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 UConn Health 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 31 of the second year) and will include three associate advisors in addition to the major advisor, one of whom must be a member of the Student Progress Committee (See “Thesis Advisory Committee Formation”). 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, 2-3 pages in length, of his or her progress during the preceding year and plans for the following year. Each member of the committee should also receive a copy of the previous committee report and the student’s previous progress report. Without timely delivery of these documents, the meeting cannot proceed in a productive manner. 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. 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.

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. 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.

Summary of Student Advisory Committees

  • First year faculty advisors – appointed by the Graduate School (graduate program assistantships) or the Neuroscience Department Graduate Training Program;
  • Thesis Advisory Committee – in addition to the major advisor, at least two associate advisors, one of whom must be a representative from the Student Progress Committee;
  • General Examination Committee – members of the Thesis Advisory Committee (excluding major advisor), director or associate director of the Neuroscience Department Graduate Training Program, additional members as needed to meet five total members as stipulated in the UConn Health Graduate School Handbook.