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Annual Committee Meeting


Graduate Students are responsible for assembling their faculty committees the first year; making research progress each year; scheduling annual meetings with their faculty committee before the start of fall semester each year; knowing and complying with the requirements for their degrees contained in their graduate group policies. For more information, see SNS Expectations.
Graduate Advisors oversee planning of the annual faculty advising committee meeting, and ensure that a report from each committee is forwarded to each graduate student, the graduate group chair and the graduate program coordinator after each annual meeting and at other times as appropriate or necessary. For more information, see SNS Expectations.
Graduate Group Chairs ensure that every graduate student has an annual faculty committee meeting in conformance with the relevant graduate group policy. They serve as "backup advisors" or "backup committee members" in cases when a primary faculty advisor is unable or unwilling to continue serving in that capacity and the graduate student is unable to identify a replacement.

Assessment and Success Criteria

Graduate groups shall track whether each student has had an annual meeting with his or her faculty committee before the start of fall semester each year, with support from SNS staff members.

Subject to the concurrence of the graduate group, each graduate student shall have on file acceptable evidence of an annual meeting for the preceding year, or an acceptable exception, to be considered to be making acceptable progress and therefore be eligible for graduate student funding administered by SNS (TA, GSR and fellowships).

As of spring 2013, acceptable evidence of a committee meeting includes the following:

  • Applied Math: An email from the faculty advisor attesting that an annual meeting occurred. A written summary of feedback and instructions to the student is preferred.
  • Applied Math Annual Committee Meeting Evaluation Rubric
  • Annual student progress report format - for use by grad students. The student sends a progress report to committee members ahead of the committee meeting.
    • Annual student progress evaluation form - for use by faculty committees (MS Word format). The committee chair (and other members, at their discretion) provides a copy of the report to the student, the graduate group chair, and the graduate coordinator.


  1. Assembling a Faculty Committee

    Each graduate student should review his or her graduate group's policies with respect to faculty committees, and then consult with his or her faculty advisor on how to go about inviting faculty members to serve on his or her committee. Customs and expectations vary according to academic discipline and individual faculty advisor preference. For additional information, graduate students are encouraged to consult informally with other students in their group, or to contact their graduate group chair.

    Additional information is available here.

  2. Annual Meetings

    Customs and expectations vary according to academic discipline and individual faculty advisor preferences. Typically, each student is expected to submit a draft report to his or her committee members at least one month before the annual meeting, and the committee chair is expected to produce a written summary of instructions and feedback for the student at the conclusion of the meeting. For additional information, graduate students are encouraged to consult informally with other students in their groups or contact their graduate group chairs. Delay of meeting: Students or faculty advisors who wish to request exceptions to delay the annual meetings must submit requests in writing to the graduate chairs, who must approve in writing.

  3. Special Meetings
    1. First Annual Meeting

      Instructions for first-year students: In May of the first year, schedule a faculty committee meeting with your faculty advisor and at least one other faculty member before the start of fall semester. This first meeting can be informal, and a full committee does not need to be assembled, but should include at least one other faculty member who is not your faculty advisor. The meeting should cover, at a minimum:

      • what is required for you to prepare for your qualifying exam or master's during your second year
      • coursework selection
      • academic and professional skills development
      • self-assessment of your progress and performance to date (worksheet coming soon!)
    2. Qualifying Exams and Defense
      The qualifying exam, master's thesis defense or dissertation defense may be counted as an annual faculty committee meeting.

Working with your committee

  1. Open and consistent communications with your committee, especially your chair, are critical to your successful progress.
  2. Work closely with your chair to see how she or he wants you to submit your work to the committee. Normally, all chapters or sections of chapters are submitted to your chair for first review. After the chair provides feedback and you make necessary changes, typically you resubmit to the chair who sends your work on to the other committee members or directs you to send them your work.
  3. Ask your chair how she or he would like you to interact with committee members to get feedback from your committee members on your work. (Often the chair will request that all reviewed work be funneled through the chair and then the feedback is passed on to you for corrections and changes.)
  4. If you receive feedback on your work that is unclear to you or appears contradictory, take your concerns to your chair.
  5. Your chair and committee members are busy people, yet they should be responsive to you, just as you need to be responsive to them. Send your chair regular updates on the progress of your work. Send your committee members periodic updates on your progress.
  6. If you are not receiving timely feedback on the work you submit to your committee, contact your chair with your concerns. You need to strike a balance between persistence and becoming bothersome.
  7. Your chair will determine when it is time for you to defend your dissertation proposal and your dissertation. You will need to take an active role in scheduling the dates of defense. Along with your chair, you will need to schedule these defenses well ahead of time so committee members can read and contemplate your work in an ample amount of time.
  8. When a proposal or dissertation defense is scheduled you should provide the necessary forms for the committee members to sign.


  • Policy: UC Merced Graduate Advisor's Handbook
  • Policy: Graduate Group Policies and Procedures (available from websites or graduate group chairs)
  • Policy: SNS Expectations of graduate students and faculty advisors
  • File: CCB Annual Committee Report Form (available from graduate group chair)
  • File: QSB Annual Committee Documents can be found HERE