University of California, Riverside

Division of Biomedical Sciences



Guidance and Dissertation Committees


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Formation and Purpose of Guidance and Dissertation Committees

Guidance Committee

Upon entering the program, an advisory guidance committee of three graduate program faculty is appointed for each student to monitor and aid each student’s progress until the student passes the qualifying exam. The advisory committee will consist of the student's major professor, who will serve as chair, and two other professors from the program with expertise in the student's area of interest. Until the student advances to candidacy (passes qualifying exam), he or she will present the advisory committee with a written summary of his/her research progress and plans before the beginning of each academic year. A copy of the progress report with an evaluation of the student’s annual progress, signed by all members of the guidance committee and the student must be submitted to the graduate advisor before the beginning of each academic year.

The student will have the most contact with his or her major professor during the course of graduate study. The major professor provides direct research guidance and is ultimately responsible for advising the student and making sure that all degree requirements are fulfilled. Each student must have identified a major professor willing to supervise his/her study by the end of the first year in the graduate program in order to remain in the program.

Dissertation Committee

Following successful completion of the qualifying exam and advancement to candidacy, a dissertation committee is formed. The members of the dissertation committee are identified on the “Report of the Qualifying Examination” which is submitted to Graduate Student Affairs Officer Alejandra Torres within 24 hours of successful completion of the qualifying exam. The committee must consist of at least three members.  All members of the dissertation committee shall normally be faculty members in the student's program. To avoid conflicts of interest or the appearance of a conflict of interest, when domestic partners or spouses are a majority of the faculty overseeing a dissertation, another faculty member will be added to that committee.

The dissertation committee replaces the student’s guidance committee and assumes the role of advising and monitoring the students progress toward completing the doctorate degree following successful completion of the qualifying exam. Formal permission to write and defend a research dissertation must be obtained from the dissertation committee.

More Information 

General Campus Information

University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

Department Information

Division of Biomedical Sciences
UC Riverside School of Medicine
2608 School of Medicine Education Building

Tel: (951) 827-5470

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