Supervisory committee

The Supervisory Committee takes over the role of the faculty adviser and guides the student through the remainder of the master’s program through completion of the master’s degree. Students are encouraged to select their supervisory chairperson and supervisory committee early in their second quarter of study. The student’s initial faculty adviser may or may not be the Chair of the Supervisory Committee – this is an open decision for students.

Role of the Supervisory Committee

The Master of Science student’s Supervisory Committee:

  1. signs the completed Faculty Agreement to Serve on Supervisory Committee form;
  2. works together with the student to develop, conduct and present the thesis or scholarly project, including planning course work;
  3. keeps a written log of student progress in the student file;
  4. approves and signs, at onset and again at completion, either 1) the Master’s Project Initial Plan and Final Product Report form or 2) the Thesis Permission and Progress Report form;
  5. guides research for the thesis or activities for completion of the scholarly project;
  6. administers the master’s final examination according to UW Graduate School procedures;
  7. at the final examination, signs Application for Degree (warrant), Verification of Degree form, and either the signature page (2) for the Master’s Project Initial Plan and Final Product Report; and
  8. at the final examination, completes and seals in the envelope provided, the MS Program Evaluation: Scholarly Inquiry Scale.

Composition of the Supervisory Committee

You must adhere to University of Washington Graduate School Memorandum No. 13 in selecting faculty members to be recommended for the supervisory committee. The supervisory committee consists of a minimum of two and no more than four members.

The Committee Chair

The Chair must be a member of the graduate faculty. Typically, the chair is also the adviser for the student’s thesis or project work. Occasionally it is appropriate for the adviser to be selected from faculty other than graduate faculty. In such instances, the supervisory committee would consist of three members, with one of the members of graduate faculty serving as chair. The chair then has the added responsibility to act as a consultant for the adviser on matters pertaining to functions of the committee.

Committee Members

At least half of the total supervisory committee must be graduate faculty. Members should be chosen based on compatibility of interests between the topics on which the student wishes to work and the areas of inquiry on which faculty are focusing their efforts.


Consider the ability of selected members to work together, as well as required expertise. The student and committee will develop approaches for working together that blend the individual student’s needs, as well as academic scholarship guidance and evaluation expected of the committee by the University. Ongoing discussions, negotiations and clarifications of strategies and expectations are important processes between the student and committee to assure the meeting overall goals.

Selecting your Supervisory Committee Members


  1. Students read Graduate School Memorandum No. 13, as well as Considerations for Selecting Supervisory Committee Members and Chair.
  2. During the first and second quarters of the master’s program, students discuss with their faculty adviser any potential members of the faculty who may be an appropriate guide (supervisory committee chair) for the student’s thesis or scholarly project.
  3. Students then interview members of the School of Nursing graduate faculty with compatible interests to consider who might be an appropriate chair of the supervisory committee. The prospective chairperson is selected first.
  4. Once a faculty member and student have agreed to the chair/advisee relationship, the student and prospective chairperson identify the additional competencies desirable for representation on the committee and a likely candidate(s) to serve on the committee.
  5. The student interviews the potential supervisory committee member(s) and confirms willingness to serve as a member of the supervisory committee. The full supervisory committee should be appointed as early as possible and not later than the third quarter of the program. At this point, all of the required paperwork should be submitted to Student and Academic Services (see below.)
  6. The student makes an agreement with the member(s) of the supervisory committee to work together to develop, conduct and present the thesis or scholarly project. The student establishes a schedule of regular appointments with the supervisory chair in order to enhance progression according to the student’s identified time frame for completion.

Required Paperwork

Complete supervisory committee establishment paperwork MUST be received by Student and Academic Services AT LEAST one quarter prior to graduation.

  1. Faculty Agreement to Serve on Supervisory Committee
    Copies of the completed Faculty Agreement to Serve on Supervisory Committee form will be forwarded by Student and Academic Services to all members of the supervisory committee and one copy placed in the student’s file. Any change of committee must be reported to Student and Academic Services.
  2. Human Subjects and Animal Care Approval Information
    This form is required whether or not the student’s research will require an IRB review. Students who are unsure about whether or not their research will require IRB approval should review these guidelines. If this form is not submitted, final approval of the committee is delayed until the form is received.
  3. Students pursuing a scholarly project (non-thesis) option must also submit a Master’s Project Initial Plan and Final Product Report along with the two forms listed above.