Student Advisory System

First Year Faculty Advisors

For students on Graduate Program Committee Assistantships, two First Year Faculty Advisors are appointed by the Associate Dean of the Graduate School or by the Neuroscience Program. Advisors assist students in choosing courses and Laboratory Rotations and, as such, first year students are required to consult with their Faculty Advisors prior to registration for fall and spring semesters.

Thesis Advisory Committee

Overview. Thesis Advisory Committees will be formed soon after choosing a Major Advisor (i.e., by October 31st of the second year) and will include three Associate Advisors in addition to the Major Advisor. The representative of the Student Progress Committee will serve as chair of the Advisory Committee. Associate Advisors should serve as a resource for students to draw upon as they conduct their dissertation research. Students must schedule Thesis Advisory Committee meetings at least once per year, but biannual meetings are recommended. Thesis Advisory Committee meetings must be completed by June 1st of each year to assist the Student Progress Committee in review of student progress during its academic year-end meeting in June. Once the Thesis Prospectus is approved and submitted, the purpose of the Thesis Advisory Committee during the annual/biannual meetings is to discuss progress on the aims, provide constructive criticism, and set research goals for the next period. Any major problems with approaches and techniques of the approved Thesis Prospectus that may necessitate modifications should prompt a meeting with the Thesis Advisory Committee for discussion. These meetings also provide an opportunity for committee members to advise the student on career development as they approach their thesis defense.

Within a week before each Thesis Advisory Committee meeting, the student must provide each member with a written statement, typically ~ 1 page, of his or her progress during the preceding year and plans for the following year. At the beginning of the meeting, the committee may wish to ask the student to step out of the room so it can consider the most appropriate way to proceed in its discussions with the student. The Advisory Committee may also meet with the student in the absence of the Thesis Supervisor. Dual degree students returning to the clinic must schedule an annual Advisory Committee meeting one year prior to graduating.

Soon after each meeting of the Advisory Committee, the Chair of the Thesis Advisory Committee, together with the Major Advisor, will submit a report to the Program Director and Chair of the Student Progress Committee. The letter should summarize the student’s progress and the results of the Committee meeting (e.g., accomplishments, future goals, problems-remedies, etc.). Copies of this letter are distributed to all Associate Advisors and to the student. This report is reviewed by the Student Progress Committee and placed in the student’s file. The Student Progress Committee continues to monitor each student’s progress through the annual Advisory Committee reports.

Specific meetings.

Plan of Study approval and General Examination. Students must meet with their Thesis Advisory Committee in the fall of the second year to ensure timely completion of two important milestones, the Plan of Study and General Examination, which are due by the end of February of the second year (see p. 10, 13). All Associate Advisors will serve on the student’s Examination Committee.

Dissertation Proposal. Students will specifically meet with the Thesis Advisory Committee soon after the Third Year Seminar to initiate completion of another important milestone, the Dissertation Proposal, which is due by the end of the third year (see p. 13).