Authority and Responsibilities

The advisory committee works in conjunction with the Graduate School. When the committee has been appointed, the authority of the component with respect to the student’s program including course work, evaluation, and major study is delegated to the committee; however, actions and decisions of the committee are subject to review and recommendation by the head of the component.

The committee chair is the committee spokesperson responsible for communicating with the student on a regular basis. The student should have no uncertainty concerning the person with whom to deal in the day-to-day preparation of the major study, and it should seldom be necessary for the student to hold conferences concerning minor matters with the individual members between committee meetings.

  1. The committee determines specific program requirements for the student consistent with University policy.
  2. The committee requires an approved prospectus before the student begins data-gathering procedures. To indicate approval, each committee member signs the prospectus cover sheet; the committee chair forwards the approved prospectus to the head of the next larger component for signature. The thesis or dissertation prospectus is then forwarded to the Dean of the Graduate School. The prospectus is due to the Graduate School at least one semester prior to the planned graduation semester. (To indicate approval of a professional paper prospectus, each committee member signs the prospectus, and the committee chair files it with the office of the component in which the student is majoring.)
    1. The committee chair assures the Graduate School in writing that the researcher and the research chair have completed and submitted the "Responsible Conduct of Research Training" verification.
    2. The committee chair assures that any study involving human subjects meets the criteria of the Texas Woman’s University Institutional Review Board guidelines established in accordance with the Department of Health and Human Services regulations and that it has been approved, if necessary, by the Institutional Review Board.
    3. The committee chair assures the Graduate School in writing that written permission has been obtained in advance from every person who is photographed, filmed, videotaped, or recorded in any way for educational or research purposes. 
    4. The committee chair assures the Graduate School that, when other institutions or organizations are involved in the major study, the student will obtain letters of cooperation from the appropriate officials on their letterhead before beginning the collection of data.
    5. The committee chair informs the Graduate School of the receipt of the required letters of informed consent for human studies and letters of institutional cooperation. These documents are filed for the length of time stipulated in the regulations.
    6. The committee chair informs the student of the necessity of assuring the rights to privacy and protection of confidentiality of data before data are collected, normally when the prospectus is approved.
    7. The committee chair assures the Graduate School in writing that any study involving live animals meets the criteria of the Texas Woman’s University Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee guidelines.
  3. The committee accepts or rejects the completed major study in accordance with high standards of scholarship.
  4. The committee members are responsible for thorough and prompt review of the student’s work throughout the major study.

Final Submission of Dissertations and Theses

Two weeks prior to the final submission deadline dissertations or theses are to be submitted to the component leader (chair, director, or designate) for approval.

By signing off on a student's dissertation or thesis the respective committee member is agreeing to have completed the following:

  1. Committee chairs are responsible for providing detailed, in-depth guidance to their students in the form of disciplinary knowledge, writing and style conventions (grammar, spelling, appropriate style [APA or MLA, etc.]), research methodology requirements, and formatting specification of dissertations and theses.
  2. Committee members are responsible for reading and reviewing the dissertations or theses, and providing disciplinary knowledge, if applicable, as well as supporting the use of appropriate research conventions checking accuracy of writing conventions/style and formation specifications of dissertations/theses.
  3. Academic component administrators or their designate are responsible for checking that research components are included and that formatting and other graduate school requirements, specifications have been met, but rely on the committee chair for approval of disciplinary knowledge.
Required steps:
  1. Graduate programs and departments need to adjust their internal deadlines for defenses taking into account the expectation that academic component administrators are to approve theses or dissertations before signing off on them.  The committee chair should not sign-off on the signature page until all committee edits, corrections, and additions have been made as agreed on by the committee.
  2. Graduate programs need to prepare students to submit a final document that meets professional copyediting and style manual standards on or before the designated deadline date for the semester.
  3. Committee chairs need to communicate to their students that even if the student has successfully defended and has met the filing deadline, the thesis or dissertation still has to be accepted by the graduate school.  If the document does not meet graduate school standards, required formatting and/or copyediting, changes must be made and accepted before the student can graduate.
  4. Dissertations requiring changes or corrections after being reviewed by the Graduate Reader/Editor and Formattor must have corrections made one week (5 working days) after returned to student (or prior to the graduation date if shorter) to be allowed to graduate that term.  Dissertations with multiple significant errors will be returned to the student prior to completing the review and will be informed that she/he will need to apply to graduate the next semester. Candidates for the doctorate are not allowed to walk the stage until the dissertation has been approved and cleared by the Graduate School Reader/Editor and Formattor.