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Establish Your Committee

The following criteria must be met when establishing your committee:

  • All thesis committees require a minimum of two people, a chair from the student’s department/school and at least one other committee member. Dissertation committees require a minimum of 3 people, a chair from the student’s department/school and at least two other committee members. In all cases, the chair and majority of committee members should come from the student's department/school and have full graduate faculty status. Inquire with your department to learn your required number of members.
  • Your chair and a majority of the members of the committee must be full members of your department’s graduate faculty. You can identify graduate faculty members by searching for a name(s) on this list: Graduate Faculty Members or by contacting the Graduate School ((309) 438-2583).
  • The other members of the committee may have associate graduate faculty status from inside or outside your department, or come from outside ISU if they bring special expertise to your study;
  • A vita will be required for any committee member without ISU Graduate Faculty status (including those outside ISU). The vita can be submitted with your proposal approval form.
  • Any ISU faculty committee member who leaves the university (unless for retirement) would then be considered an external committee member. Depending on the committee make up, another committee member may need to be added. Please check with the Graduate School for information in this situation.
  • A retired faculty member can stay on as committee member, or chair. They must wait 60 days from their retirement to resume University work, and may not attend proposals or defenses during that time. Based on the retirement plan, this restriction may not apply and we advise checking with HR.
  • If any of the above criteria are not met, an exception may be requested from the Graduate School.
  • The Proposal Approval form will be completed in the next step of the thesis/dissertation process, which officially establishes your thesis/dissertation committee.

The Proposal

Under the direction of the committee chair you will prepare the proposal, establish a meeting, and present the proposal to the entire committee. In your research proposal meeting you will lay out your intended line of research, identify its scope, explain your research protocol, and establish a timeline for your study. A few tips for the proposal process:

  • The Proposal Approval form is to be completed and signed by the committee. This form requires a completed copyright checklist.
  • Research involving human subjects, live vertebrate animals, and biohazardous materials is overseen by the Institutional Review Board (IRB), the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC), and the Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) respectively. Consult your committee and/or the Office of Research Ethics & Compliance. Failure to receive the required approval may delay your research and may even result in the inability to use any data you may have collected. You may complete the appropriate research approval forms either before the proposal meeting or after. Keep in mind that your committee may change your methodology during the meeting. A change in methodology means a change to the above listed research approval forms.
  • Copyright checklist: Information about copyright, completing the copyright checklist, FAQ's, and other related topics can be found through Milner Library's copyright information page.
  • You may not collect any data until this form is approved by the Graduate School.