PhD Faculty Mentors and Committees

Work with your Faculty Advisor to decide which courses you need to take

The PhD program s is intended to be an individually designed program that makes it possible for students to develop the course of study that best fulfills their unique needs, with the advice of their Faculty Advisor(s) and doctoral committee. We recognize that the students recruited into the program have experience in the field of public health or similar disciplines and have career directions that may vary tremendously, including policy development and services, academia, applied research, and other foci. Students will be expected to graduate with not only excellent methodological skills, but also a wider and deeper understanding of public health and their individual area of focus. Throughout your PhD, you will rely on the advice and expertise of your advisors, mentors, and committee members.

 Major Professor

The student will be assigned one or more Major Professors prior to the start of the program. The major professor is also referred to as the faculty advisor or faculty mentor.

Your Major Professor is your main advisor throughout your PhD experience. Profiles of each faculty member and their research and practice interests can be found on the COPH website. Look under Faculty and Staff on each department's home pageYou can find the areas of specialization, and if you click on individual faculty, you will find more detailed information. For more information on the role and responsibilities of the major professor please refer the the USF Catalog

 Dissertation Committee

Doctoral Committee Form (complete in Archivum)

Within the second year of the program, as you approach finishing your coursework, you should establish a doctoral committee. The doctoral committee will consist of a minimum of one Major Professor and two Faculty Members from the faculty of the COPH, as well as one external professional:

  • Major Professor: You need a Major Professor (or co-majors) to lead your doctoral committee. This role is typically filled by your Faculty Advisor.
  • Committee Members: You need two additional faculty members from the COPH to be on your doctoral committee, (one member must be from your concentration/discipline). One of these positions can also be filled by a Faculty Co-Major if you have two faculty advisors.
  • External Member: In the PhD program, we require you to select at least one person outside of COPH to be your external member. That person must have a doctoral degree and may need to be credentialed by the Office of Graduate Studies to serve on your committee.
  • Other members: You are welcome to have other members of the committee if your Faculty Chair recommends it.
  • Additional tips on forming a committee:
    • It is important that committee members work together in a collaborative and congenial manner.
    • Four or five committee members is an optimal number. Greater than five committee members can result in scheduling issues.
    • Once the committee is formed, the student should schedule an initial, in-person meeting with all committee members. After this initial meeting, the student and committee members may continue to meet as a group or the student may meet individually with each committee member. This is up to the student and/or committee member’s preferences and scheduling constraints.
    • Committee must be composed of at least 3 COPH faculty members, and one faculty member external to the college.

To get your doctoral committee approved, you must submit your committee appointment request through Archivum. Instructions can be found here. The Committee Form must be submitted at least three weeks prior to the submission of your Qualifying Exam form. If you would like to make changes to your committee , but did not submit the original form in Archivum, you will need to use this form: PhD Change of Committee Form