Each candidate for the doctorate pursues, under faculty direction, an original investigation of a problem or problems in a field of concentration and presents the results of the investigation in a dissertation. The dissertation must be approved by a minimum of three members of a faculty committee of four members. The member of the program faculty who supervises the student's investigation becomes chairperson of the committee. The panel also includes two members or associate members of the program faculty and an "outside" member, who is appointed by the program director in consultation with the student's adviser. Whenever possible, "outside" shall be "outside the university," but in all cases this person must come from outside the program. The outside member is expected to be a recognized authority on the subject of the dissertation. For appointments of committee members who are not members of the graduate faculty, the program director will forward to the Office of the Graduate School a letter appointing the individual to the committee. This letter should explain the basis for the appointment and must include the address of the appointee.
For committees having more than four members, only one nonapproval is permitted. Substitutions in committee membership, once it has been determined, are the responsibility of the program director. Replacements will occur only if a member is unable to serve or if a student's dissertation topic changes, requiring a new dissertation director and/or modification in the committee. In cases other than these, approval for changes in committee membership rests with the dean of the Graduate School-New Brunswick.
The committee will meet to discuss the candidate's dissertation proposal once the candidate has developed some preliminary guidelines with the advice of the dissertation supervisor. Whenever possible, the outside member of the committee will be at this initial meeting. Subsequently, the committee must be kept informed of the student's progress and must agree to follow the candidate's work and assist in its development. The committee also shall agree to give ample and early warning of any reservations concerning the student's progress and must specify in writing the changes required for dissertation acceptance. The final copy of the dissertation should be prepared in strict accordance with the instructions given in the pamphlet Style Guide for Thesis and Dissertation Preparation, available at the Office of the Graduate School. After the dissertation has been accepted by the committee, the required copies are to be filed with the Office of the Graduate School no later than the announced deadlines for completion of degree requirements. One copy will be bound and made available in a university library. With the dissertation, the candidate is required to submit an abstract, not exceeding 350 words, that embodies the principal findings of his or her research. As with the dissertation, the abstract must be approved by the professor in charge of the work for the dissertation and accepted by the other members of the student's committee.