Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences

Genetics & Genomics Student Advisory Committees


Advisory Committee for First Year Students


The Graduate Program Director serves as a "temporary advisor" for the first-year graduate students.

The Program Directors counsel the graduate students through the early phase of their graduate program.  They meet with the first-year graduate students prior to registration for the first term and again during subsequent terms. The Program Directors ensure that students register for required courses and make suggestions for elective courses, readings and laboratory rotations. The Program Directors consult with the Program Executive Committee (PEC) about the first-year students’ progress.


Thesis 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 the effective and maximal use of the faculty and other resources within the program 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. Students in the Genetics & Genomics Graduate Program are encouraged to have many ‘mentors’ throughout their graduate studies, some of whom will be on their Thesis Advisory Committee, but can only assign one faculty as their ‘major thesis advisor’.

All faculty who wish to serve as major thesis advisors must show evidence of being established principal investigators directing a strong, independent program in biomedical 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 PEC  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 Program Directors  regarding the deadline for choice of thesis advisor. The faculty member selected as a major advisor must also submit in writing to the PEC  his/her willingness to serve as an 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 an exception to this guideline should petition the PEC.

Membership of the Thesis Advisory Committee

The Thesis Advisory Committee for each student consists of the student's major thesis advisor, at least three additional members of the Genetics & Genomics Graduate Program, including a Reporting Member, and at least one faculty member from outside the Program. 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/tenured 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 chair of the student's Thesis Advisory Committee. The advisor counsels the student in the selection of the remaining members of the Thesis Advisory Committee. The student may select the outside members from neighboring institutions (e.g., Rice University, U.T. Medical School, U.T.). In the event that an appropriate non-departmental faculty member cannot be identified, an additional Baylor College Medicine faculty member whose primary appointment is outside the Program and outside the major advisor’s department may be appointed.

The Thesis 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 Thesis Advisory Committee is then appointed by the Dean of the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences upon written request from the program.

The student must maintain contact with all members of the Thesis 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 Advisory Committee must meet at least every six months to review the student's progress, a report of the meeting must be submitted to the Director of graduate studies, and a copy must be sent to the Graduate School Office twice a year.

Modification of Thesis 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 Advisory Committee. A student who finds it necessary to change advisors must submit a written request with justification to this effect to the PEC for approval.

Changes in the composition of a student's Thesis Advisory Committee may be necessary for a number of reasons (e.g., change in research topic, 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 Advisory Committee membership must be approved by the Dean of Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. 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.