After completion of the Preliminary Qualifying Examination (PQE), a Dissertation Advisory Committee is formed to oversee the student's dissertation research. This committee is often the same as the Preliminary Examination Committee. Dissertation Advisors are not members of the Dissertation Advisory Committee but are expected to attend all Committee meetings.
The DAC must consist of at least three members, one of which will be a faculty member of the Immunology Graduate Committee. Other members may be chosen from the Immunology Program faculty, other Harvard departments, or from other area universities (only one member of the DAC may be from outside of the Immunology Program). It is advantageous to the student to choose Committee members who are generally available for consultation.
The Dissertation Advisory Committee will meet every 6 to 9 months (see Timeline for Completing the Degree on the right). It is the student's responsibility to arrange these meetings in a timely fashion. Students who are significantly late in arranging DAC meetings will not be permitted to register for the following semester. The Committee Chair will be responsible for submitting the DAC report for each meeting to the Program Administrator immediately following the meeting.
The Dissertation Advisory Committee has the responsibility to the University to assure that the requirements of the Program and of the Division of Medical Sciences are being met by the candidate. A major role of the Committee is to assist the dissertation advisor and the student in deciding when to close off further experimentation and to begin writing. If a student has questions or problems of any kind, he or she may seek help from the Chair or any member of the Committee.
In order for the Dissertation Advisory Committee meeting to be most productive and informative, the student must write a two page summary of the work completed since the last meeting and submit it to the members of the Committee, ideally one week before the meeting and no later than 48 hours before. This summary will also be attached to the Dissertation Advisory Committee Report. In addition, the student must complete an IDP form and forward it to her/his PI and meet annually to discuss it. In case the student would prefer to discuss the IDP form and its contents with someone other than the PI, she/he should contact the Program Head or Associate Head and organize a meeting.