Choosing your Thesis Committee

University requirements for Master's theses can be found here.

The first step on the road to completing the Master of Science thesis is the recruitment of a faculty Thesis Committee Chair and a Thesis Committee. The Thesis Committee Chair must be a tenured or tenure-track member of the Environmental Studies Department. In addition to the Thesis Committee Chair, the Thesis Committee includes two other members.

The second member of the committee must be a SJSU faculty member with a Ph.D. The third member can be drawn from outside of the university, but must hold at least a Master of Science (or equivalent) degree in the student’s field of study. Ask both second and third thesis committee members to read and sign the Thesis Committee Member Form. [pdf]

The collaboration between graduate student and Thesis Committee Chair can be profoundly creative and prolific. While many graduate students enter the program with a good idea of who their chair will be, others are not certain, or may need to change Chairs during the course of their study.

Each incoming graduate student is assigned an interim advisor that will advise them on campus resources during their thesis proposal writing stage. For many students this faculty member may ultimately serve as their Thesis Committee Chair, but that is not made official until a student's thesis proposal is confirmed by the advisor of interest. The following tips can help:

  • Take the time to study the research program of each Environmental Studies Advisor.
  • Schedule appointments with potential Thesis Committee Chairs. Remember, it is equally important that your potential Chair be impressed by you as it is for you to be impressed by them, so come prepared!
  • Talk with other graduate students about their experiences with their Thesis Committee Chairs.
  • Ultimately, it is the student's responsibility to find an appropriate Thesis Committee Chair and convince them to serve on the committee.

Once the Thesis Committee Chair has been confirmed, students are to consult with this faculty member on each part of their academic plan.