Academic Policies & Procedures

Master's Thesis Students

Formation of a Thesis Committee

When a student is admitted to the thesis option, a member of the graduate faculty will be appointed to serve as the student's advisor and as the chair of the master's thesis committee. This committee consists of the chair and at least two other Indiana University graduate faculty members. The chair of the committee must be a graduate faculty member in the department in which the student’s degree is being pursued. While students often wish to have a member of the committee from an institution other than Indiana University, such an individual may serve only as a consultant for the committee, but not as one of the three required members. Information regarding the eligibility of faculty members to serve on the master's thesis committee is available in the School of Public Health - Bloomington records office in SPH 115. A Nomination of Master's Thesis Committee Form, signed by the members, must be submitted in SPH 115. A paper version of this form may be obtained in SPH 115 or it may found online at The research proposal meeting may not be scheduled before the executive associate dean approves the submitted Master's Thesis Committee Form. The chair/advisor will guide all phases of the thesis development. After the thesis topic has been identified, the student must prepare a detailed outline of the research proposal. The outline must then be submitted to the committee for approval. The committee is also responsible for the evaluation of the completed thesis.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Question: How many people need to be on my thesis committee?
Answer: The master’s thesis committee is made up of a minimum of three faculty members.

What are the qualifications for faculty on a thesis committee?
Answer: All thesis committee members, including the chair, must have Indiana University graduate faculty status. While doctoral committee chairs must have a special endorsement to chair those committee, such an endorsement is not required to chair a master’s thesis committee.

Question: How do I find out if a faculty member is qualified to be on my thesis committee?
Answer: Visit SPH 115 to find out which faculty have graduate faculty status, or you may visit: The MS Excel table showing graduate faculty may be saved and sorted alphabetically according to faculty names find the desired faculty member.

Question: Can I have more than three members on my thesis committee?
Answer: Yes, you may have more than three thesis committee members if you wish, but please remember that the difficulty of arranging a time for the proposal and defense meetings increases exponentially for each extra member you add to your committee.

Question: I have three faculty members with graduate faculty status, who have agreed to serve on my Master’s Thesis Committee. I would like to add a fourth member as a consultant, but this person does not have graduate faculty status. Is it possible for this person to serve as a consultant on my committee and if so, what is the procedure?
Answer: Persons listed on a Master’s Thesis Committee as a consultant must either hold graduate faculty status or submit a curriculum vitae to the School of Public Health - Bloomington records office for approval of the executive associate dean. Also, please remember that it is more difficult to schedule meetings if you add an extra person to your committee.

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