Students are expected to form their thesis committee during their 2nd year, after entering the mentor's lab. Thesis committee is formed only after consultation with the mentor. This is NOT a decision the student makes alone.

  • Committee must have a minimum of 5 members.
  • Mentor is traditionally the chair of the committee, except during the thesis proposal and final defense. However, another member can be chair. That decision is the student and mentor's.
  • 1 member of the thesis committee (Graduate School prefers 2 members) must be outside the student's research area of expertise.
  • If a student has a committee member who is either not UAB faculty (at another university) or who does not have UAB Graduate Faculty status (check here), student must:
    1- request a CV (via email) from the proposed committee member
    2- complete the Recommendation for Appointment to Graduate Faculty
    3- contact the Theme office to get a letter of recommendation from the Theme Director
  • Committee form must be filled out, printed out, and taken to the Theme office for signature and submission to the Graduate School.


Committee meetings must be held at least once a year until a student's fourth year in the program, at which time meetings must be every 6 months. Meetings can be held with more frequency, if needed or desired by the student and/or mentor.

The student and mentor (or chair, if different from the mentor) must provide minutes from every committee meeting using the GBS approved form (click here for form). Student completes a portion of the form; the mentor/chair finishes the minutes and makes sure the forms are returned to the Theme office either via email ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ) or in person (Shelby 120c) within a week.