Advanced Graduate Handbook
Doctoral Committees (Ph.D., Ed.D.)
Appointment of the Doctoral Committee
Upon admission to a doctoral program, the student is required to meet with the department's Graduate Program Coordinator or assigned Program Advisor during the first semester of study to select a major professor and form a doctoral supervisory committee. The Coordinator/Advisor will help the student identify a Major Professor, a fully credentialed member of the College of Education graduate faculty, who has knowledge and interest in the area of study chosen by the student. If co-Major Professors are desired, at least one must be a fully credentialed faculty member in the College of Education; the second co-Major Professor may be a Full or Associate credentialed faculty member in the College of Education or a similarly qualified faculty member from another USF college.
The Major Professor is responsible for the following:
- assisting in the organization of the Doctoral Committee
- convening and chairing the Doctoral Committee meetings
- supervising the planning of the student's program of study
- supervising the design and evaluation of the qualifying examination
- supervising the preparation of the proposal and the dissertation, and
- conducting the affairs of the Doctoral Committee consistent with College and University policies.
The role of the Major Professor is to serve as an academic mentor, an advocate for the student, and a representative of the academic institution. As Chairperson of the Doctoral Committee, the Major Professor is the executive and accountable officer of that group. In that capacity the Major Professor has the responsibility and authority to make decisions on academic, logistical, technical, and interpersonal issues that may surface during the life of the committee.
Role and Composition of the Doctoral Committee
The Doctoral Committee is responsible for the following:
- participating in the planning of the program of study
- meeting with the candidate as needed for consultation
- participating in the preparation and evaluation of the qualifying examination
The Doctoral Committee is comprised of at least four members (a minimum of three members in addition to the Major Professor). The members must be credentialed as Associate or Full members of the College of Education graduate faculty. In special cases, a member(s) outside of the College of Education with special expertise in the academic area in which the major work of the degree will be done and whose academic record meets the criteria for credentialing at the Associate or Full level in the College of Education may serve on the doctoral committee. At least three members of the doctoral committee must come from the academic area in which the major work for the degree will be done. At least one member of the committee must be from outside the department of the student's major (or, in the case of School Psychology, outside the identified program faculty). One of the committee members should represent the cognate area that is a part of the student’s program of study.
- For a four-member committee, at least two members (the major professor and one other member) must be credentialed at the Full level in the College of Education.;
- A faculty member from one of the foundational areas (Psychological and Social Foundations, Educational Measurement & Research, or Curriculum and Instruction) may be counted toward the 3-member minimum requirement for the academic area in which the major work of the degree will be done.
Establishing a Doctoral Committee
The student should meet initially with the Major Professor for help in identifying prospective Doctoral Committee members. (As is noted above, one member of the doctoral committee must be from the cognate area that the student plans to pursue). The student should then meet individually with prospective committee members to ask them to serve on the doctoral committee. As soon as the student has secured the approval of all faculty members to serve on the committee, he/she should complete the Appointment Form for Advanced Graduate Student Supervisory Committee, available online through the COEDU homepage at Advanced Graduate Forms. The student should then secure the signatures of his/her Major Professor and other committee members on the form.
After all committee members have signed, the student should submit the form to the Department Chair for review and approval. A current vita for the major professor and committee member(s) outside the College of Education must accompany this form when submitted to the Department Chair.
The Department Chair reviews the Appointment Form for Advanced Graduate Student Supervisory Committee and, if he/she approves, signs and submits it along with accompanying vitae of non-COEDU member(s) (if applicable) to the COEDU Associate Dean for Academic Affairs (EDU 105). The COEDU Associate Dean for Academic Affairs approves and signs the form if it is complete and all committee members are appropriately credentialed. The Associate Dean for Academic Affairs sends copies to the Major Professor, the student, the COEDU Coordinator of Graduate Studies, and the Department Chairperson/Program Advisor.
The Supervisory Committee form must be submitted and approved by the end of the second semester of enrollment or before 15 hours of graduate coursework have been completed, whichever occurs first. If this requirement is not met, the student may be placed on pending status and unable to register for classes until the pending status is removed.
NOTE: It is in the best interest of the student to form the doctoral committee as soon as possible during the first semester of enrollment in the doctoral program so that the committee can help the student plan the program of study, which must be approved by the end of the second semester.
Change of Committee Membership
Change of Committee Member(s): The Major Professor is responsible for negotiating the replacement of a committee member if, in the joint opinion of the Major Professor and the student, the continuation of that member on the committee is counter-productive to the progress and/or completion of the doctoral program.
Change of Major Professor: In the event that the student should wish to replace the Major Professor, the student must apply to the COEDU Associate Dean for Academic Affairs using the Change to the Advanced Graduate Student Supervisory Committee form.
Change of Committee Form: Whenever there is a change made to the Doctoral Supervisory Committee a Change to the Advanced Graduate Student Supervisory Committee form should be completed and submitted by the doctoral student to the Office of the COEDU Associate Dean for Academic Affairs (EDU 105E). Committee members leaving the Committee or being added to the Committee should be listed and the form signed by the Major/Co-Major Professor(s) and new Committee members. The form must also be signed by the Department Chair. (For the Interdisciplinary Education program, the form must be signed by the Program Coordinator, Dr. E. V. Johanningmeier). No changes may be made to the Doctoral Committee within six weeks of the final dissertation defense.
At the time of the Doctoral Qualifying Examinations, the proposal defense, and the final oral defense, a current approved Advanced Graduate Student Supervisory Committee form must be on file in the Office of the COEDU Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and a copy in the COEDU Graduate Coordinator's office in order for the student to be cleared for the qualifying examination or defenses.
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