Student-Dissertation director relationships are established in one of two ways. Either the student becomes interested in a topic then selects director on the basis of his/her interest and competency in the area, or the student first becomes interested in the work of a particular faculty member, and then decides to write his/her dissertation in that area. Either approach is acceptable. The important thing is that the student feel free to approach any member of the graduate faculty concerning the question of thesis advising. He/she should also feel free to change advisors, although if this is done after the research is under way, it is likely to result in some delay I the completion of the dissertation.
As soon as students have decided on what topic or in what general area they wish to write their dissertation, they should confer with their advisors and the Director of Graduate Study about the membership of their dissertation committee. This will consist of four departmental members and member from another department. (In some cases the committee may consist of three departmental members and may include two members from other departments and, with the approval of the University's Graduate Council, members from outside the University). The candidate's preference as to the membership of his/her dissertation committee members must be submitted to the Graduate School by the Director of Graduate Study at the same time that he/she certifies the passing of the comprehensive examination. This committee will constitute the nucleus of the final oral examining committee, will counsel with the student in the writing of his/her dissertation, and will pass on its merits.