Noah Gardner, a PhD candidate in Plant Pathology, talks with Professor Lynn Epstein during Plant Pathology class on October 11, 2016 at UC Davis.  The students were observing the general disease cycle of fungi and gathering the DNA of the cells in the lab.

Noah Gardner, a PhD candidate in Plant Pathology, talks with Professor Lynn Epstein during Plant Pathology class on October 11, 2016 at UC Davis. The students were observing the general disease cycle of fungi and gathering the DNA of the cells in the lab.

Graduate Advising

As a graduate student, you will have two types of advisers:

Graduate Adviser-Your Graduate Adviser is a faculty member in the Plant Pathology Graduate Program and is not your Thesis (research) Adviser. Your Graduate Adviser is a member of the Graduate Affairs Committee, assists you in meeting the graduation requirements set forth by the Graduate Division and, together with your Thesis Adviser, helps you plan your schedule of courses. The graduate adviser has formal responsibility for initiating faculty appointments to masters and PhD qualifying examinations (see section on qualifying examination, below) and thesis committees. You should meet with your graduate adviser at the outset of your first year to plan your course schedule and again in each year in which you are enrolled in courses to make adjustments in your program.

Thesis Adviser/major professor-This is the member of the Plant Pathology Graduate Program faculty with whom you will carry out your research. Your Thesis Adviser will help you to identify a research problem and to design, carry out and interpret experimental and/or theoretical work intended to answer the questions associated with that problem.

Your Thesis Adviser and your Graduate Adviser may not be the same person.

Most students will begin working with their major professor during their first quarter, according to arrangements made at the time of your admission to graduate school. However, depending on your source(s) of support, you may have the option to arrange for short periods of research experience in different laboratories (“laboratory rotations”) in order to have a variety of research experiences and to determine which program is best for you. If you are able to take advantage of laboratory rotations, you are encouraged to familiarize yourself with the Plant Pathology Graduate Program faculty and the full range of plant pathology research programs. Choosing your Thesis Adviser is a very important, career-affecting decision.

A guiding committee, composed of the major professor and two other professors familiar with the proposed area of research, is to be appointed for each PhD and MS student no later than the third quarter of the first year. A fourth member may be added with justification. The membership of the guiding committee will be determined in consultation with the Thesis Adviser and the Graduate Adviser. The purpose of the guiding committee is to provide research mentorship early in the student’s tenure. You are encouraged to meet with members of your guiding committee as often as needed. The entire committee should meet at least once during your first year and, for a PhD student, twice prior to your qualifying examination.

After successful completion of the qualifying examination by a PhD student, or after a MS Plan I (see below) student has selected a research topic, the guiding committee is dissolved and is replaced by the thesis committee. Your Thesis Adviser is the chairperson of your thesis (Masters or PhD) committee. The members of the PhD thesis committee are appointed in consultation with your Thesis Adviser and Graduate Adviser. Typically, the thesis committee has two faculty members of the Plant Pathology Graduate Program in addition to the thesis adviser but may be constituted with faculty member(s) from outside the Program and may have up to four members. The student should meet with the thesis committee at least once a year until the requirements for the degree have been satisfied.