All students are required to conduct a yearly Progress Report meeting with their Thesis Committee after passing the Preliminary Exam. This meeting ensures that the student is making satisfactory research progress toward their PhD and provides a mechanism for the student to identify areas of strength and weakness in their development as an independent scientist. The Progress Report meeting must be scheduled by May 17 and completed by August 31 of the third, fourth, and fifth year. Failure to do so will result in a hold being placed on the student’s registration. If an in person meeting is not possible, please see the CMB Virtual Meeting Guide.
Requirements to Complete
Prior to the Progress Report Meeting:
- Schedule the Progress Report meeting with the Thesis Committee
- Send an email notification with the scheduled meeting date to the CMB Office by the May 17 deadline (failure to do so will result in a hold being placed on the student’s registration)
- Prepare a presentation of the research progress
- Obtain and complete the Progress Report form, available on the CMB Forms section of the CMB website
- Submit the Progress Report form to the Thesis Committee one week in advance of your meeting
- Update your Individual Development Plan (strongly recommended, but not required unless supported by NIH funding)
At the Progress Report Meeting:
- Your Thesis Advisor is the Chair of the Progress Report meeting
- Give a presentation describing the past year’s accomplishments
- The presentation and Progress Report will be discussed by the student and the Thesis Committee
- At least three Thesis Committee members must be present at the meeting and must sign the Progress Report form
- If necessary, the student should meet individually with the rest of the committee to get their input and signatures after the meeting
Submit the Following Materials:
- Submit the signed Progress Report form to the CMB Office by the August 31 deadline (failure to do so will result in a hold being placed on the student’s registration)
- A few months prior to the thesis defense, students should have a meeting with their committee to determine whether they are ready to move on to the thesis defense. The committee should agree the student is ready before the thesis defense is scheduled. This meeting usually occurs about six months prior to the defense but the timing can vary significantly.
- At the six-month meeting, students should present an outline of their thesis to their committee. Consider including a chapter that communicates the PhD research to the public. The chapter can be submitted for a Wisconsin Initiative for Science Literacy (WISL) award. For more information about the WISL award click here.
- Fill out and submit a Progress Report Form and check the box indicating that this is your six-month meeting.
Sample Thesis Outline for Six-Month Meeting
I. Chapter 1: Introduction*
II. Chapter 2: Paper 1 (published, submitted, or in preparation)**
III. Chapter 3: Paper 2 (same as Chapter 2)
IV. Chapter 4: Paper 3 (same as Chapter 2)
V. Chapter 5: Future directions
VI. Appendix 1: Unpublished data***
VII. Appendix 2: Unpublished data (same as Appendix 1)
*Provide a chapter title that encapsulates the topic for the entire thesis.
**Provide the paper title. It would also be helpful to include subheadings (A, B, C…) with the major findings of the paper.
***Provide a title for data that do not fit into one of the paper chapters but constitute an important part of your thesis research. Each appendix could include single or multiple figures.
Time To Degree
The CMB Program desires and expects its students to graduate in a timely fashion, as this is in the best interests of the individual students and the program as a whole. However, it must be recognized that different students progress at different rates, and any given student may encounter unexpected problems beyond their control that extend their time to degree. To ensure that these competing factors are balanced, the CMB Program Coordinator will automatically bring to the attention of the Coordinating Committee (CC) any students who are entering their 8th year in the CMB Program. The CC will examine such situations and determine on a case-by-case basis whether or not there are extenuating circumstances that merit continuation of the student in the CMB Program. If the CC determines that there are no extenuating circumstances, the CC will intervene as appropriate based on each individual case. Options for intervention include, but are not limited to, a terminal MS degree for the student.