Thesis Committee

The student and research supervisor should agree upon members of a Thesis Committee and propose a Committee to the appropriate Graduate Program Committee Chair. During the summer of the second year, the student must submit the PhD Thesis Committee form to the Graduate Committee Chairs (Prof. White, copy to Academic Office) to request approval of the Thesis Committee membership. The Committee should be comprised of the thesis advisor(s) plus a minimum of two additional members, at least one of whom must be a member of the BE faculty. The Committee Chair (who presides at all Committee meetings, including the Oral Examination) must be a BE faculty member.

The Ph.D. Thesis Committee has the responsibility of advising a student on all aspects of the thesis experience, from the proposal process through the preparation and defense of the final document. The Thesis Committee must be approved prior to the scheduling of the thesis proposal/oral exam presentation, which must take place in the spring academic semester following the spring semester in which the General Written Exam is successfully completed.

It is expected that the student and supervisor will hold progress reviews with the entire Thesis Committee at least once a year. In addition to the Oral Exam/Thesis Proposal, the student must eventually present at least two Regular Thesis Committee Meeting Reports (one of which must be a Final Thesis Committee Meeting Report) and a Thesis Defense to the Thesis Committee. Progress Reports are required once a year or more frequently if the Thesis Committee so requests. More frequent one-on-one meetings are strongly recommended. Thesis Committee Member changes must be approved by submitting a petition to the Chair of the Graduate Program Committee.

The first Progress Report must be held within one year of the Thesis Proposal/Oral Exam presentation. One week before the Progress Report meeting, the student should deliver annotated Specific Aims to each of the Committee Members. The aims should be 2 pages long (at most/ 12pt font). After each up-to-date Specific Aim, please add a few sentences outlining the status of that aim.

At the Progress Report presentation, the student should hand out photocopies of slides to the Thesis Committee Members (generally, this will be a print out of a PowerPoint presentation). Also, the student should provide the Committee Chair with a yellow “Verification of Presentation” form to complete and submit to Academic Office.