Sometime during your first two years in the Ph.D. program, you will select an advisory committee. That committee will include your primary advisor and three to four other Duke faculty members. With the approval of the DGS and your primary advisor, faculty members from outside of Duke may serve on advisory committees. The other faculty members on the advisory committee may include field directors and external readers.
Your field directors perform vital functions in regards to your graduate education. In some ways it is similar to the role of your primary advisor; in other ways, their roles are more circumscribed. The field directors will examine you in the fields that they direct and provide guidance for coursework and written work in those fields.
External readers may be added to the committee at your discretion and the discretion of your primary advisor. External readers will not direct fields, but will be able to read the entire portfolio and participate in the portfolio discussion as full voting members of the committee.
After your portfolio defense, as you move into your dissertation writing stage, field directors and external readers may also advise you as appropriate, depending on their fields of expertise. With the approval of the DGS, following your portfolio defense you may appoint a different set of faculty members to consult on your dissertation.
NOTE: All obligations of your advisory committee remain in force during sabbaticals or other leaves of all Duke faculty members.