Master Committee

A student’s master committee should be appointed by the end of the first year of graduate study or, as soon thereafter as possible. The master committee has the responsibility to advise the student during the progress of master research and has the obligation to require high quality research. In addition, the committee conducts the final oral examination and defense of the doctoral dissertation, and determines whether the dissertation meets acceptable standards. The master committee has the authority to require the student to rewrite any portion, or all, of the dissertation.

Members of the master committee are proposed by the student’s major advisor for the approval of the Pharmaceutical Sciences Graduate Academic Affairs Committee and the Senior Associate Dean of Research. The committee must consist of at least three faculty members in the School of Pharmacy (at least two of whom must be members of the student’s focus area). The majority of committee members, including the committee Chair, must be members of the graduate faculty. The student’s major advisor usually serves as the Chair of the MS committee. When the committee has been selected, the student will complete and submit to the graduate program liaison, and to the Pharmaceutical Sciences Graduate Academic Affairs Committee “Approval of Master Committee Form.” Copies of this form are available here. When the form has been received and approved, the event will be entered into the student’s permanent graduate academic record as a “Milestone.”

A faculty member from another department or school of the University who does not have a secondary or joint appointment in the candidate’s department may serve as a committee member of a MS committee.

When a committee member leaves the University, he or she is generally replaced unless the dissertation is almost complete or the member plays an essential role on the committee. In the latter case, the Dean’s approval should be obtained. When the chair of a committee leaves, and cannot be conveniently replaced, a co-chair must be appointed from within the department, and the restructured committee requires approval of the chair of the Pharmaceutical Sciences Graduate Academic Affairs Committee and the Dean. If the defense takes place within a few months of the chair’s departure, the requirement of a co-chair is waived.

A retired faculty member may remain as a member or chair of a committee if he or she is spending considerable time in Pittsburgh or its vicinity and is still professionally active. Retired faculty who meet these criteria may also be appointed as a member or as co-chair (but not chair) of a newly formed committee. Retired faculty who leave the Pittsburgh area and/or do not remain professionally active should be replaced on committees and the revised committee approved by the chair of the Pharmaceutical Sciences Graduate Academic Affairs Committee and the Dean.