Working with Your Graduate Advisory Committee

Students working on both theses and projects will conduct their research under the guidance of a Graduate Advisory Committee (GAC).

Forming Your Graduate Advisory Committee

+ Your GAC must have a chair, a second reader, and a third reader.

+ Choose committee members from ETSU graduate faculty members whose classes you have taken during your Program of Study, including MALS faculty (the MALS director and MALS faculty members may serve on a students GAC).

+ Be sure to confirm with potential committee members that they are eligible to serve on your committee.

+ Following the ideal of an interdisciplinary thesis or project, you must choose GAC members from at least two different academic departments.

+ It is a good idea to schedule a meeting with the MALS director as soon as you have a good idea for a thesis or project topic and are ready to draft a proposal. If you request assistance, the MALS director will provide help and advice on committee composition. She can offer guidance for choosing a committee and prompt you to think about the types of sources you will consult and methods will use in approaching your research.

+ When you are ready to form your GAC, fill out and have each committee member sign a Committee Form—Master’s Degree. The form is also available in the MALS office.

Working With Your GAC

It is crucial that you choose your GAC members thoughtfully, especially when deciding who will chair the committee. You will be working closely with your chair, so it is essential to choose someone who is knowledgeable in the field of study pertaining to your thesis/project and who is willing to provide the guidance necessary for the successful adn timely completion of the thesis or project. The second and third readers also need to be willing and able to provide valuable guidance in the subject field, organizational, and compositional matters.

Be aware that your work is subject to revisions as suggested by your GAC. Each member of the committee must see the project or thesis as you are working on it. The committee chair is most responsible for setting the direction of your work and for suggesting revisions, but other committee members play a vital role in helping you complete your work. Therefore it is important to maintain a strong level of communication with your committee members and keep them updated on your progress.

In the rare instance that a student needs to change a committee member, he or she must complete a Change of Committee form.

Thesis and Project Proposals

All MALS students must submit a project or thesis proposal to their GAC chair and the MALS director. The proposal needs to outline in detailed form the nature and intent of the project or thesis and the sources you will use to accomplish your goals. The proposal must be approved by the GAC chair before you can proceed with your thesis or project.

Changing the Direction of Your Thesis or Project Research

Projects and theses often change, so it is not uncommon to shift course while you are working your thesis or project. Still, you will need to be sure to get approval from your chair before making any changes to your thesis or project.

For more information on culminating experiences, see the MALS Website or contact your MALS advisor.