Choosing Dissertation Committee Members

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.

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.

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.

The dissertation supervisory committee must have at least four members, including the chair and the Graduate School representative (GSR).

At least three committee members (including the chair and the GSR) must be UW graduate faculty members with an endorsement to chair doctoral committees; a majority of your committee members must be graduate faculty members, identifiable through the Graduate Faculty Locator.Find the optimal set of members — especially the right chair (or two co-chairs) for your committee.Committee members need to: The final decision about the appropriate content of your project rests with the dissertation supervisory committee.Additional committee members may be added by qualified individuals with suitable academic training and research experience, either inside or outside the university.EXCEPTIONS: Any exceptions must have the approval of the Ph D Director and the Dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.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.The interdisciplinary nature of your work may require that feedback at an advanced stage of your dissertation will be provided by the committee in an integrated form.You may want to discuss with your chair how the committee could produce a collective memo integrating their shared feedback.Committee members and chairs play an important role in the success of graduate students.Academic committee members and chairs can determine (a) how quickly graduate students progress through their degrees, (b) how successful graduate students are in their research, (c) how successful graduate students are in networking with others in their fields, and (d) how successful graduate students will be in either academia or the professional world after graduation.

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