Choosing Dissertation Committee Members

Choosing Dissertation Committee Members-66
Committee members should include faculty expertise in your dissertation’s core fields.You might consider having five members, especially if your project involves different disciplines requiring advice and guidance in all areas.Therefore, graduate students must carefully and thoughtfully choose which faculty will act as their committee members and chairs.

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Doctoral students in interdisciplinary programs face unique challenges in forming dissertation committees.

Based on our experience as directors of three such programs (Public Health Genetics, Urban Design and Planning, and Astrobiology), we offer the following suggestions.

Graduate students should definitely consider all three of these characteristics for both committee members and faculty chairs, but graduate students should especially consider the first two characteristics in their choices of faculty chairs.

Graduate students work more closely with faculty chairs than they do with academic committee members, so it is important that graduate students can get along with their faculty chairs.

To receive graduate degrees, graduate students will likely be required to write dissertations or theses under the direction of faculty chairs or advisors and to present that work to an academic committee who decide whether or not the students pass examination and qualify for graduation.

Typically, graduate students are allowed to choose their own chairs and committee members.

The Dissertation Chair must be an Economics full-time tenure / tenure-track faculty member, and should be someone who specializes in the area in which the student plans to write a dissertation.

If a student is having difficulty selecting a Dissertation Chair, the student can seek advice from the Ph D Director or complete directed readings (ECON 896) with different faculty members.

COMMITTEE SIZE: Doctoral candidates must have a dissertation committee made up of a Chair and at least two other members (Member #1, Member #2).

COMMITTEE CHAIR: Must be a Mason Economics full-time tenure / tenure-track faculty member.


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