Ph.D. Supervisory Committee
Each graduate student has an advisor. New students are assigned a temporary advisor* by the department (contact Genie Hanson to ask about yours). No later than after completing two semesters and having attended the seminar (CS 7900), you should be able to decide what kind of research area you want to work in, and who would be the best professor to supervise that research. You should approach that professor with an idea of the research area, and possibly the topic, that you would like to work on. If the professor agrees to accept you, then the professor becomes your permanent advisor for your Ph.D. Supervisory Committee, also called your Major Professor.
Together, the permanent advisor and you will decide on other members of the graduate supervisory committee, which will supervise the rest of your graduate work. You should approach each potential member and explain your plans, then ask that person to serve on your committee. The committee must then be approved by the Computer Science Department Head and the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies. Your committee will have your major professor and four other faculty members, at least two of whom are in the CS department, and at least one of whom is in another department.
This committee will approve your studies from that point on. Specifically, they will approve a Program of Studies, which lists the courses you have taken, which courses you will take in future semesters, and the title of your dissertation.
*Ph.D. students don't usually change their initial, temporary advisor until they form their Supervisory Committee. If you already have a major professor and want to change because you are not making progress, or if you have additional questions, contact Genie Hanson.
Your permanent advisor must be within the CS Department if you receive department funding (research or teaching assistantship, or fellowship).
If your advisor leaves USU, it is your responsibility to get a new advisor. The advisor cannot, in general, direct your progress from another university (exceptions may be made for students who have passed the Ph.D. proposal or are otherwise nearing completion of their degree).