Choose a Thesis Advisory Committee

Dr. W. Dean Care
Dean & Professor
Health Studies and Graduate Studies
Brandon University
September 2011
Thesis Topic
Select a topic that you:
 care deeply about;
 will find interesting to research and write about; and
 for which you can find a faculty thesis advisor who
shares your interest in exploring the topic.
Personal Reflection
 What are your career goals?
 What are your personal work and learning styles?
 What are your timeframes for thesis completion?
 How will these fit with potential thesis advisor and
committee members?
Thesis Advisor
 Also called “Chair” or “Supervisor”
 Talk to potential advisors by the end of your first year
(second year if part time).
 Once you identify a potential topic, begin
conversations with faculty whose research interests
mesh with your interests.
 The Thesis Advisor can provide advice on elective
courses that will fit your thesis topic.
Choosing a Thesis Advisor
 Talk with other students
 Narrow down your options
 Interview the “candidates”
 Have you established rapport or a relationship?
 What are their sabbatical plans?
 Are they enthusiastic about your topic?
Choosing a Thesis Advisor
 What is the advisor’s research/publication track
record? (ask for their CV)
How many graduate students are she/he supervising?
Do they have time for you?
Will they provide prompt feedback on drafts?
Will they challenge you to excel?
What is their style of supervision (general overview or
micro manager)?
Thesis Committee
 Typically involves an Advisor/Supervisor, an internal
member, and an external member (external to the
 The Thesis Advisor and thesis Committee should be
advocates for your success throughout the process.
 Choosing the right committee will effect your thesis
How to Choose a Committee?
 Ask your Thesis Advisor for suggestions
 Speak with other students
 Select committee members that your advisor can work
 Interview potential candidates
 Ask questions about areas of expertise, strengths, time
commitments, style of work, sabbatical plans, etc.
Choosing a Thesis Committee
 Are they members of the Faculty of Graduate Studies?
 Ask for a copy of their CV’s
 Impress upon them how you can help their careers
(supporting their research; advancing the knowledge
base; co-publishing/co-presenting from the thesis).
 What expertise do you need on your committee?
Choosing a Thesis Committee
 Can you work well with them?
 You want committee members who will be honest,
challenging, and respectful.
Establish a Plan with Committee
 Establish a thesis plan with timelines (thesis proposal)
 How often should the committee meet (face-to-face or
 What roles will members play?
 How often should you communicate via email, phone,
webcam, or ??
 How are multiple thesis drafts to be handled?
No Cookie Cutter!
Each student-advisor/committee
relationship is unique. Some very
successful ones are quite informal
and distant; others are close and
One type of Advisor or Committee
does not fit all!

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