After passing the oral qualifying exam and becoming a PhD candidate, the student and Research Advisor assemble a Research Advisory Committee. The committee will consist of the Research Advisor, two additional faculty members of the PIB Program and one outside member from either another program, another university, or from outside academia. Members of the committee should possess expertise closely related to the thesis area.

The Research Advisory Committee meets with the student at least once a year to evaluate research progress towards the Ph.D. degree. An abstract should be presented to the committee in advance of the meeting. Ordinarily the student will describe his/her progress in the form of an oral presentation. It is common for students to combine their Thesis Committee meeting with the yearly presentation that he/she must make in the Progress Report seminar series. In this case, the committee meets with the student privately after the public presentation to serve an advisory role on future research and help determine when the requirements are satisfied for the Ph.D. degree. A Research Advisory Committee Meeting form documenting this meeting must be filed with the SGS office.