Graduate School Forms

Selecting a Chair of the Special Committee

The Director of Graduate Studies will be the chair for first and second-year students until a permanent chair is nominated (typically toward the end of the second year)

First-year students

  • The chair should be the Director of Graduate Studies.
  • Students must select this temporary chair themselves using the online Student Center. To access the online Student Center click, here
  • DGS approves all selections electronically and will not approve any other choice of temporary chair.

Second-year students

  • Expected to select a permanent chair before the end of the second semester of their second year.
  • The chair must come from the members of the Ph.D. Program Faculty.To view the Ph.D. program faculty, click here.
  • At the time the chair is selected, the student must also select a major concentration.
  • The online Student Center will only permit combinations of committee chair and field that are consistent. To access the online Student Center click, here.
  • When selecting a committee chair who is a member of several graduate fields, be careful to select an economics concentration, not a concentration offered by another field.
  • DGS must approve the choice of chair and major concentration electronically.

Selecting a Full Special Committee

Second and third-year students may complete their special committees in the online Student Center at any time before the start of the second semester of the third year of study. To access the online Student Center, click here.

  • One can only complete the special committee by adding at least two committee members (for a total committee of at least three persons).
  • Two person (incomplete) committees cannot be processed in the online Student Center.
  • Be careful to select the correct faculty member (the Student Center will allow you to add any member of the Graduate Faculty) and the correct minor concentrations.
  • For three-person committees (the most common), the major concentration and the two minor concentrations must be unique.
  • The individual committee members and the DGS must approve the selection.
  • Once the student has an approved three-person committee, to add a fourth member or to change members use the online Student Center.
  • Every change must be approved by the members of the committee who are continuing to serve (or new) and the DGS.

The concentration "Basic Analytical Economics" may only be selected as a minor concentration, and is usually used by students whose major field is not economics but who have completed all economics qualifying exams and courses.

Adding a Committee Member Who Is Not Cornell Graduate Faculty

The field of economics permits students to have committee members who are not on the Cornell Graduate Faculty (ad hoc committee members). Usually such committee members are on the faculty at other universities, are visitors to Cornell, or are recently hired faculty who have not yet been elected to the Graduate Faculty (this process is not automatic, even for tenured faculty).

  • An ad hoc committee member in economics is the fourth person on the committee.
  • Ad hoc members cannot replace one of the three required Cornell Graduate Faculty members.
  • To request an ad hoc committee member, complete the Graduate School Form A8, get a copy of the requested member's full Curriculum Vitae, and contact the DGS with these materials. To complete the Graduate School form A8, click here.
  • The DGS must nominate the ad hoc member. Students cannot do this for themselves.


Students having trouble selecting or modifying a special committee for programmatic or technical reasons should contact the DGS. If the online Student Center simply won't cooperate, we will use the old paper form.

A Copy of the old paper form is here.

Scheduling the A or B Exam

To schedule the A Exam

  • Complete the "Schedule the A Examination" form. This form must be fully completed (exam date, time, place; all student information; all committee signatures) before it is presented to the DGS for signature. To access "Schedule the A Examination" form, click here.
  • The form is due at the Graduate School one week before the scheduled exam date.

To schedule the B Exam

  • Complete the Graduate School form "Schedule the B Examination". This form must be fully completed (exam date, time, place; all student information; all committee signatures) before it is presented to the DGS for signature. To access the "Schedule the B Examination" form, click here.
  • The form is due at the Graduate School one week before the scheduled exam date.

Once the form has been signed by all committee members, including the email permissions, present the form to the DGS for approval. It will then be conveyed to the GFA, who will submit it electronically to the Graduate School.

If a member of the committee is absent from Cornell, approval of the exam schedule may be sent by email to the DGS and GFA. The email must come directly from the faculty member. It may not be forwarded by the student.

Remote & Proxy Attendance at A or B Exams

An A or B exam may only be conducted if the student and at least three members of the Graduate Faculty are present. Usually, the student and the full committee are present in Ithaca, and the exam is conducted in person.

Occasionally, one or more members of the committee cannot be physically present in Ithaca.  Read the policy (page 36) carefully to ensure that the examination is conducted in a form that the Graduate School will allow.

Please pay very careful attention to the following proxy rules. Failure to comply with these rules may invalidate the exam.

  • The chair of the special committee must be physically present at the exam, or present for the entire exam by Skype, video conference or speakerphone. The chair may not nominate a proxy to attend the exam in his or her place.
  • A minor committee member may be absent from the exam as long as a proxy is named. The proxy must be physically present at the exam and is expected to sign for the absent member. A Designation of Proxy for Exam/Thesis form must be submitted to the graduate school prior to the exam. The proxy must represent the same concentration as the regular committee member, as his or her proxy. Click here to access the Designation of Proxy for Exam/Thesis form.
    • A committee member participating from a remote location is not considered absent but still requires a signature proxy.
  • If the special committee consists of four or more persons, one of the members physically present at the exam may proxy for an absent member, but there must be at least three committee members (or proxies) present at the exam, including those participating remotely.
  • The remote participant is expected to have high quality audio and video conferencing facilities. Distance learning rooms (H.323 protocol or SIP) are always acceptable. If Skype or Google Hangout are used, the petition should say so, and the student should ensure that remote participants have been provided with all presentation materials in advance.

Reporting the Results of an A or B Exams

*Students should bring a copy of the correct form with the student information completed to the examination.

 At the A Exam 

  • Master's degree may be awarded to continuing students or to students who will not continue in the program.
    • The degree awarded at the A Exam is not the Ph.D.
  • The special committee should compete the A Examination Results Form for the A Exam. To access the A Examination Results Form, click here.
  • The chair of the special committee should correctly indicate any master's degree to be awarded (the new form is very clear, carefully distinguishing the relevant options).
  • The Chair is responsible for ensuring that the "Research Compliance Information for Graduate Students" form is properly completed.

At the B exam 

  • Ph.D. is normally awarded.
  • The special committee should complete the B Exam Results Form for the B Exam. To access the B Exam Results Form, click here.
    • It is extremely important that the special committee complete all parts of the exam results form.
  • In addition to indicating the outcome, the committee must provide instructions to the Graduate School about any degree to be awarded.

Once the exam results form has been completed and signed by the special committee members, it should be presented to the DGS for signature. It will then be conveyed to the GFA who will deliver it to the graduate school electronically.