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Master's Thesis Defense

Committee Composition 

The Master's thesis committee is appointed by the Dean of the Graduate College on the recommendation of the student's department or program. This committee consists of at least three persons, one of whom must be a tenured full member of the UIC graduate faculty. One member of the committee may be from outside the department, academic unit, or outside the University, in which case the member must demonstrate equivalent academic standards and his/her curriculum vitae must accompany the Committee Recommendation form.

See list of UIC Graduate College Faculty.

A Committee Recommendation form must be submitted to the Graduate College at least three weeks prior to the thesis defense. The staff in the Graduate College reviews the Committee Recommendation form and, if the recommended committee meets Graduate College guidelines, approval is given by the Dean. The academic status of the student is checked to ensure that s/he is in good academic standing. A letter is then prepared by the Graduate College to each member of the committee asking him or her to serve on the committee. The letter is sent to the graduate program for distribution to each committee member.

After the committee is approved by the Graduate College Dean, the Examination Report form is sent to the graduate program support person. It should be filed in the student's folder so it is available when the thesis defense is held and all committee members may sign. This form cannot be duplicated and changes cannot be made without prior approval of the Graduate College.

Grading

Each member of the committee assigns a grade of "pass" or "fail". A majority of the committee must approve the thesis, and a candidate cannot be passed if more than one vote of "fail" is reported. The results of the thesis defense must be submitted to the Graduate College immediately after its completion. The Examination Report must be signed by all members of the committee. If the vote is "pass", that degree requirement is now satisfied and the student may take the next step toward graduation. If the vote is "fail", the committee may recommend that the Dean permit a second defense. This second examination must be initiated by submission of a new Committee Recommendation form, even if there is no change in membership. A third defense will not be permitted.

A committee may recommend "pass - with specified conditions". If this does occur, the conditions must be specified on the Examination Report Form along with the name of a committee member who will monitor the fulfillment of any such conditions. This named person must then report to the Graduate College in a memo when conditions have been satisfied.