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1st Year: Initial Guidance Committee

  • In the first year BBSP students join a focus group (First Year Group) comprised of students and faculty advisors having related research interests.
  • First Year Groups meet in an informal course setting to work on development of critical thinking and scientific communication skills.
  • Please refer to BBSP website for more information:

2nd Year: 5-Member Thesis Committee

The committee must mentor you – they will offer advice to you as to the future direction of your research, as well as help you acquire the training and skills to meet your long term career goals, as laid out in the IDP you complete for your first committee meeting. IDP Annual Meeting Report When you schedule your first committee meeting, fill out your IDP, then circulate your completed IDP amongst your mentor and committee members 48 hours before the meeting.

The committee is also tasked with evaluating your progress towards the completion of your thesis research. The committee files a report to the department after each meeting, which helps confirm to both the department and the graduate school that you are making sufficient progress on your thesis research, and thus can retain academic eligibility and remain in graduate school. If the committee has concerns about the student’s progress, ethics, or scientific rigor, committee members may find it necessary to work closely with the student, advisor, DGS, and if appropriate, the graduate school to determine an appropriate course of action. Similarly, students are reminded that if they have major concerns with their mentor and/or committee, they are encouraged to obtain guidance from the DGS, department chair and/or graduate school as soon as possible, in order to facilitate their progress.

  • it is formed near the end of the spring semester of the second year – March – and will meet every year until you graduate
  • It consists of at least 5 faculty, suggested by the student in consultation with the advisor
  • At least three of the committee members, including the advisor and the committee chair, must have a primary or joint appointment in the Department of Biochemistry & Biophysics; other members may be from other departments on this campus or other universities.
  • A listing of the suggested committee must be submitted in advance to the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS). Chair is selected by the DGS. Changes to your thesis committee must to be approved in advance by the DGS.
  • Full committee is required to meet at least once a year.

Role of the committee chair

  • The chair will ensure that meetings are conducted properly and fairly as well as the Oral Exam and Thesis Defense
  • After a meeting, the chair will complete the thesis committee’s IDP Annual Meeting Report and return it within 48 hours to Holly Shepherd (3024 Genetic Medicine Building).
  • Chair’s responsibilities continue until the student defends his/her final thesis and earns the Ph.D. degree.

Your individual development plan

  • Before your first meeting, prepare the self-assessment section of our version of an individual development plan. Its the first two pages of your Annual progress report. Update this section every subsequent year
  • Be honest – it’s meant to catalyze a constructive discussion of what you need to do next to meet your career goals
  • Distribute it to your committee members 48 hours before your committee meeting

Role of the committee

  • The Committee is responsible for advising the student.
  • The Committee chair is responsible for turning in signed forms to Holly Shepherd within 48 hours of the oral exam and Committee meeting and for summarizing on that form the closed discussion of the Committee on the student’s performance and any recommendations made to the student.
  • The committee chair is also responsible for emailing a summary to the student of each meeting that details progress and future goals.