Selecting an Advisor and Committee

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Pursuing an MS or PhD degree requires considerable advice from a variety of sources. Initially this advice will come from the Graduate Director who serves as temporary advisor for incoming students. One of the main responsibilities of the temporary advisor is to assist in the initial planning of the degree program. 

Entering students will undergo an initial diagnostic interview with the Graduate Director to plan an appropriate program of study. If the student's diagnostic interview identifies a deficiency, the program may be required to include courses to correct this. However, mathematics courses at the 300 level or below will not be counted toward the total credit hour requirement toward any graduate degree in mathematics.

Students must select a permanent advisor, including their committee, by the end of the third semester of residency; in other words, a student in the MS program must choose an MS committee by the end of the third semester in the MS program, and a PhD student should make the selections for the PhD committee by the end of the third semester in the PhD program. The MS with Outside Specialization program, however, has an earlier deadline (see MS with Outside Specialization degree requirements for more details).  If a student receives a MS degree from  CSU’s program, and then continues to pursue a Ph.D. in mathematics at CSU, the Ph.D. permanent advisor and committee need not be the same as the MS permanent advisor and committee.

The choice of advisor and committee are formally made by completing an electronic GS6 form. 

Prior to filling out the electronic GS6 Program of Study form (eGS6), students are required to complete a GS6 Program of Study Worksheet and meet with his/her advisor to form a draft of what courses and committee members will be listed on the student's GS6 form. This worksheet must be approved by the Graduate Coordinator before the GS6 is completed. The program of study worksheet may be found here.

The student will access the eGS6 form via his/her RAMweb account under the "Complete MyGS6 Program of Study" link.

The advisor is the chief source of advice in the planning process and works closely with the student throughout their graduate career on all matters related to the degree program.  A close, cordial, and professional relationship is therefore of the utmost importance.

Members of the committee should be chosen on the basis of the student’s interests, the student’s experience with faculty members, and the advisor’s knowledge and expertise. As noted above, the makeup of a graduate committee must be approved by the department head and, of course, agreed to by the potential members themselves. It is the responsibility of the student to secure these approvals and agreements.  The purpose of the committee is to make available to the student a broad range of knowledge and expertise. Committee members may aid in general advising of the student and may assist in planning the major elements of the program. The committee administers the final examination for an MS student, as well as the preliminary and final examinations for a PhD student.

The committee must consist of at least three faculty members for a master’s degree program and at least four for a doctoral degree program. The members are as follows:

  1. The major, or permanent, advisor, who serves as chairperson of the committee, must hold academic faculty rank as a professor, associate professor, or assistant professor in the Department of Mathematics. 

  2. For the MS degree programs, the committee must include one or more additional members from the Department of Mathematics.

  3. For the PhD degree program the committee must include two or more additional members from the Department of Mathematics.

  4. In any program, one member from a department outside Mathematics must be chosen as the “Outside Member”.  A committee member with this designation cannot have a joint appointment in the Department of Mathematics.

  5. Co-advisors may be chosen from outside the Department of Mathematics.

Individuals who are not academic faculty but who have special expertise may serve on committees in addition to the prescribed members, but may not vote regarding examination results.