Major Professor

Upon acceptance into the program, the student will be assigned an advisor (major professor). Any questions may be addressed to the advisor or to the Graduate Program Director of the Department of Biological Sciences. In extraordinary circumstances, a student may change major professors. To request an advisor change, the student must seek formal approval from the Graduate Committee. The student must obtain the permission from both current and prospective advisors and submit a Change of Advisor form to the Graduate Program Director for approval. If approved by the Graduate Committee, the Graduate School will then be notified of the change.

The Ph.D. Advisory Committee

  1. The Composition and Function of the Committee

The Ph.D. Advisory Committee (hereafter called the Committee) plays a major role in the development of a student’s program. The Committee must consist of at least five (5) members, including the major professor and a faculty member representing the student’s secondary area of concentration. At least four (4) committee members must be UWM Graduate Faculty, or in special cases, UWM Category B Academic Staff and recommended by the department or programmatic unit. At least two committee members must be voting members of the Department of Biological Sciences. The advisor, major professor or committee chair for a doctoral student must be a member of the UWM Graduate Faculty or the UWM Category B Research Academic Staff, holding the title of Scientist and recommended by the department or programmatic unit. The Graduate Program Director must approve any non-UWM Committee members. The potential non-UWM Committee member must submit a cover letter and Curriculum Vitae to the Graduate Program Director. Teaching Assistant support will be given on a priority basis to graduate students under the direction of voting members of the Biological Sciences Faculty.

The Committee will meet with the student to construct a formal plan of required and advised course work. The Committee is also responsible for approval of the student’s written dissertation proposal. The Committee will administer the Preliminary Examination, read and evaluate the dissertation, and administer the final oral examination/dissertation defense by the student (see below). The Committee shall meet at least once per year (more often, if necessary) to monitor the student’s research and academic progress and must submit the Annual Progress Report document once a year signed by the student and Ph.D. Advisory Committee members. The student’s eligibility for financial aid is contingent upon the filing of this document with the Graduate Program Director by June 1 each year (see above).

  1. Procedure for Establishing the Committee

Shortly after beginning the first semester, the student and the advisor begin preparing a plan for the complete program of doctoral studies. The Committee must be established by the end of the first year of enrollment. Consult the proposed Committee members and obtain their consent to serve.