With assistance from the Advisor, the student must form an Advisory Committee by the end of the first year, and M.S. students must form the Advisory Committee by the end of their second semester; M.D./Ph.D. students should select their Advisory Committee after their third year in the combined program. The names of the members proposed for the Advisory Committee must be reviewed and approved by the Academic Standards Committee (ASC).
The Advisory Committee consists of at least five Faculty members, including the student's Advisor, chosen to assure representation by faculty members competent in the student's major area of research. At least one member must have research interests which lie outside the student's major discipline. In addition, all of the members may not come from the same department or the same GSBS Program. The same person may meet all "outside member" requirements. Individuals outside the GSBS Faculty may serve on a student's committee when their particular areas of expertise are not represented on the GSBS Faculty, but there may be no more than two such members on the committee. If four of the members are from the same department/Program, the fifth member outside the department/Program must be a GSBS faculty member. If two members of the committee are non-GSBS faculty, the other three GSBS faculty members may not be from the same department or Program. The majority of the committee must be composed of Regular or Associate members.
The Advisory Committee bears the primary responsibility for monitoring the student's progress. This responsibility involves assisting the student in the selection of courses, the development of a research program, and in the case of Ph.D. students, preparing the student for the candidacy exam. After the candidacy exam, this Committee promotes and monitors the student's progress until all degree requirements are met. If the student receives a grade of "conditional pass" on the Ph.D. candidacy examination, the chair of the Examining Committee must be a member of the Advisory Committee at least until the candidacy conditions are resolved.
When the Advisory Committee determines that appropriate research has been conducted and a satisfactory draft of the Ph.D dissertation or M.S. thesis has been submitted, it will indicate approval on the form requesting a defense of the dissertation or thesis (Petition for the Defense of the Ph.D. Dissertation or M.S. Thesis). The Committee will conduct the defense and communicate the Results of the Defense to the ASC.
A student who has completed the M.S. portion of the Ph.D. program must once again form an Advisory Committee in preparation for the Ph.D. oral candidacy examination. However, the student may retain all of the members of the M.S. Supervisory Committee as his/her Advisory Committee.
When appropriate, it is the responsibility of the Advisory Committee to recommend to the ASC that the student be placed on academic probation or dismissed from GSBS.
A lack of breadth is inappropriate for Advisory Committees. The ASC spends a significant amount of time determining whether proposed GSBS student Advisory Committees meet the first of the requirements for committees, which states: "At least one member's research interests must lie outside the student's major discipline..." .
To ensure that this policy is implemented uniformly, the ASC formulated the following guidelines for the committees of GSBS students who have not yet advanced to candidacy. The phrase "outside the student's major discipline" means someone who works as a faculty member in an area that is substantially different from that proposed by the student.
"Major disciplines" are not synonymous with departments or programs, but "outside members" are not ordinarily members of the same department as the student. In a particularly broad or diverse department or Program, however, there may be members who represent different disciplines entirely, and "outside members" could be drawn from within the department. To fulfill the requirements, in that case, the committee must also have one member from a different department and Program. It needs to be re-emphasized here that a faculty member from another department who works in the same area as the student is not qualified to be an "outside member."
Thus, there are two "outside" members: (1) outside the student's research discipline, and (2) outside the program or department, i.e., not all faculty may come from the same program or department. The same faculty member may meet both requirements.
A student is urged to meet with the Advisory Committee each semester, and is required to meet with the Committee at least once every six months. The purpose of the meetings is to review and critically evaluate the student's academic program and research progress, to plan future work, and to establish performance criteria and timetables for the completion of degree requirements. A student who is completing the first year is encouraged to meet with the Advisory Committee prior to registration for the second year to discuss course selection for the upcoming year.
Immediately after each meeting, the Chair of the Committee should submit to the OAA the form entitled, Report of Advisory Committee Meeting; the Chair also should provide copies to the Committee members and the student. The form requests information on the following topics:
- The courses the student has completed during the past semester and the courses that remain to be taken
- The research accomplishments of the student and specific recommendations from committee members for future research
- The timetable for completion of degree requirements
- An evaluation of the student's research performance and intellectual development over the past six months
- A summary of the student's current strengths and weaknesses (as an independent scientific investigator), including comments on the student's oral and written communication skills
- An indication of any present weaknesses or deficiencies and how they will be remedie
- Any other problems, such as problems relating to the student's interactions with his/her Advisor or Committee members, that should be brought to the attention of the Dean.