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Thesis Research Advisory Committee (TRAC) Membership

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

TRAC Meetings 

The TRAC meeting is a formal, required course 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 in the Fall semester will result in a grade of Incomplete, and failure to remediate a grade of Incomplete by the end of the academic year will result in a grade of Fail. 

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

Selection of Committee Members 

Students select TRAC members early in the third year and submit a TRAC selection form (BBS06) to the GSBS.

The TRAC committee is composed of the thesis advisor and three additional members. The Chair of the TRAC must be a tenured Morningside Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences faculty member. The Chair cannot be a collaborator on the student’s thesis research. If the Chair 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. GSBS Contributing Faculty members may serve on TRACs, but may not serve as TRAC Chair.  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. 

Preview TRAC Selection Form (BBS06)

TRAC Meeting Process

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. 

If scheduling conflicts prevent the timely convening of a TRAC meeting, the meeting may proceed with one member absent. If the thesis advisor cannot 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. 

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 or the meeting will be rescheduled.

TRAC Meeting 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 and complete a TRAC Meeting Report (GSBS07).

Preview TRAC Meeting Report (GSBS07) |  Initiate GSBS07 in DocuSign

Responsibilities of 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. 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. 

Approval of Proposed Dissertation Timeline by the TRAC 

A student who has concluded that their dissertation research is nearly complete must propose a timeline for completion and meet with the dissertation advisor and the TRAC for review and approval of the proposed timeline. 

At the TRAC meeting, the student must present: 

  1. A draft of the thesis abstract
  2. An outline of the dissertation, including a detailed outline of the Introduction and Discussion
  3. A summary of published work that will be included in the dissertation
  4. Any data that are unpublished or previously unseen by the TRAC, that will be included in the dissertation. These data should be presented in publication-ready form where possible.
  5. A proposed date range for the dissertation defense
  6. A proposed list of external examiners

The TRAC will:
Approve via the TRAC Approval of Proposed Dissertation Timeline form (GSBS70), or
Defer to a later timeline with standard TRAC Meeting Report form (GSBS07).  

Preview TRAC Approval of Proposed Dissertation Timeline (GSBS70)  |  Initiate GSBS70 in DocuSign 

Preview TRAC Meeting Report (GSBS07) |  Initiate GSBS07 in DocuSign

For complete details, please see the Student Handbook.