Dissertation Committee

Deadline: August 1 Before Year Five

All students must be in candidacy and have an approved dissertation committee no later than August 1 before their fifth year of study.

Programs may set earlier deadlines. Always check your program’s policies about student progress to make sure you are meeting the deadlines that apply to you.

The dissertation committee form affirms both that a candidate has a proposal or prospectus that has been approved as required by program policies, and that the candidate has a dissertation committee formed in accordance with program policies.  Laney Gradaute School staff will then confirm that the committee also meets LGS policy requirements.


The Laney Graduate School requires that all students submit a Dissertation Committee form no later than August 1 before their fifth year of study, and that each change in membership of the dissertation committee be approved through a new Dissertation Committee form.  When you submit your dissertation, the committee that signs the dissertation approval sheet must match the committee names on your most recent dissertation committee form.  If you are looking for information specifically about changing your committee, scroll down or click here.

Programs may set earlier deadlines, so always check your program’s policies about student progress to make sure you are meeting the deadlines that apply to you.  

Students who have had approved leaves of absence during their first four years will have the dissertation committee deadline moved back by the length of their leaves (e.g., a student who had a one semester leave of absence must have a dissertation committee by January 1 during their fifth year, etc.).

LGS Handbook

Our Handbook is the authoritative statement of LGS policies and requirements.

LGS Handbook


The Laney Graduate School policies for disseration committee membership are in the Handbook, section 1.1.1 (E).  Below is an outline.  Programs may have additional policies, and dissertation committees must meet both program and Laney Graduate School requirements.

  1. At least three members of the dissertation committee must be Laney Graduate School faculty.
  2. Emory faculty who are not Laney Graduate School faculty may serve on the committee, but do not count towards the three LGS faculty requirement.
  3. Members of the Emory community who are not faculty may serve on the committee with the Dean's permission.  Instructions are below.
  4. Scholars at other institutions may serve on the committee with the Dean's permission.  Instructions are below. 
  5. When a dissertation committee member, co-chair/co-advisor, and chair/advisor who is an LGS faculty member either moves from Emory to another academic or research institution or retires, he or she can continue to serve as an LGS faculty member for a limited time.  See the Handbook for details.

Requesting Permission for Proposed Committee Members

  • This applies to proposed members in cateogries 3 and 4 above.
  • The request should be made by the Director of Graduate Studies / Program Director, in the form of a memo addressed to the Dean of the Laney Graduate School.
  • The request should explain how the proposed member will contribute to the candidate's committee, and describe the expertise the proposed member brings.
  • The request should be accompanied by the proposed member's current CV.
  • The request should be submitted with the LGS dissertation committee form (see below).
  • If the request was submitted independently, before the LGS dissertation committee form, then the letter giving permission should be uploaded with the LGS dissertation committee form.

LGS Student Action Online Form 

To submit a form, you will need a signed signature form.  Read the instructions.

Student Action Online Form

How to Submit a Dissertation Committee Form:

  • Complete the LGS Dissertation Commitee Signature Form, and obtain the required signatures.
  • Scan the signed form.
  • If you have members in cateogries 3 or 4 above, make sure you have on hand, for each such member, either the request to the Dean, or the letter from the Dean granting permission.
  • Complete and submit the LGS student action online form.  You'll be asked to upload the signed signature form, as well as requests or permissions per above.
  • You'll receive a confirmation email when you submit the form, and your program administrator will receive a copy.
  • LGS will process your request, and let you know when the process is complete.

If you are looking to change your committee, you use the same procedure as above.  However, you only need to collect signatures for the new member(s), and from your chair or co-chair.  There are instructions on the second page of the Dissertation Committee Signature Form.