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Assembling a Dissertation Committee

The committee’s primary goal is to provide each student with the guidance and support necessary to conduct an independent research project of the highest quality and relevancy that will lead to the preparation and defense of a master’s thesis or Ph.D. dissertation.

The faculty advisor, normally in consultation with the student and other program faculty, recommends appointment of faculty members to advise on and supervise each student’s research as part of their examination committees. Questions to guide your consideration of potential committee members include:

Expertise of faculty

  • What specific expertise will the member bring to my committee?
    • Do they have expertise in the subject of my study?
    • Do they have expertise in the methodology I plan to use?

Relationship and availability

  • Have we established a positive, professional relationship showing potential for a constructive working experience?
    • Does this faculty member know the quality of my work?
    • Have my interactions with them indicated I can take direction and advice from them?
  • · Does this faculty member have sufficient time to contribute to my work?
    • Will they be available for the duration of my graduate career?
    • Will they be able to provide timely constructive feedback?

Group dynamics

  • How well will these faculty members work together as a team on my committee?
    • Do these faculty members know each other professionally or personally?
    • What is the history of the relationships between each member?
  • Will my committee chair have a positive, professional relationship with each member?