The graduate school states you should have a full committee when starting your 4th semester. If you do not have your committee selected you will have a hold placed on your registration the following semester.

You may submit your select your special committee online in your student center.

Guidelines for selecting your special committees:

Rules: your committee needs to have at least 3 members:

  • a chair, the main person advising your research
  • a second CS field member who is not in the immediate area of your advisor.  There are no course requirements associated with this minor.
  • a member of a field other than CS, representing an outside minor which you will do.

An example of how your committee should look in Student Center if you choose the minimum of three members:

  1. Faculty Member - Role - Concentration/Plan
  2. Faculty A - Chairman - Systems
  3. Faculty B - Minor - Artificial Intelligence
  4. Faculty C - Minor - Applied Math


  1.  Faculty D - Co-Advisor - Systems
  2.  Faculty D - Minor - Systems

From the Code of Legislation:  “A co-chair has the same rights, responsibilities, and obligations as a single special committee chair; both co-chairs must fulfill all chair requirements. Doctoral committees with two co-chairs require only one additional minor member.”  

*Please do not use the plan "Computer Science", you must use the concentration/plan in which your member represents such as Artificial Intelligence, Systems, etc.


  • it is perfectly fine, in fact advisable, to have more than one faculty from the same area on your committee. This will lead to having more than 3 member committees, which is great! Extra committee members are an extra source of advice, and likely an extra source of recommendations.
  • Committees can be changed any number of times later - all you need is a signature from everyone on your committee stating that they are OK with the change. Although it becomes a bit more difficult to change your committee after your A exam.
  • You may also have members of your committee who are not field members. You need to have 3 who are field members, so a non-field member would be a 4th. You may want to add a Cornell researcher, who is not a field member, or even someone not from Cornell (if you are working with someone long distance). This is called an ad-hoc committee member. Please reach out to Becky Stewart for instructions on how to add an ad hoc member if you decide you would like to do this.