For a PhD student in my University, there will be a doctoral review committee presentation for every six months.

Course work is for first eighteen months.

But from fourth semester, student has to present his research work. In general, the presentation includes the summary of research papers studied in the semester, details of research papers published by student, if any and the novel ideas on which the student worked in that semester.

The committee contains three persons and presentation goes off record. Then there may be chance of copying the novel idea by any committee member. So I'm wondering whether it is a custom only in my University or in other universities also.

So my question is that is it customary to discuss or present novel ideas in front of doctoral committee in atleast many of the Universities?

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  • If one of the committee members stole a student's idea, the other two could confirm that the student had presented it at the review. So it seems to me that any stealing would need a conspiracy of at least two and probably all three committee members. If you have reason to fear not only dishonesty by one professor but a conspiracy, then I have to agree with Buffy's advice: you (and anyone else) shouldn't be there. – Andreas Blass Jan 19 '20 at 3:36

I have been faculty in a program that did something like this. But the presentations were more open. Other doctoral students and many involved faculty.

Ideally it shouldn't be a problem. People should be able to give candidates advice after seeing what they are working on and thinking about.

However, if it is a problem, and you have reason to fear people will steal ideas and develop them before you can, then you are in the wrong university with the wrong faculty and I advise you to make a fast exit. It is really an unethical atmosphere if this does happen.

Back when I was a grad student we had a small seminar with a few students and some faculty. There were only six or so of us. But we discussed things pretty openly. There was no problem and no fear that there could be a problem.


Yes, it's completely normal for a committee to review a PhD student's research. Research includes novel ideas.

The committee may help you improve your ideas. Usually faculty have more ideas than they need and, as a result, have no need to steal any.

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