Personnel and Policy → Roles and Responsibilities of Graduate Faculty

Supervisory Committee

General Supervisory Committee Information

Graduate students must set up their supervisory committees by the time they have completed 12 semester credit hours of course work or the end of their second semester, whichever comes first.

Supervisory Committee forms require sensitive information that falls under Buckley Amendment and other privacy protections. Supervisory Committee forms must be prepared by authorized graduate program personnel at the department. Students may not fill out their own Supervisory Committee form. Supervisory Committee forms completed by students will not be processed.

Students must have a supervisory committee entered in GIMS by the published mid-point of the term they graduate. All changes to the supervisory committee must be completed by the the time the final exam is held and the date is submitted via GIMS.

Appointment

Supervisory committees for graduate degree programs are nominated by the respective department chair, approved by the college dean, and appointed by the Dean of the Graduate School. The Dean of the Graduate School is an ex-officio member of all supervisory committees. Only regular members of graduate faculty, or special appointments, may serve as members of a supervisory committee. Students must form a supervisory committee by the end of their second semester, or by end of the semester in which they will have accumulated 12 semester credit hours, which ever comes later. If a minor is designated for any degree, the committee must include one member, with a graduate faculty appointment, as the representative for that proposed minor. Students pursuing two minors must appoint representatives for each minor area to the committee. A special appointment may not serve as a minor representative.

Membership

The chair of a supervisory committee must have graduate faculty status in the student’s major department.

Master’s Degree

For most master’s degrees with a thesis, a supervisory committee must be composed of at least two members, selected from the graduate faculty. For most nonthesis master’s options, the supervisory committee must consist of one member (chair) selected from the graduate faculty in the student’s major department.

Specialist Degree

For the Specialist in Education degree, a supervisory committee must consist of one member (chair) selected from the graduate faculty in the student’s major department.

Engineer Degree

For the degree of Engineer, the supervisory committee must consist of at least three members, two selected from the major department and at least one member from a supporting department. (See Graduate Catalog for further information and recommendations.)

Doctor of Audiology Degree

The committee shall consist of no fewer than two members of the audiology graduate faculty.

Doctor of Education and Doctor of Philosophy Degree

Four members of the graduate faculty are required for all supervisory committees of doctoral candidates. The chair and at least one other member from the committee must be from the department recommending the degree, the third member can be from the department recommending the degree or from a different educational discipline, and the fourth member must be the official External Member of the committee who is outside the student’s major.

The Graduate School Dean is an ex-officio member of every supervisory committee.

External Committee Members

The external member’s primary responsibility is to represent the interests of the Graduate School and the University of Florida at doctoral committee activities. In the event that departmental committee activity conflicts with broader University policies or practices, the external member is responsible for bringing such conflicts to the attention of the appropriate governing body. The external member is therefore prohibited from holding any official interest in the doctoral candidate’s major department. The external member must also be a regular member of the graduate faculty. Faculty holding joint, affiliate, courtesy, or adjunct graduate faculty appointments in the degree-granting department cannot be external members on a student’s committee. Special appointments to supervisory committees (see next topic) may not serve as external committee members.

Special Appointments

People without graduate faculty status may be made official members of a student’s supervisory committee through the special appointment process. The chair of the student’s supervisory committee requests the special appointment with the Special Appointment form (available through GIMS) and fills out the form with all information for the student and the special appointment, as well as a brief explanation of what the member will contribute to the supervisory committee. A curriculum vitae must be attached to the form if this is the member’s first special appointment.

A special appointment is made for a specific supervisory committee. If a student changes to a new degree or major and the committee chair wishes to include the special member on the new supervisory committee, a second Special Appointment form must be submitted to the Graduate School for the second committee.

Appropriate candidates for special appointments include individuals from outside of the University of Florida with specific expertise which will contribute to a graduate student’s program of study; tenure-track faculty who have not yet qualified for graduate faculty status; and nontenure-track faculty or staff at the University of Florida who do not qualify for graduate faculty status.

Special appointments have several limitations because they are not full graduate faculty. A special appointment may only serve as a regular member of a committee. A special appointment may not serve as a supervisory committee chair, cochair, or external member. A special appointment may not be counted toward minimum committee graduate faculty requirements; for instance a master’s thesis committee with a special appointment will still require the inclusion of two full members of the graduate faculty. A special appointment may not be the minor representative for a student with a minor.

Minor/External Member

The faculty member who represents a minor on a student’s committee may be appointed as the external member if s/he does not have a courtesy graduate appointment in the student’s major department. Any valid major can be used as a minor as long as it is outside the student’s major department. If a minor is sought that is not a valid major, a program of study with a list of courses to be counted toward the minor must be submitted along with the Supervisory Committee form. The requirements for a minor for a doctoral student are 12 semester credit hours of course work that must to be at the 5000 level or above. A minor at the master’s level must be a minimum of 6 semester credit hours of course work.

Cochair

To substitute for the chair of the committee at any examinations, the co-chair must be in the same department as the candidate.

Retired Faculty

Graduate faculty members who retire may continue their service on supervisory committees for one year. Retired faculty who wish to continue serving on existing or new committees beyond this period may do so with departmental approval. The office of Graduate Data Management (101 Grinter Hall, 392-1558) notifies department chairs of graduate faculty terminations and retirements (including those who are starting the DROP program). Notification includes a form with which the department chair may choose the disposition of the departing graduate faculty member.

Substitution of Members at Qualifying and Final Examinations

If a supervisory committee member cannot be present at the student’s final defense, a graduate faculty member in the same academic area may substitute for the absent committee member. The substitute should sign the Final Examination form on the left side, in the space provided for committee members, noting the name of the absent member.

In addition, the student’s major department chair must indicate on the form (or by accompanying correspondence) the reason for the missing member’s absence and that the missing original committee member has agreed to this substitution at the final examination.

The substitute committee member should not sign the signature page of the thesis or dissertation. The original committee member must sign. This would be an exception to the rule that the signature page and the Final Examination form are signed simultaneously at the conclusion of the defense.

The qualifying and comprehensive oral examinations and the oral defense of a thesis, project or dissertation may be conducted using video and/or telecommunications. It is required that the student and chair or co-chair must be in the same physical location. All other members may participate from remote sites via technological means.

No substitutions may be made for the committee chair or the external member of the committee. Changes to the supervisory committee may be entered online prior to the qualifying examination.

Duties and Responsibilities of Supervisory Committee

It is the duty of the supervisory committee members to inform the student of all regulations governing the degree sought. This does not absolve the student from the responsibility of becoming informed of the regulations.

The committee should meet with the student to discuss and approve his/her program of study.

The committee should meet with the student to discuss a thesis or dissertation topic and to approve this topic and the plans for carrying out the research.

Master’s Degree

All supervisory committee members must conduct the final examination. See Supervisory Committee Responsibilities for Graduate Student Examinations. Only the committee members sign the signature page for the thesis. Theses or equivalent projects must be approved unanimously by the supervisory committee.

Specialist Degree

The committee must conduct the final written and oral examinations for the Specialist in Education degree. Recommendation for the awarding of the degree must be unanimous.

Engineer Degree

For the degree of Engineer, the committee must conduct the final comprehensive written or oral examination, which also involves a defense of the thesis if one is included in the program. Unanimous approval by the committee is required.

Doctor of Audiology Degree

Duties of the supervisory committee include curriculum planning for the student, annual evaluation of the student’s progress in the program including administration of the oral and written comprehensive examination in the third year of study, and determination of successful completion of the research project. Unanimous approval by the committee is required.

Doctor of Education or Doctor of Philosophy Degree

For EdD and PhD students, the committee should produce an annual written evaluation reviewing procedures, progress, and expected results, and making suggestions for the completion of the study.
The committee must conduct the qualifying examination (see Supervisory Committee Responsibilities for Graduate Student Examinations) or, in those cases where the examination is administered by the department, must take part in it. The entire committee must be present for the oral portion of the examination.

The committee must meet when the dissertation is completed and conduct the final oral comprehensive examination. The entire supervisory committee must be present for this examination. Only members of the supervisory committee are allowed to sign the dissertation. The dissertation must be approved unanimously by the supervisory committee.

Doctor of Plant Medicine Degree

The duties of the supervisory committee include curriculum and internship planning and evaluation of the student, annual evaluation of the student’s progress in the program, and cooperation in the final and/or oral examination in the areas of plant pathology, entomology and nematology, and plant sciences.

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