MCS Doctoral Degree Policies

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MCS Doctoral Degree Policies

MCS Guidelines on Doctoral Thesis Committees

Adopted by College Council 24 April 1987

The following provisions shall be included in the catalogue description of the doctoral degree programs, or otherwise communicated to the faculty and to all students enrolled in such programs.

Doctoral Thesis Committee

  1. The purpose of a doctoral thesis committee is to judge the validity, originality, significance, and proper presentation of the candidate's doctoral thesis. To that end, the committee shall examine the thesis submitted by the candidate, conduct the public oral final examination on the thesis, prescribe corrections or revisions to the thesis before or at the time of the examination, and certify to the Dean its finding on the acceptability of the thesis in its final form.

  2. Normally, the members of the thesis committee shall be nominated by the thesis advisor with the agreement of the candidate, and their appointment approved by the Department Head or the faculty member designated to supervise the Department's doctoral programs. Ultimate responsibility for the appointment of a thesis committee rests with the Department.

  3. A vacancy on the doctoral thesis committee need only be filled if the remaining members would not constitute a valid committee. When a vacancy is filled, care shall be taken that the new committee member has the time and opportunity to participate effectively in the performance of the committee's functions.

    The final examination may proceed only if the committee members present would, by themselves, constitute a valid thesis committee according to the preceding provisions. A member of the committee who is unable to be present at the final examination may, if he or she wishes, submit a written recommendation.

  4. The thesis committee should be appointed no less than two months before the estimated date of the final examination. In order to permit an orderly performance of the committee's functions, it shall be the responsibility of the candidate to keep the committee informed about the progress of his or her work, from the time the committee is appointed to the time the thesis is submitted. The committee may specify whether this should be done individually, or collectively by formal or informal presentations.

  5. When the thesis advisor (and the departmental sponsor* if there is one) is satisfied that the thesis is ready, it shall be submitted to the committee. The final examination shall be scheduled so as to provide the committee with two weeks to study the thesis between its submission and the date of the examination.

Certification of Completion of Requirements by Candidates for Doctoral Degrees

Approved by College Council 23 January 1987

  1. As is current practice, preliminary lists of doctoral degree candidates will be generated by the Registrar and checked by the Departments, beginning in late January and continuing to shortly before the May commencement. The checked lists will be returned to the Registrar; in addition, a copy will be sent to the Dean's office, and another posted by the Department or otherwise made available to the candidates in order to assist in the timely prevention of errors.

  2. Doctoral degree diplomas will be issued by the Registrar only to those candidates certified by the Dean or his designee to have completed the requirements for the degree.

  3. A certified list of candidates having completed their degree requirements will be issued by the Dean or his designee and sent to the Registrar one week before the date of the May commencement. After careful checking with Departments, the Dean will include in this list only those candidates for whom the relevant documentation (completed thesis, including extra copies of title page and abstract, signed green card, microfilm agreement, Doctoral Survey form) has been submitted to the Dean. Copies of the certified list will be sent to the Departments, and a copy posted in the Dean's office for inspection by candidates.

    Exceptional cases of candidates completing the requirements for the doctoral degree after the certified list has been issued, but before the date of commencement - a practice to be strongly discouraged - may be certified individually to the Registrar by the Dean. Departments and candidates will be responsible for seeing to it that the relevant documentation is in the Dean's office in time to provide for such certification.

  4. For doctoral degrees to be granted in August and December, a certified list of candidates having completed the degree requirements will be issued by the Dean or his designee, in the same manner as under 3, and sent to the Registrar by the date on which grades are due for the term ending in the month in question.

* Departmental sponsor. The thesis advisor need not be a faculty member in the Department, or even in the University. When the thesis advisor is, however, not a regular or research faculty member at Carnegie Mellon University, the Department Head or the faculty member designated to supervise the Department's doctoral programs shall appoint, in consultation with the thesis advisor and the candidate, a regular or research faculty member in the Department to serve as the candidate's "departmental sponsor." It shall be this departmental sponsor's responsibility to monitor the candidate's work and to assist him or her, the thesis advisor, and the Department in assuring that it conforms to the candidate's doctoral program.