Graduate Student Resources

Specialist Supervisory Committee

All Education Specialist students are required to complete an appointment form for the Advanced Graduate Student Supervisory Committee, which names the instructors serving on the student's committee. A Supervisory Committee consists of COEDU faculty members that share the student's research interests, who will assist the student with their thesis or project research and conduct the final thesis defense if applicable. All Ed.S. committees are comprised of a minimum of three (3) members: one Major Professor and two additional committee members, or two Co-Major Professors and one additional member.

Committee members must be formally credentialed as Associate or Full Members of the College of Education's graduate faculty. In special cases, faculty outside of the College who have extensive knowledge in the student’s area of research may serve on the committee. If you wish to add a faculty member to your committee who is not on the Credentialed Faculty List, please contact your Major Professor and Department Chair for the required forms and procedures. 

Major Professor

During the first year of their program, Specialist students will need to meet with their Graduate Program Coordinator or other program advisors to select a Major Professor. The Major Professor serves as the student’s direct advisor and mentor throughout the Ed.S. thesis/project process. The Major Professor must be a fully credentialed faculty member of the College of Education who has knowledge and interest in the area of study chosen by the student. Specialist students will need to identify a Major Professor from their academic area and receive their formal agreement to serve on the supervisory committee. The Major Professor should be selected as early as possible, preferably within the first year of study, and students must have a Major Professor before they begin working on the thesis/project.

Major Professors must meet the following requirements:

  • Be graduate faculty*, as defined by the University, from the student's home academic area
  • Be engaged in current and sustained scholarly, creative, or research activities and have met departmental requirements
  • Be active in scholarly pursuits as evidenced by at least one refereed publication in the last three years 
  • Have been approved by the student's Department Chair (or equivalent) to serve as a Major Professor or Co-Major Professor.

*Affiliate Members of Graduate Faculty (special credentialed instructors) may serve as a Co-Major Professor with another fully credentialed Graduate Faculty member from the student’s program/department. Co-Major Professors may be two graduate faculty or one graduate faculty and one approved Affiliate Member of Graduate Faculty.

Some of the primary responsibilities of the Major Professor include:

  • Reviewing and approving the Supervisory Committee Appointment Form with the student and submitting the form to the Graduate Support Office for final College approval 
  • Specifying the style and formatting requirements for students completing a thesis manuscript (COEDU typically uses APA formatting)
  • Providing details about the project formats available in the student's program and their respective requirements and deadlines
  • Reading the final copy of the thesis for content and formatting prior to signing the Certificate of Approval form; OR reviewing and approving the completed project before signing the Record of Ed.S. Project Completion form
  • Signing the Certificate of Approval form to verify that the student’s thesis is ready to be submitted to the Office of Graduate Studies for publication
  • Administering the Comprehensive Exam to Specialist students and verifying that students passed the exam by signing the Verification of Comprehensive Exam Results Form
  • Providing general guidance to students regarding course registration, mandatory program requirements (thesis/project, comprehensive exam, etc.), potential research or career opportunities, and any other concerns.

Committee Members

Specialist committees must consist of at least three members. At least two (2) committee members, including the Major Professor, should come from the student's major or general area of study. Faculty from the College of Education’s foundational areas (Psychological & Social Foundations, Educational Measurement & Research, and Curriculum and Instruction) may be counted toward the two-member minimum requirement. The committee must also have one (1) member external to the student's discipline; the outside member may be chosen from an external USF College, or from the College of Education as long as they are outside of the student's major. Please see below for a list of USF Credentialed Faculty eligible to serve on supervisory committees. Additionally, you may contact your program and/or department throughout the semester for updates on newly credentialed faculty in your area of study.

Credentialed Graduate Faculty List

  • Note: this list includes faculty across all USF Colleges. College of Education faculty are listed under the "EU" college code. The list of Credentialed Faculty will change throughout the year as new faculty members receive credentialing. Please contact advisors in your program for the most up-to-date list of credentialed COEDU instructors.

Once a student has determined who will serve on their committee, they must complete an Advanced Graduate Student Supervisory Committee Form and submit it to all committee members for original signatures. Students must submit the signed committee appointment form to the Graduate Support Office for review and approval. An approved and current committee appointment form must be on file in the Graduate Support Office before graduation may be certified. Committee forms need to be processed as early in the major as possible, ideally by the time the student has completed the first year of coursework in their program.

Any changes to a Supervisory Committee must be recorded on a Change of Committee Form and submitted to the Graduate Support Office. Changes to the committee include adding or removing members, as well as a member changing their status (e.g., a Major Professor changing to a regular committee member due to a change in research direction). The form must be signed by the (Co-) Major Professor(s), all committee members, and the Department Chair. Change of Committee Forms should be submitted for approval as soon as the change takes place, and any changes are official only once approved and filed by the College.

If you want to learn more about Specialist Supervisory Committees and the entire Ed.S. thesis/project process, please review the Graduate Student Handbooks located on the general Graduate Student Resources page.