


The Chair of a doctoral student’s committee serves as the advisor and mentor of the student.  Once the student’s research focus has been determined, the Chair

  • helps the student establish a supervisory committee.  Once the committee is established, the supervisory committee chair completes the Appointment of Supervisory Committee form and submits it to the program Graduate Committee Chair for review and approval. The committee form will then be forwarded to the Office of Graduate Studies for approval.
  • helps the student determine what courses should be taken to complete their doctoral studies reflecting the requirements of the program and the interest of the student.  The Chair signs the Program of Studies for the student and then submits it to the Office of Graduate Studies for approval.
  • monitors student’s progress.
  • may not serve as the Outside Representative or a designated reader.

Supervisory Committee Member

All members of the committee serve as additional resources and mentors for the student.  Along with others on the committee, they vote to allow the student into candidacy, request an extension and determine the outcome of the student’s dissertation defense.  Members may serve as the reader or outside representative. 


Two members of the supervisory committee may be designated as readers of the student’s dissertation.  They, along with the Chair, read the draft(s) of the dissertation to determine if the student is ready to defend.  They sign the Application for Final Oral if the student is approved to move forward with the defense. Courtesy members may serve as readers.

Outside Representative

One member of the committee must be external to the student’s major program but within the University of Nebraska system.  If the student is seeking a minor, the graduate faculty member representing the student’s minor may serve as the Outside Representative.  He or she may serve as a reader on the student’s committee. 

Courtesy Member

Faculty external to the University of Nebraska system may serve as a fifth committee member on the student’s committee.  Courtesy members may serve as readers and have voting rights for the student’s committee.  Only one courtesy member may serve per committee.  Courtesy members may not serve as outside representatives.

Once the committee has been formed, an Appointment of Supervisory Committee form, signed by the Graduate Committee Chair, should be filed with the Office of Graduate Studies.