Thesis Requirements

A Ph.D. student in the Program must do a thesis that is interdisciplinary in nature. It is expected that the thesis will draw upon both the primary and secondary areas of study. The responsibility to check that the thesis is indeed interdisciplinary lies with the thesis committee. For this reason, there are rules requiring that Program faculty participate prominently on the student's thesis committee:

  • The chair must be a faculty in both the Group and the home department.
  • In addition to the chair, the committee must contain two more Group faculty who are not in the student's home department.
  • In addition to the chair, the committee must contain two more faculty from the home department. (It does not matter whether these two are in the Program or not.)

(Note: there are other UCSD rules to consider, such as the requirement that the committee must contain one tenured faculty from outside the home department.)

A typical committee consists of the chair, two home department faculty, and two Group faculty who are not in the home department, with one or more of the later two Group faculty being tenured. In some cases it may be necessary to enlarge the size of a student's committee to satisfy all of these requirements. This is not usually necessary, but if needed, there is no problem with enlarging the committee.