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How to (Carefully) Choose a Thesis Advisory Committee . Dr. W. Dean Care Dean & Professor Health Studies and Graduate Studies Brandon University September 2011. Thesis Topic. S elect a topic that you: care deeply about; will find interesting to research and write about; and

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how to carefully choose a thesis advisory committee

How to (Carefully) Choose a Thesis Advisory Committee

Dr. W. Dean Care

Dean & Professor

Health Studies and Graduate Studies

Brandon University

September 2011

thesis topic
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
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
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
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 advisor6
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
Thesis Committee
  • Typically involves an Advisor/Supervisor, an internal member, and an external member (external to the School).
  • The Thesis Advisor and thesis Committee should be advocates for your success throughout the process.
  • Choosing the right committee will effect your thesis journey.
how to choose a committee
How to Choose a Committee?
  • Ask your Thesis Advisor for suggestions
  • Speak with other students
  • Select committee members that your advisor can work with
  • Interview potential candidates
  • Ask questions about areas of expertise, strengths, time commitments, style of work, sabbatical plans, etc.
choosing a thesis committee
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 committee10
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 members
Establish a Plan with Committee Members
  • Establish a thesis plan with timelines (thesis proposal)
  • How often should the committee meet (face-to-face or virtually)?
  • 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
No Cookie Cutter!

Each student-advisor/committee relationship is unique. Some very successful ones are quite informal and distant; others are close and dynamic.

One type of Advisor or Committee does not fit all!