The Major Professor serves as the student’s advisor and mentor. Students should confer with the college to confirm the internal process and timeline for the selection and appointment of the Major Professor.  The student must identify a major professor and receive that person’s agreement to serve as major professor. The selection of the Major Professor must be approved and appointed by the college dean as soon as possible, but no later than the time the student has completed 50% of the program. Students must have a major professor in order to maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress. If a major professor cannot be identified or in the event a major professor is unable or unwilling to continue serving on the student’s committee, the student is responsible for finding another major professor.  Students who are unable to find a replacement major professor should confer with the college dean for available options (including converting to a non-thesis program if available.) If no other options exist the student may be requested to voluntarily withdraw from the program or may be honorably withdrawn in good academic standing.  The student and major professor should plan a program of study which, when completed, will satisfy the degree requirements specified. A copy of this program, signed by the student and professor, must be maintained in the student’s college file.

Major Professors must meet the following requirements:

  • Be graduate faculty, as defined by the University.  Faculty who do not meet this definition may serve as Co-Major Professor
  • Be engaged in current and sustained scholarly, creative, or research activities and  have met college (or equivalent) requirements
  • Have been approved by the college (or equivalent) to serve as a Major Professor or Co-Major Professor.

The membership of graduate faculty will be based upon criteria developed within the appropriate program and approved at the college level.  These criteria must be forwarded to the Regional Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs.

In the event a Major Professor leaves the University (i.e. for an appointment at another university, due to retirement, etc.) and the Major Professor is willing to continue serving on the student’s committee, the Major Professor then becomes a Co-Major Professor on the committee and another faculty is appointed as the other Co-Major Professor.  It is important that one of the Co-Major Professors be accessible on the university campus for the student to make satisfactory progress on the thesis.  In the event a Major Professor is on temporary leave (e.g. sabbatical, research, etc.); the Major Professor shall coordinate with the college dean to facilitate the needs of the student.  In some instances a student may choose to have two professors serve as Major Professor.  In this situation the faculty members are approved as “Co-Major Professors” and jointly serve in that role.  Consequently both faculty must sign approval on paperwork pertaining to the student’s processing (i.e. committee form, change of committee form, etc.)

Appointment of a (Co)-Major Professor(s) may be rescinded by the college dean, with the approval of the appropriate college (or equivalent) faculty committee (separate from student advisory committee.)