Advisors, Committees and Defenses

New Doctoral Student Advisor

Upon acceptance into the Interdisciplinary Ph.D. Program in Information Science (IS PhD Program), each student will meet with the Program’s new doctoral student advisor. The Associate Director of the IS PhD Program normally serves as a new doctoral student advisor. The responsibilities of the new doctoral student advisor include assisting the student in:

  1. Planning a tentative program of preparatory work.
  2. Suggesting possible mentors, student contacts, and activities.
  3. Orienting him or her to the pursuit of the Ph.D. at the University.

Major Advisor

The major advisor is the intermediary between the University and the doctoral student. The student should select a major advisor as soon as possible, generally by the time of completion of 12 semester hours. The new doctoral student advisor may assist a student in selecting a permanent major advisor. A major advisor must be a member of the IS PhD Program faculty from any of the academic units participating in the program (see IS PhD Faculty list). A major advisor must also be a full member of the graduate faculty as listed in the most recent edition of the Graduate Catalog. A list of IS PhD Program faculty and their specialties can be obtained from the IS PhD Program office or directly from the Graduate School. The choice of a major advisor should be determined in large measure by the student’s field of academic preparation and areas of research interest.

The functions of the major advisor include assisting the student in:

  • Planning a program of doctoral study and filing a formal degree plan for approval by the Graduate Dean.
  • Planning and implementing a program of research, professional work, and teaching experiences.
  • Selecting and confirming Doctoral Advisory Committee members.
  • Choosing a dissertation topic.
  • Writing a formal dissertation proposal.
  • Guiding the student in preparing for the Qualifying Examination.
  • Researching and writing the dissertation.
  • Dealing with other issues related to his or her academic program.

Doctoral Advisory Committee

The Doctoral Advisory Committee is responsible for approving a student’s program of doctoral study. The chair of the Doctoral Advisory Committee (Major Advisor) is responsible for the formal submission of the degree plan to the Program Coordinator and to the Graduate School (see Defenses section below.)

The Committee should be established as early as possible in the student’s progress toward the degree, generally upon completion of 12 semester hours. This provides time to become familiar with faculty, to gain insight from student colleagues, and to focus on areas of potential research. Before selecting the committee members, the student is encouraged to discuss ideas with individual faculty members, to benefit from their broad variety of learning in information science and research methodologies.

The Committee will consist of at least three (3) and up to five (5) members of graduate faculty, two (2) of whom must be members of the IS Department  (see IS PhD Faculty list). Membership must include at least two (2) of the academic units represented in the IS PhD Program. The Committee should include an adequate representation of faculty members from the candidate’s research areas. The major advisor, who must be a full member of the graduate faculty, serves as chair of the Committee. In consultation with the student, the major advisor recommends the faculty members for the student’s advisory committee to the IS PhD Program Office. The Committee Designation Form (Form D in the UNT Information Science (IS) PhD Program Student Handbook) should be completed and signed. The IS PhD Program Office, in turn, recommends the members to the Dean of the UNT Graduate School, who makes the appointments.

The Doctoral Advisory Committee will be in charge of the student’s work until the student completes the dissertation and all other requirements for the degree are completed.

Any changes to the committee (e.g., addition or removal of faculty, new Chair, etc.) must go through the IS PhD Program Office for processing and communicating with the UNT Graduate School; the Committee Change Form (Form E in the UNT Interdisciplinary Information Science (IS) PhD Program Student Handbook) should be completed, signed and submitted to IS PhD Program Office. Students may not by-pass the IS PhD Program Office. The IS PhD Program Office will verify the changes with the faculty involved and complete the necessary paperwork, including getting signatures from the committee Chair, Associate Director of the IS PhD Program, and IS Department Chair. No follow-up by the student is needed unless there is a problem with the requested changes, in which case the IS PhD Program Office will contact the student.

Defenses (oral qualifying examinations, dissertation proposals, final dissertation defenses)

All defenses are to be announced and presented publicly. Students are not allowed to schedule defenses on their own. Doctoral students and candidates must coordinate date and time of defenses with both their Major Advisors/Chair and committee members in consultation with the IS PhD Program Office. A copy of the dissertation is to be submitted to the IS PhD Program Office prior to the defense. Public announcements are posted by the IS PhD Program Office at least two weeks in advance of the defense date.