At the time of admission, the graduate program officer or Department head will assign a graduate adviser to assist with registration and related procedures. This adviser will work with the student during the first semester and through the candidacy examination.

After passing the candidacy examination, the student and advisor should develop a tentative plan for completion of the graduate program, see Doctoral Plan of Study. A graduate committee consisting of a minimum of four graduate faculty members, including the adviser, needs to be identified. At least one and no more than two individuals must represent disciplines outside the Department of Agricultural Economics, Sociology, and Education. At least two members of the committee must be from the Department.

In selecting committee members, a student should consider the expertise of the individuals, their willingness to participate, and the extent to which they may be helpful in future professional goals. Students should complete at least one course with each committee member as part of their program.

A graduate student's committee is responsible for approving a student's program and promoting communication among the graduate student, the committee chair (or adviser) and the members of the committee, and more generally, for helping to ensure the successful completion of the student's program. The committee should be appointed immediately after the doctoral student's admission to candidacy. In order to minimize misunderstandings and help foster a collegial relationship among the graduate student, the committee chair, and the members of the committee, the Graduate Student Committee Procedures and Doctoral Committee Appointment Signature Form and Procedures Form was designed (this can be obtained from the Graduate Programs Coordinator in 111B Armsby) . When a committee is formed, the student should provide all committee members with a copy of this form and obtain signatures from each committee member on the Committee Appointment Signature Form. The original signed copy of the Committee Appointment Signature Form should be provided to the Graduate Programs Coordinator in 111B Armsby for signature by the Graduate Program Officer, after which it will be forwarded to the Graduate School in order to form the student's official doctoral committee.

The graduate committee is responsible for approving the graduate course program and the doctoral dissertation topic and research.

An assigned advisor may be changed at the request of the student and/or advisor and with the approval of the graduate officer or Department Head. If a student initiates, the student must first discuss doing so with her/his current advisor and the proposed advisor. Both faculty must concur with the change, after which the student makes a written request to the graduate program officer or Department Head.