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Graduate School

Writing a Thesis or Dissertation and Assembly of a Graduate Advisory Committee

The preparation of your Field Study, Thesis, or Dissertation is one of the most important elements of your graduate studies here at ULM. The resources and instructions below are meant to help guide you through the process of assembling a Graduate Advisory Committee and creation of your manuscript. In the table below you will find many two documents meant to help you format your manuscript, as well as forms that you and your major professor might need as you complete your graduate coursework. Procedures for the appointment of your Graduate Advisory Committee and the uses of all forms follow below.

Preparing Your Field Study, Thesis or Dissertation
Thesis and Dissertation Formatting Presentation
Graduate School Guidelines for Preparation of Field Studies, Theses and Dissertations
Graduate Advisory Committee Forms
Major Professor Recommendation Form
Graduate Advisory Committee Request Form
Degree Plan
Change of Degree Plan
Request for Change of Catalog
Request for Registration in Absentia
Recommendation for Time Extension to Complete Degree Requirements

Select a Graduate Advisory Committee Chair

The chair or major professor of the committee is an advocate for the student and must have expertise and interest in the student's area of study. The chair advises, supervises, nurtures, protects, and mentors the student. The chair is leader of the advisory committee and manages the process so that university and graduate school guidelines are adhered to, which facilitates successful proposal and defense.

1. Student suggests a major professor in conjunction with the appropriate graduate program coordinator.

2. The Major Professor Recommendation Form is to be completed by the student's graduate program coordinator and will be submitted to the Graduate School for approval. This form serves as the basis for appointing a student's major professor for the duration of the student's program of study. For students requesting a change in major professor, the recommendation form should be resubmitted through the above channels requesting the change.

3. The Degree Plan is to be submitted to the Graduate School by the student's major professor before the student begins their graduate coursework. The Change of Degree Plan is to be submitted by a student's major professor when substitutions or corrections are made to the courses currently listed on the official degree plan.

4. If a change in catalog is necessary, the major professor and student should complete a Request for Change of Catalog and submit the form to the Graduate School for approval.

5. If for any reason a student needs to make a request to register in absentia for a given term, a Request for Registration in Absentia must be submitted to the Graduate School for approval.

6. Occasionally courses listed in the student's official degree plan will exceed the six-year time limit for coursework towards a graduate degree. If this is the case, a Recommendation for Time Extension to Complete Degree Requirements must be submitted through the Graduate Council for consideration. Please see the Graduate Council page for more information about this appeal process.

Graduate Advisory Committee Membership

The advisory committee consists primarily of graduate faculty in the student's discipline. The committee's composition is further outlined in the student's college and degree program policy manual. The advisory committee works with the chair of the committee to determine whether the student's proposed study is appropriate. The advisory committee members have distinct expertise in content, mechanics, and methodology of the proposed study and guide the student's progress. The advisory committee facilitates the process and makes certain all university and graduate school policies are followed. The advisory committee reviews student documents as they relate to the proposal or dissertation, and with the leadership of the chair, determines when the document will be approved to move forward. It is expected that the student's academic college administration is aware and monitors procedures to the benefit of the student and will remain in compliance with Graduate School policy.

1. Advisory committee composition is determined by the student's program and is further outlined in the student's college and degree program policy manual.

2. The Graduate Advisory Committee Request Form is to be completed by the student's major professor and submitted to the Graduate School for approval. If a minor area is included in the student's program of study, at least one approved member from the graduate faculty of that area should be included on the committee. Changes to the advisory committee must be recommended by the student's major professor to the Director of the Graduate School.

Vacancies and Replacements

If any committee member anticipates an extended but temporary absence during the time the student is working on the thesis or dissertation, that member should arrange for means of communicating during this leave or designate an appropriate temporary (or permanent) substitute.

The determination to make a change in committee chair or membership must be submitted by memo from the School Director to the Director of the Graduate School. Faculty members who are replaced must be so informed by the School Director.

If the chair is absent unexpectedly due to a planned sabbatical or retirement at the time the student completes the thesis or dissertation, the School Director may act for the chair but must remain in consultation with the absent chair and other committee members.

It is expected that the student's academic college administration will monitor procedures and will remain in compliance with Graduate School policy.

Disputes

In the event that a dispute or disagreement arises between a student and a member of the committee, or internally between members of the committee, the committee chair shall call a meeting of the committee with the student for the purpose of resolving the problem.

If the dispute cannot be resolved through this process, or if the proposed solution is unacceptable to the student or one of the committee members, the disagreeing party, school director, or graduate program coordinator may request that the graduate committee of the student's department or program review the problem and recommend a solution.

If the problem cannot be resolved at the departmental level, the dispute should be appealed to the college or academic school dean. This will be the final level of appeal.


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