Graduate Faculty

The Graduate Faculty

View current policies on Graduate Faculty appointments.

The Graduate Faculty consists of members of the university faculty and other persons qualified by training and experience who are duly nominated and appointed. Only members of the Graduate Faculty may teach courses for graduate credit, supervise master’s programs and theses, or serve on doctoral committees.

Regular Graduate Faculty Status

Any faculty member who is appointed to a tenure-track position automatically receives Regular graduate status. These members of the Graduate Faculty may teach courses for graduate credit, supervise the master’s program and thesis, serve on committees, and sit on doctoral and/or master’s committees.

When appropriate, a qualified member of the Regular Graduate Faculty may be nominated to serve as co-chair of a specific dissertation committee if a faculty member with Dissertation Chair status serves as co-chair of the committee and agrees to ensure that all requirements are met. However, if the regular member of the Graduate Faculty has lost dissertation chair status, this does not apply. Present or newly appointed faculty members in tenure-track appointments with the rank of assistant professor or above in departments or programs with approved graduate programs are granted regular membership in the Graduate Faculty, provided they have received the terminal degree in their field of specialization or have acquired equivalent training and/or professional experience as determined by the appropriate Graduate Division.

In special cases where faculty members who hold regular membership in the graduate faculty enroll in a KU graduate program as part of their professional development, they may be permitted to retain their graduate faculty status. They may not supervise or serve as the instructor of record for students that are peers in the graduate program in which they are enrolled. To hold regular membership in the Graduate Faculty, a faculty member must continue to show evidence of a pattern of productive professional activity demonstrating the ability to contribute to high-quality graduate education. The form that productive professional activity may take varies across disciplines. Conventional evidence of such activity includes such things as effective teaching, scholarly publication, participation in professional societies, and other scholarly activity. Graduate degree programs are responsible for monitoring faculty with regular membership in the Graduate Faculty.

View current policies on regular Graduate Faculty status.

Dissertation Status

View current policies on Graduate Faculty dissertation status.

To qualify for the privilege a chairing doctoral dissertation committees, a regular member of the Graduate Faculty must demonstrate continuing activity commensurate with being an established scholar in his or her field and involvement in the graduate education program as evidenced by

  1. Teaching graduate courses,
  2. Advising and mentoring graduate students and serving on thesis and dissertation committees, and
  3. Maintaining an ongoing program of scholarly activity including and record of scholarship, publication and other contributions to the field.

It is the graduate program’s responsibility to nominate members of the Graduate Faculty for authorization to chair doctoral committees and to provide evidence of scholarship and involvement in the graduate education program. Authorization to chair dissertation committees is reviewed as part of each graduate program review.

Special Appointments

View current policies on Graduate Faculty special appointments.

Special membership may be granted to employees of the university and its affiliates who do not have tenure track faculty appointments in a department granting graduate degrees but who are uniquely qualified by training or experience and otherwise meet the established criteria for regular membership in the Graduate Faculty.

Such membership is for the purpose of

  1. Teaching a course or courses;
  2. Having courses cross-listed as KU courses if they are part of a cooperative graduate program between KU and the appointee’s home institution;
  3. Serving on the thesis, dissertation, or examination committee of a particular student or students;
  4. Chairing master’s thesis committees of a particular student or students.

Special memberships are limited to a maximum period of 5 calendar years for teaching purposes or for the duration of the specified committee assignment. All nominations for special membership must state clearly the specific purposes for which the nomination is being sought and, when it can be known in advance, the length of time for which it is being requested. Special appointments are reviewed by the appointing graduate department and continued as appropriate.

Graduate Faculty Appointment Chart

This chart summarizes the organization and privileges of the various types of Graduate Faculty appointments.

Type of Graduate Faculty appointment Employed by Type of faculty appointment Teach
graduate courses
Serve on master’s & doctoral committees1 Chair2 master’s committees Serve as outside member on doctoral committees Chair doctoral committees
Co-chair doctoral committees
Regular Graduate Faculty KU
Tenure-track/tenured Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes, unless dissertation status was discontinued
Graduate Faculty with dissertation status  KU Tenure-track/tenured Yes Yes
Yes Yes Yes
Special Graduate Faculty KU or its affiliates Nontenure-track Yes Yes Yes No No

1The term “doctoral committee” refers to both oral comprehensive and dissertation defense committees.

2A faculty member with the appropriate status may chair a degree committee alone or co-chair a degree committee with another faculty member (i.e., both co-chairs have equal status). Degree committees cannot have both a chair and a co-chair.

For information about the Graduate Faculty on the Lawrence and Edwards campuses, contact the Office of Graduate Studies.

A current list of Graduate Faculty on the Medical Center campus is posted on the KUMC Graduate Studies website.

Notice of Non-reappointment and Graduate Faculty Eligibility

View current policies on Graduate Faculty nonreappointment.

Faculty members given a notice of non-reappointment are not eligible to hold Graduate faculty status. The Provost's Office will provide the Graduate School with a written list of faculty who receive a notice of non-reappointment. The Graduate School will remove graduate faculty status for the above faculty for the appointment period for which the terminal notice is effective.

Upon non-reappointment the faculty member is no longer eligible for graduate faculty status. The named faculty member will no longer be allowed to teach future courses for graduate credit or to serve on graduate students' committees.

The appropriate dean of the school/College of the faculty member receiving the terminal notice may request, in writing, an exception to the policy from the Dean of Graduate Studies. Permission may be given to the faculty member to serve on a graduate student's committee if the graduate student will meet all degree requirements within the semester.

The faculty member who received notice of non-reappointment will be given a copy of the initial letter sent to the dean and will be provided a copy of the letter sent requesting and defining an exception.

University Faculty and Advanced Degrees

View current policies on university faculty and advanced degrees.

Members of the university faculty having, or eligible for, tenure or holding any rank above that of instructor will not be granted degrees or certificates. Because of the variety of appointments covered by such terms as Lecturer, Associate, or the like, every case must be considered individually, with the student’s department making a recommendation to Graduate Studies before the student begins the graduate degree or certificate program, or for students already in graduate programs, before the appointment is made. Although appointing departments are expected to bring this rule to the attention of prospective appointees who plan to seek degrees or certificates, the responsibility for initiating a request for waiver of the rule lies with the student. Waivers may be granted in rare cases where the student and the department demonstrate satisfactorily that circumstances and conditions assure freedom from conflict of interest and undue influence.


This catalog is not itself a source of policy and does not create a contract between the University of Kansas and its students. University policy is the binding agent in the event an inconsistency is noted between the catalog and official University policy. Whenever possible the catalog provides links to the policies referenced.

Contact Info

Office of Graduate Studies, Lawrence Campus

Strong Hall
1450 Jayhawk Blvd., Room 213
Lawrence, KS 66045-7518
Thomas Heilke, Dean of Graduate Studies

Office of Graduate Studies, KU Medical Center

5015 Wescoe Pavilion
Mail Stop 1040, 3901 Rainbow Blvd.
Kansas City, KS 66160
KUMC Graduate Studies site
Allen Rawitch, Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Dean of Graduate Studies
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