Committee Selection Guideline

Committee selection recommendations

MFA students are required to invite three Department of Art graduate faculty members to serve on the Thesis Committee. One of these members must be invited to serve as Chair (main advisor). The MFA Committee declaration form (found on the Department of Art website) must be filed with the MFA Graduate Director by the start of second semester enrolled as an MFA student.

The student will be provided a list of available Department of Art Graduate Faculty for Thesis Committee Service. Only faculty with Graduate Faculty status may be invited to serve on MFA Thesis Committees.

MFA students are required to invite one faculty with Graduate Faculty status from outside of the Department of Art to serve as the Graduate School Representative; this member is invited through close consultation with the student’s established thesis committee and must occur by the end of the second semester of the first year.

Graduate faculty can be found on the Graduate School website.


  • Choose one faculty member from the student’s specific area of discipline (i.e. if the student’s emphasis is Painting, chose one faculty member from Painting to serve on the committee); this person may or may not be the student’s selection for serving as Chair of the committee.
  • Chose at least one faculty member from outside the student’s area of discipline

Once the committee is established, the Chair of the committee serves as lead advisor and is expected to oversee the student’s progress towards the completion of the degree. Although all committee members participate in advising the written thesis, the Chair is lead editor and is predominately responsible for guiding the final draft.

It is the responsibility of each MFA candidate to arrange and meet committee members throughout the span of the MFA program. It is required that MFA students meet with their MFA committee, either as a group or individually, at least once per semester. It is highly recommended that additional meetings be scheduled on a periodic basis. It is the responsibility of the candidate to be aware of a faculty member’s inability to serve on a committee during extended absence or sabbatical leave; the candidate must arrange for an appropriate substitute.

It is the student’s responsibility to maintain consistent communication with the Chair and each member of the full Thesis Committee.

Deadline for forming committees

  • Department of Art Thesis Committee and Chair - no later than the start of student’s second semester
  • Graduate School Representative (Outside Committee Member) - by the beginning of student’s third semester (prior to Advancement to Candidacy [Mid-Way] Exhibition).

Role of members of the graduate thesis committee

The role of the graduate thesis committee is to provide guidance and mentoring to the graduate student with respect to their graduate education. This includes guidance on the selection of courses (i.e. the program of study) guidance on the knowledge requirements/expectations within their discipline, guidance with respect to the development of their research expertise (i.e. the Mid-Way Advancement to Candidacy exhibition, Thesis Paper and Thesis Exhibition). By providing guidance and mentoring, the graduate committee sets forth appropriate academic standards and rigor.

The Chair of the thesis committee is lead advisor and is predominately responsible for ensuring the student fulfill academic and studio requirements for the MFA/BFA Program throughout the student’s progress towards completion of the degree (GPA/academic standards, Advancement to Candidacy (Mid-Way), draft and final thesis paper editorial review, thesis exhibition, and oral defense). Thesis Committee Chairs must supervise ART 777 Graduate Exhibition, including primary responsibility for editorial review of the thesis paper, as well as leading the oral defense.

All committee members are expected to provide guidance with the program of study, Advancement to Candidacy (Mid-Way), Thesis Paper, and Thesis Exhibition. All committee members are expected to participate in the Thesis Oral Defense. The degree of guidance on these matters from the graduate school representative may vary depending on how closely the graduate school representative is allied to the student's area of specialization. However, the graduate school representative is always charged to represent the Graduate School as a participant in the student's academic endeavors.

Graduate Faculty serving as the "outside" or Graduate School Representative on student thesis committees: The graduate school representative must be a member of the University of Nevada, Reno's graduate faculty from outside the home department or program of the other committee members. The graduate school representative may be chosen from a related area or may represent a minor area, if a minor is selected by the student. The Graduate School member serves to assure compliance with Graduate School regulations and procedures and to report any deviations from prescribed standards to the Graduate School.