Thesis Chair and Committee

The thesis committee is a group of three or more faculty members that are selected to help guide you through the process of producing a thesis. They should be selected carefully to match your interests, needs, and/or their expertise with specialty areas or questions you wish to pursue.

Thesis Chair: The thesis committee chair has the primary responsibility for coordinating and monitoring your research progress, from initial planning through to the completion of the final oral defense. It is required that each student finds a faculty member with Level A status whose interests either align with your own or who would appear willing and interested in helping you develop your research. To help in this process, you should begin to talk to different faculty members to discuss potential thesis topics and gauge their interest. If it looks like that person would be a good fit for the topic and someone you would work well with after thoughtful consideration, you should directly ask that individual if he or she would be willing to serve as your committee chair. Committee chairs sometimes have a maximum number of students they are permitted to advise, so if it is not a possibility due to this or other factors, that individual can help guide you to other individuals who might be good candidates for this role.

Other Thesis Committee Members: In addition to the thesis committee chair, the thesis committee includes at least two other members (one of whom is taken from the faculty of the Educational Psychology Department and one who is from a department that is external to EDP). One of the first steps in choosing committee members is to discuss them with your thesis chair. He or she may have a good idea of faculty availability and expertise that could help assist you in the process. It is important to choose other committee members who have expertise to bring to bear to help you in your research (i.e. specific topic knowledge, statistical knowledge, expertise on research design, and/or a formative scholarly relationship with the student). Committee membership must include:

  1. A thesis chair who is from the Educational Psychology Faculty Member who has Level A graduate faculty status4;
  2. At least 1 school psychology faculty member (if the chair is not a school psychology faculty member) or at least 1 other educational psychology or school psychology faculty member (if the chair is a school psychology faculty member) who has at least Level B graduate faculty status; and
  3. A Level A graduate faculty member external to the Department of Educational Psychology (such as psychology, speech-language, teacher education, etc…).
  4. Current Level A faculty members should be verified and checked on a yearly basis with one of the program administrative assistants. As of Fall 2019, those EDP school psychology faculty with Level A status include Drs. Brann, Noltemeyer, and Sabnis. Other EDP faculty members with Level A status include Drs. Abbitt, Boone, Davis, Dickey, Swartz, Wang, Wasburn-Moses, and Watt. If a faculty member is not Level A, they can chair a thesis committee, but only if a Level A faculty member agrees to co-chair it with them. See the program coordinator, Dr. Mezher for any answers or clarification.