Choosing an Advisor and Advisory Committee

The purpose of the advisory committee is to help students define a topic for dissertation research, as well as choose examination areas and develop a plan of study that will prepare them for dissertation research. The graduate advisor's role is to chair the committee, oversee the examination and dissertation processes, and to serve as an academic mentor to the student.

The advisory committee consists of four members, including the chair. The chair must be part of the CRDM core faculty. The other three committee members can be selected from the faculty in the Departments of Communication and English, from affiliated faculty (see the list of faculty on the CRDM website), or from UNC-CHUNC-G and Duke University. At least one member must be from Communication and one from English. According to NC State's policy on external committee members and technical consultants [graduate school handbook section 3.2.D], students may select committee members from institutions other than NC State. 

Where applicable, students must complete the appropriate advisory committee appointment form:

Generally, the program advises against a six-person committee. If a student needs a sixth member, however, the DGP can allow the additional committee member.



Substituting members on a committee requires approval by the Graduate School. In an emergency, approval should be obtained if possible. If approval cannot be obtained in time for the defense (for example, it is after business hours on a Friday), you may proceed with the exam, and submit the request for approval immediately.

Conducting the exam with a substitute without Graduate School approval, you risk invalidating the exam. The student and committee will have to reschedule, reconvene, and redo the exam if the Graduate School determines that the initial exam is void.


  1. No CRDM core faculty member can serve as GSR, even if they are representing their department in the defense.
  2. COM and ENG faculty members who are  not affiliated with the CRDM program may serve as GSR if they feel they can be an unbiased observer in the exam.

  3. Students may choose a GSR who does not conflict with the statements above and include the GSR name on their exam request form.

  4. If students cannot find a GSR or prefer that the Graduate School assign one, a request should be sent to the Program Associate, who will then submit it to the Graduate School at least 15 business days prior to the oral exam date.

  5. The program recommends that the student selects a GSR as soon as the reading lists have been accepted by the committee and the student is officially studying for exams.

Approved by the CRDM committee on February 25th, 2016.