Thesis Advisor

A. Overview
The Thesis Advisor will assist the graduate student throughout the duration of their PhD studies. Upon choosing a Thesis Advisor, the student should formulate goals and expectations when starting in a permanent lab home. The student and Thesis Advisor should work together to ensure that mutual goals and expectations are met.
B. Purpose of a Thesis Advisor

  • Monitor and guide the student's progress toward their PhD degree
  • Provide the student with advice about how and when to meet the degree requirements of the program
  • Help the student decide on appropriate coursework during their PhD studies
  • Act as the head of the student's Thesis Committee
  • Help the student establish the members of their Thesis Committee

C. Selecting a Thesis Advisor

  • Consider the amount of contact, pressure, support, and direction the student might prefer
  • Attend Biophysics faculty trainer talks during Advising and Orientation Week where each Biophysics faculty trainer taking rotators will discuss research being conducted in his/her lab
  • Review each faculty trainer's lab information found on their website and arrange a time to meet with faculty trainers of interest to discuss questions and obtain more information about their lab
  • Ask for copies of grant proposals or published papers about the faculty trainer's research
  • Interview other Biophysics graduate students in the faculty trainer's lab

D. Student-Thesis Advisor Concerns

  • If a problem between a student and Thesis Advisor develops, the following steps should be taken:
    • The student and Thesis Advisor should discuss and attempt to resolve any differences, request changes within a specified time period, note concerns on the Progress Report form, follow up with a letter to the student, and send a copy of the letter to the Biophysics Office
    • If either party is not satisfied with the result, they may present the situation to a member of the Thesis Committee and notify the Biophysics Office
    • If the problem is not readily resolved, the student or Thesis Advisor may seek the guidance of the Biophysics Program Chair
    • If a solution suggests a laboratory change, the Thesis Advisor may be expected to fund the student for a one month rotation
    • The Employee Assistance Office (EAO) at UW-Madison is available to faculty trainers and graduate students as a useful resource when dealing with student-Thesis Advisor concerns