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The Third Year & Beyond: Thesis Research & Thesis Research Advisory Committee Meetings

Population Health Sciences program students: Please speak to your Program Director for more information.

Basic Biomedical Science students: The information outlined below is not all-inclusive. Please familiarize yourself with all of the requirements as outlined in the Student Handbook

Selection of TRAC Members

Students will select TRAC members after successful completion of the Qualifying Exam and submit the TRAC selection form (BBS06). 

The TRAC committee is composed of the thesis advisor and three additional members.  The Chair of the TRAC must be a Morningside Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences faculty member holding the rank of Associate Professor or Professor. The Chair cannot be a collaborator on the student’s thesis research. If the Chair subsequently becomes involved in a collaboration with the student, the Chair may remain on the TRAC but must resign as Chair and another Chair must be selected. A Morningside Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences Faculty appointment is required for service on a TRAC.

As a member of the TRAC, the thesis advisor may be present for the TRAC meeting. However, the presence of the thesis advisor is not a requirement.

Annual TRAC Meetings


Fall semester year 3, and every fall thereafter

COVID-19 Accommodations

TRAC meetings may be held either fully remote via Zoom or on-site in-person.

TRAC members have the option to participate on-site or remotely. It is neither practical nor necessary to restrict on-site TRAC meetings to specific rooms. However, the student must ensure that remote participants can synchronously access all visual materials presented and participate fully in the discussion.

The student has total discretion as to whether the meeting will be held remotely or on-site. The TRAC Chair will ensure that the student’s preference is established and honored.

The TRAC Meeting and Assignments

The TRAC meeting is a formal, required course for PhD students in the Morningside Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences curriculum. Students must enroll each Fall semester and must complete the TRAC meeting by the end of the Fall semester. Failure to hold a meeting and/or complete TRAC requirements in the Fall semester will result in a grade of Incomplete, and failure to complete by the end of the academic year will result in a permanent Incomplete.

Additional TRAC meetings may be held each year at the request of the TRAC or the student.

Students are required to complete every TRAC assignment and report and any other academic communication with the Morningside Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences administration through Blackboard (Complete instructions can be found in Blackboard). Students are required to distribute their pre-TRAC meeting summary to each member of the TRAC at least three days prior to the TRAC meeting. Students are required to distribute their post-TRAC meeting summary to the TRAC within one week of the TRAC meeting.


No TRAC meeting will be held in the absence of at least three TRAC members.

If scheduling conflicts prevent the timely convening of a TRAC meeting, the meeting may proceed with one member absent. If the thesis advisor will not attend the meeting, then the thesis advisor must prepare a written summary of the student’s progress since the last meeting and the aims for the subsequent period. The summary must be distributed to the other TRAC members in advance of the TRAC meeting. If another member of the TRAC is absent, the student must meet individually with the member after the meeting to review progress.

The presence of the TRAC Chair is required. If the Chair is unable to attend, another TRAC member must serve as Chair for the meeting, fulfilling all obligations and responsibilities of the Chair, or the meeting will be rescheduled.

During each meeting, the TRAC will meet separately with the advisor in the absence of the student and will also meet separately with the student in the absence of the advisor.

Possible Outcomes

After the discussion has concluded and the TRAC has met separately with the student and advisor, the TRAC will determine the outcome of the meeting. The TRAC Chair will communicate the outcome to the student.

Pass: Continue with research, meet again in one year.

Pass: Continue with research, meet again in a time frame less than one year (time must be specified)

Pass: Change program to “Complete with MS in Biomedical Science”

Marginal Pass: continue with research, meet again in a specified time of less than 6 months

Marginal Pass: Change Program to “Complete with MS in Biomedical Science”

Fail: Withdraw from Morningside Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences with no degree


Ask Mindy Donovan
Administrative Manager II
Morningside Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences Student and Academic Affairs