Dissertation Advisory Committee (DAC)

Upon passing the qualifying exam, you will choose three faculty members to serve as your Dissertation Advisory Committee (DAC) along with your PI to oversee your dissertation research.

The Mission of the DAC

The DAC has four main missions:

  • First and foremost, the DAC is a scientific advisory committee that will provide expert advice on all aspects of the thesis, extending from experimental paradigms to project feasibility within the time frame of a PhD thesis and to the scientific impact of the work.
  • Second, the DAC will help monitor student progress to ensure that the major objectives and standards for completion of a PhD thesis are being met in a timely fashion. In this capacity, the DAC determines whether the student’s research meets the requirements of the program and when the student may begin writing the thesis. In addition to evaluating completed experiments and manuscripts, progress will also be considered with respect to maturity in scientific judgment.
  • Third, the DAC will help resolve any conflict between student and advisor or other lab members.
  • And fourth, the DAC serves as a liaison to the BBS program heads and administration.

Timing and Frequency of DAC Meetings

  • The first DAC should occur within 3-4 months of successfully completing the PQE.
  • DACs should then follow every 9 months, switching to every 6 months once a G5 or above. 


For more details on the entire DAC process, please read through the Guidelines below.