DATE: August 27, 2010
TO: Graduate Deans, Chairs/directors, Graduate Coordinators, and Graduate Staff
FROM: Kenneth J. Gerhardt
Senior Associate Dean
RE: Elimination of Requirement for a Graduate Committee for Non-thesis Degrees
Over the past 40 years, the requirements for a graduate degree in most disciplines have evolved from thesis or dissertation work to coursework and capstone experiences. The first occurrence of non-thesis options under previously thesis-only degrees appeared in the 1973 University of Florida Graduate Catalog. Over the years, these degree programs became known by the Council of Graduate Schools as graduate-professional programs.
A critical requirement for thesis and dissertation degrees is the supervisory committee. Its composition is reasonably consistent at most U.S. graduate-research universities and includes a chair, committee members from within the discipline, and an external member. For non-thesis degree programs, the identification of a supervisory committee has lost its importance.
A supervisory committee must be appointed for every graduate student. The deadline date for appointing supervisory committee members is at the end of the term in which the student earns 12 or more semester credit hours, or at the end of the second semester of study, whichever comes later.
The supervisory committee, for a non-thesis student, may consist of one member of the graduate faculty, if there is no minor, but must include a representative of the minor field if one is designated. The duties of the committee are to advise the student, to check on the qualifications and progress of the student, and to conduct or participate in conducting the comprehensive examination.
New Requirement Effective Fall 2010:
The Graduate School will no longer require departments to establish supervisory committees for students pursuing non-thesis options under any degree type, or to enter supervisory committee names into GIMS. The only exception will be if the student is pursuing a minor, the name of the minor representative will be required to be entered into GIMS.
Department chairs or their designees shall assume the responsibilities for advising and monitoring the progress of their students and for overseeing the comprehensive examination. The date of the final comprehensive examination will continue to be submitted through GIMS. Departments may at their own discretion keep these records if needed.
The date of implementation shall be Fall semester 2010. Adoption of this new policy will reduce unnecessary work in academic units that offer non-thesis degrees, and will provide a more accurate record of faculty participation on thesis and dissertation committees.
Some programs require a project-in-lieu of a thesis. Those students will still require a supervisory committee entered into GIMS.
Kenneth J. Gerhardt, Ph.D.
Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Graduate School University of Florida
109 Grinter Hall
PO Box 115500
Gainesville, Florida 32601
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