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Department of History
Old Horticulture
506 E. Circle Dr
Room 256
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48824
Main: 517.355.7500
Fax: 517.353.5599
Email: history@msu.edu
Hours: 8:00-5:00 M-F

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Graduate Handbook

IV – Selection of Advisor & Formation of the Guidance Committee

The Graduate Director will serve as the advisor for all newly admitted graduate students for their first semester. The student must formally establish a guidance committee before the end of the second semester of doctoral study. This committee shall consist of no fewer than four members, at least three of whom are History faculty members. The prospective dissertation director normally serves as the committee chair and major advisor; the second member of the committee also represents the major field; the third, fourth and any additional members will represent the minor fields. With the approval of the chair of the guidance committee and the graduate director, the student may add additional members who can make distinctive contributions to the program of study. They may be drawn from the Department of History or from other departments within the University. Once constituted, the committee plans with the student the course work and other activities required to develop competence in the fields of study. The committee and the student will agree to the student’s program. This is indicated in the guidance committee report. Each doctoral candidate takes at least one formal graduate course under the direction of the major professor.

A report (the “Guidance committee report”) including a statement of the student’s proposed program, with a timetable and tentative dissertation topic is filed in the office of the Dean of the College of Social Sciences within the first two semesters of doctoral study. In the report, the committee recommends the amount of graduate credit beyond the master’s degree level from other institutions which should be accepted; what study, if any, may be done in absentia, and under what conditions; what language examinations or alternative programs, if any, the student should take.

Members of the student’s committee can be changed with the written consent of the student’s main advisor and Graduate Director. The main advisor can be changed with the consent of the Graduate Director.