PhD students eligible to work in the United States receive a research fellowship, which includes an annual stipend ($27,000 for the 2017-18 academic year) without a TA requirement. Additionally, the research fellowship covers tuition and mandatory fees and provides health and dental insurance coverage. This aid continues throughout the doctoral education as long as the student is making adequate academic progress toward the degree.
By the time PhD students reach the fall semester of the second year, they select an advisory committee. The major advisor serves as the head of the committee. Together students and the major advisors select at least two to three associate advisors from the major department and a representative from the minor department. The graduate school reviews and approves the members of each student’s advisory committee, following submission of the Appointment of Advisory Committee form. The Advisory Committee counsels students in coursework and research activities, identifies any academic or research deficiencies, and suggests corrective measures for potential deficiencies. The advisory committee also makes recommendations for transfer of academic credits earned at another institution to the graduate school for approval and determines when students have satisfactorily completed the qualifying examination.
Research committees initiate research for student dissertations. They are approved by the dean and are required to meet at least twice a year. The committee has the responsibility of supervising the research, reading the dissertation and conducting the final examination.
The student chooses a professor who agrees to direct the dissertation, endorsed by the University Graduate School. In some instances, it might be important to include individuals from other departments or disciplines (i.e., a relevant MD) on the student’s committee. Committee members must also be members of the graduate faculty who are best qualified to assist the student in conducting the dissertation research. Members include the chosen director (serving as committee chairperson), two or more additional faculty members from the major department and a representative for each minor.