Ph.D. students are encouraged to select a research advisor to guide their dissertation research as soon as appropriate. If you are in the first year and have not yet settled on an area of concentration, it is recommended that you select an initial research advisor in an area of interest.
The research advisor will work with you during all phases of Ph.D. dissertation research. If you require financial assistance to complete doctoral study, it is expected that the research advisor will provide a Graduate Research Assistantship (GRA). Limited funding opportunities in the form of Graduate Teaching Assistantships (GTA) or Graduate Student Instructors (GSI) are available from the School, but should not be relied upon.
A student who does not have a willing faculty research advisor after the completion of three Ph.D. semesters (not including summers) will generally not be eligible for GTA or GSI funding from ISyE.
There are two committees that function to advise, approve, and conduct the final doctoral oral examination of the dissertation and the student’s knowledge of the field in which it lies.
The first committee is called the Thesis Advisory Committee or the Thesis Reading Committee and consists of at least three Georgia Tech academic faculty members, one of whom is the Thesis Advisor. The majority of the Thesis Advisory Committee should be tenure-track or tenured members of the Academic Faculty. It is expected that the Thesis Advisor is a tenure-track or tenured member of the Academic Faculty, preferably from the home unit of the student. Approval of the Faculty Graduate Committee is required prior to the Dissertation Research Proposal if you seek to appoint a Thesis Advisor who is not a tenure-track or tenured member of the Academic Faculty.
The Thesis Advisory Committee approves the research topic, provides advice and guidance during the research, and is charged with approving the thesis when the research is completed and ready to be presented as the doctoral thesis (i.e., dissertation). When the committee considers the dissertation to be satisfactory, a recommendation is made to the Vice-Provost for Graduate Studies and Faculty Affairs for the appointment of the second committee, which is called the Final Doctoral Examination Committee. This committee consists of five individuals.
The Final Doctoral Examination Committee always contains the Thesis Advisory Committee members and other members of the tenure-track and tenured Academic Faculty, as appropriate, who are recommended by the School or College to the Vice-Provost for approval. At least one member of the Final Doctoral Examination Committee must be from a unit distinct from the unit in which you are enrolled. It is very common to select a Thesis Advisory Committee with five members that will also serve as the Final Doctoral Examination Committee.
Occasionally, a request is made to have a non-Georgia Tech individual included as a member of the Final Doctoral Examination Committee. The proposed member must have a Ph.D. in a related research area and should be research active. The credentials of such an individual must be submitted to the Associate Chair for Graduate Studies and will be scrutinized to verify that the individual has a background that approximates that of a member of the Academic Faculty.