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Genetics - Graduate Program

Houston, Texas

Department of Molecular and Human Genetics
Department of Molecular and Human Genetics - Graduate Program
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Student Advisory Committees

Advisory Committee for First-Year Students

Members of the Graduate Education Committee (GEC) serve as "temporary advisor" for the first-year graduate students.

The GEC counsels the graduate students through the early phase of their graduate program. The GEC or the director of Graduate Studies meets with the first-year graduate students prior to registration for the first term and again during the second term. The committee ensures that students register for required courses and makes suggestions for elective courses, readings and laboratory rotations.

Thesis Research Advisory Committee

Major Thesis Advisor

The major thesis advisor together with the student is responsible for maintaining steady progress toward the degree. The major thesis advisor guides the student in effective and maximal use of the faculty and other resources within the department and the academic community to ensure that the student becomes well educated. The relationship between the major thesis advisor and student should be established only after careful consideration by both the student and prospective advisor.

All full-time tenure-track faculty with primary or secondary appointments in the department, having an appointment in the Graduate School, and holding the rank of assistant professor or above may serve as major thesis advisors for graduate students in the program in Molecular and Human Genetics. All faculty who wish to serve as major thesis advisors must show evidence of being established principal investigators directing a strong, independent program in basic research. A major thesis advisor is expected to assume financial responsibility for the student during his/her tenure in the faculty member's laboratory.

First year graduate students who initiate studies in the first term (August) must submit in writing their choice for a major thesis advisor to the Graduate Education Committee no later than July 15 of the academic year of their matriculation in the program. Students matriculating after the first term or who are delayed in their progress should consult with the GEC regarding the deadline for choice of thesis advisor. The faculty member selected as a major advisor must also submit in writing to the GEC his/her willingness to serve as advisor to a particular student; this verification should be made by June 30. It is strongly recommended that no faculty member be assigned or accept more than two incoming students per academic year. Faculty members and graduate students who seek exception to this guideline should petition the Graduate Education Committee for such.

Membership of Thesis Research Advisory Committee

The Thesis Advisory Committee for each student consists of the student's major thesis advisor, at least three additional members of the Department of Molecular and Human Genetics faculty, and at least one faculty member from outside the department. The list of faculty who participate in the graduate program should be used to determine the appropriate faculty selections. All committee members must be training faculty or full time tenure-track faculty. The director of Graduate Studies serves as an ex-officio member. Four members constitute a quorum. The major thesis advisor serves as a non-voting chairman of the student's Thesis Research Advisory Committee. The advisor counsels the student in the selection of the remaining members of the Thesis Research Advisory Committee. The student may select the outside members from other departments at Baylor College of Medicine as well as from neighboring institutions (e.g., Rice University, U.T. Medical School, U.T.-GSBS). In the event that an appropriate non-departmental faculty member cannot be identified, an additional BCM faculty member whose primary appointment is outside the Department of Molecular and Human Genetics may be appointed.

The Thesis Research Advisory Committee is to be selected before the end of the third term of the student's second year in the graduate program. The list of committee members should be submitted to the director of Graduate Studies for approval. The student's advisory committee is then appointed by the dean of Graduate School upon written request from the department.

The student must maintain contact with all members of the Thesis Research Advisory Committee for advice and counsel not only in regard to thesis research but to the character and progress of the student's total graduate program. The Thesis Research Advisory Committee must meet at least every six months to review the student's progress and a report of the meeting must be submitted to the Graduate School Office in May and December, and a copy sent to the graduate director.

Modification of Thesis Research Advisory Committee Membership

It is the prerogative of the student to request a change of major thesis advisor and/or modify the composition of the Thesis Research Advisory Committee.

A student who finds it necessary to change advisors must submit a written request with justification to this effect to the Graduate Education Committee for approval.

Changes in the composition of a student's Thesis Research Advisory Committee may be necessary for a number of reasons, e.g., change in research problems, resignation of faculty. The student can modify the committee's membership following consultation with the major advisor, and approval of a written request with justification by the director of Graduate Studies.

Changes in the major thesis advisor and/or the Thesis Research Advisory Committee member­ship must be approved by the dean. Appointments are made upon written request. The Graduate School form, Request for Appointment of Student's Advisory Committee, must be re-filed in the Graduate School Office.

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