Selection of Advisor and Graduate Committee

The Program Director with input from the Academic Committee will advise students concerning course work during the first year.  If a student is admitted as a GRA with direct support from a faculty member, the faculty member will serve as the advisor and co – advise on course selection. After registering, a graduate student must obtain approval from the Academic Committee or his / her advisor before adding or dropping a course. Students receiving support from the CMB Program or from fellowships generally rotate through three laboratories of their choice during their first two semesters in residence. This experience will allow them to become familiar with potential thesis projects and with several faculty members in their area of interest.

Final selection of an advisor should be made by the end of the second semester following enrollment, but must be made by the end of the first calendar year.  The Advisor, their Department Head, the student and the CMB Program Director will sign a letter describing the commitment that the Department and Advisor are making to the student prior to the student joining a lab.

The advisor and student shall select a Graduate Advisory Committee (GAC) that has expertise relevant to the major areas of the student’s graduate study. A minimum of three members is required for MS degree candidates and four committee members for PhD degree candidates, at least two (MS) and three (PhD) of the committee members must be members of the CMB faculty. In addition, the Graduate School requires the appointment of an outside member. This member must be a faculty member whose primary appointment is outside the home department of the student’s advisor. Faculty from outside of the University may also be appointed to committees (see the CMB Program Code for details).   The CMB Program Director and / or Academic Committee may require changes to the committee structure or request justification prior to approving the GS6.  This may be necessary to address, for example, conflicts of interest (e.g. committee members have a marital or mentor / mentee relationship) or perceived lack of relevant scientific expertise.  The development of a formal plan of course work and research activities is the responsibility of the GAC.

The GAC should be selected and meet within three months of selecting an advisor to prepare the formal plan of study (Form GS 6 – Program of Study). Subsequently, this committee should meet annually, or more frequently if necessary, to advise a student and to submit an evaluation of the student’s progress in completing his / her academic requirements and thesis research.

The procedures required for graduation are detailed by the Graduate School in the Graduate and Professional Bulletin.

Annual Meeting with Graduate Advisory Committee (GAC)

Annual Performance Evaluation by Graduate Advisory Committee

To assist in the evaluation of a student’s progress in research, each student must meet annually with his / her Graduate Advisory Committee (GAC). This annual evaluation will consist of the following:

  1. Completion of the progress report form. This form can be found on the CMB website and should be initiated at the time of the first GAC meeting and updated annually. Part 1 comprises sections describing progress in courses, professional development, teaching, mentoring, presentation skills and outreach.  In Parts 2 and 3, the student and advisor are each asked to assess the student’s development and progress. In part 4 the student should summarize their research progress. The first research summary should be prepared at the time of the first GAC meeting and should describe the student’s future research goals.  Subsequent research reports should briefly summarize the goals of the research and the progress made since the previous meeting with the Graduate Advisory Committee. The progress report must be distributed to the members of the Advisory committee at least one week before the scheduled meeting of the committee.  The GAC are asked to sign the progress report and a copy should be provided to the CMB coordinator within one week of its completion. Students beyond their first year who fail to submit an annual progress report to the CMB program coordinator by February 1 each year will have a hold placed on their registration for the fall semester and will be required to petition the CMB Academic Committee to get the hold removed.
  2. A research seminar in CM 793. Students are required to enroll once per year in CM 793 starting in their first year, and present a seminar in this course describing their progress in research starting their second year. Students should inform their committee well in advance of the date of their scheduled seminar and strongly encourage members of their GAC to attend. Optimally, students should give their written progress report to their committee a week prior to their research seminar and a meeting should be scheduled within two weeks after the seminar to clarify questions raised by the progress report and the seminar, and to solicit guidance and suggestions from the GAC concerning goals, methods, and evaluation of the research. The GAC members may evaluate the presentation as part of the progress report.