Thesis Advisory Committee

After successful completion of the Written Qualifying Examination, you'll work with your thesis adviser and the Center for Clinical and Translational Science (CCaTS) predoctoral programs director to establish a Thesis Advisory Committee (TAC). This committee monitors the progress of your thesis research, and your adviser serves as its chair.

TAC composition

The makeup of your TAC must first be approved by the CCaTS predoctoral programs director, after which it's submitted to Mayo Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences for approval. All committee members must have or be eligible for graduate faculty privileges (must be logged in to the Mayo network).

Your TAC must have:

  • A minimum of five members from five different independent research programs (one of the five may be an external examiner)
  • Three members, including the committee chair, with full graduate faculty privileges
  • Two members with graduate faculty privileges in your degree track
  • Two members who've previously mentored a student through to graduation

TAC responsibilities

Your TAC should meet with you at least every six months to review your research progress. A progress report form documenting member attendance, summarizing the progress made to date, and outlining the projected timeline and expectations for the next meeting should be signed by you, your mentor and the other committee members and submitted to the CCaTS predoctoral programs coordinator.

Different members of your TAC have different responsibilities:

Chair (research mentor)

  • Meets regularly with you (weekly meetings are strongly recommended)
  • Guides you as you develop your protocol
  • Critically reviews your protocol
  • Chairs TAC progress meetings every six months, at which you and all committee members should be present (the first meeting should be prior to the Oral Qualifying Examination)
  • Submits a progress report form summarizing every TAC meeting
  • Guides you with regard to thesis development
  • Critically reviews your final thesis draft
  • Prepares questions for your Final Oral Examination (thesis defense)


  • Critically review your protocol
  • Attend all TAC progress meetings
  • Sign summaries of TAC progress meetings
  • Critically review your final thesis draft
  • Assist the TAC chair in preparing oral examination questions for your Final Oral Examination (thesis defense)

Note: Failure to attend progress meetings may result in loss of Mayo Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences faculty privileges in clinical and translational science.

TAC progress meetings

Progress meetings enable you and your TAC to collectively monitor your research project, as well as informally evaluate your progress toward achieving the program's core competencies.

Your first TAC meeting should be held prior to the Oral Qualifying Examination. Follow-up meetings should be held every six months until completion of a successful Final Oral Examination (thesis defense).

Following each meeting, your TAC chair must complete a progress report form, which must then be signed by you and all your TAC members and submitted to the CCaTS predoctoral programs coordinator.

This progress report may include, but is not limited to:

  • The names of the TAC members in attendance at the meeting
  • Status of data collection
  • Projected timeline to complete data collection
  • Projected timeline for analysis
  • Any issues that may have arisen
  • The projected final defense date