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The University Faculty

Office of the Dean

Research Student Advising Rules

Who can serve on the Special Committee for a PhD student or a Research Masters student? This question is more or less equivalent to “Who can be a member of the Graduate Faculty?”  Take a look at the Code of Legislation of the Graduate Faculty for details, but what you see below is pretty much the full story.


There are three forms of regular membership on the Graduate Faculty: general, division, and minor.

General Membership

General members typically are selected from the voting members of the University faculty—that is, primarily professors, associate professors, and assistant professors with the highest degree in their field and unmodified titles who are resident on the Ithaca, Cornell Tech, or Geneva campus. To be eligible for general membership on the graduate faculty, a University faculty member must be actively engaged in University research and teaching or outreach in an established field of graduate education. A Ph.D. is routinely required, though exceptions may be granted in some cases (See below).
A general member of the graduate faculty may serve as chair or minor subject member of any special committee in any subject which the faculty member represents.

Individuals holding the following titles are also eligible for general membership on the graduate faculty if their responsibilities qualify them:

  • visiting professor, visiting associate professor, and visiting assistant professor
  • research professor, research associate professor, and research assistant professor
  • adjunct professor, adjunct associate professor, and adjunct assistant professor
  • courtesy professor, courtesy associate professor, and courtesy assistant professor
  • graduate faculty member of the Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences
  • instructor holding the degree of Ph.D. on the resident staff at Ithaca or at Cornell Tech
  • senior scholar, • senior scientist
  • principal research scientist and research scientist
  • senior research associate holding the degree of Ph.D.

Individuals holding the following titles are not normally general members of the graduate faculty:

  • clinical professor
  • professor of the practice
  • senior lecturer
  • senior extension associate
  • visiting critic
  • tenured or tenure-track professor without the highest degree in the field.

In exceptional circumstances general membership may be granted to individuals in these categories if the individual’s research is comparable at least to that of tenured Cornell associate professors who are general members of the graduate faculty in the same field, and if the individual’s supervision of graduate students is an explicit job responsibility, making membership on special committees appropriate. Senior research associates, senior lecturers, senior extension associates, visiting critics, and tenured or tenure-track professors without the highest degree in their field who were approved for general membership prior to the establishment of this policy retain their membership.

Division Membership

Tenured and tenure-track professors without a Ph.D., clinical professors, professors of the practice, senior lectures, senior extension associates, and visiting critics may be routinely nominated to division membership on the graduate faculty. . As division members, they are limited to administering and advising in professional degree programs —in their area, or serving as a minor member for research degrees as below.

Minor Membership

Academic staff members not normally eligible for general membership—including division faculty, clinical professors, professors of the practice, senior lecturers, senior extension associates, and tenured or tenure-track professors without the highest degree for that field—may be nominated to minor membership if their qualifications justify the designation. Graduate faculty members of the Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences and those faculty affiliated with the Tri-Institutional Research Program are eligible for minor membership on the graduate faculty, based on nomination to a field as below.

Minor members of the graduate faculty may serve as minor subject members on any special committee.

Last Updated: May 23, 2018 at 10:24 am