IB Advising Structure

IB has a clearly defined advising structure and includes:

Your Mentor

Your mentor is your primary advisor on academic issues and works in consultation with your Supervisory, Qualifying Examination and Dissertation Committees.

Your Graduate Advisor, Secondary Resource

Graduate Advisors are faculty members appointed to serve as deputies of the Graduate Division to ensure students are making appropriate progress toward meeting the annual goals set by the department and the Graduate Division.

The Head Graduate Advisor

Chairs the committee of Graduate Advisors and is the department's official liaison with the Graduate Division. The Head Graduate Advisor signs all correspondence sent by the department to the Graduate Division including routine petitions, such as Advancement to Candidacy forms, and requests for exceptions to policy.

While requests may be initiated by your mentor, they will not be accepted unless accompanied by an endorsement from the Head Graduate Advisor.

The Head Graduate Advisor can approve requests for a change to another mentor after discussion and agreement among all parties.

The Supervisory Committee

Form your Supervisory Committee at the start of the semester. This Committee consists of your mentor and two other faculty members, one of whom must be from Integrative Biology.

Ask your mentor for suggestions about who would be most appropriate.

Guidelines for selecting faculty:

  • One should be in an area closely allied to your research interests.
  • The other should be from an area sufficiently removed from your interest to broaden the sweep of the research problem, but close enough to actively contribute to your program.
  • The third member may be from Integrative Biology, but it will be to your advantage to begin working with a member of another department who could serve as the "outside" member of your Qualifying Examination and/or Dissertation Committees.

The purpose of this committee is to help you plan your program through advancement to candidacy, assuring that you are broadly educated in biology and prepared to move in unexpected directions as your career unfolds. Your committee will also advise you on specialized training. This committee may become part or all of your Dissertation Committee after you have advanced to candidacy.

The Qualifying Examination Committee

Your Qualifying Exam must be taken by the end of the fourth semester. In Integrative Biology this is an oral examination lasting approximately three hours and administered by your Qualifying Examination Committee.

The Qualifying Examination Committee is composed of four faculty members:

  • At least two (2) must be from Integrative Biology.*
  • One (1) must be from another department on the Berkeley campus.
  • Graduate Division requires that both the Chair and the outside faculty be members of the Berkeley Academic Senate.
  • The Committee Chair moderates the exam.

Your mentor is permitted to attend the exam but can neither be a questioning nor a voting member of the committee. Your mentor and your Supervisory Committee can help you select a Qualifying Examination Committee, but the choice will be largely determined by your developing interests. As you take courses in the first two or three semesters consider whether the professors teaching them would be committee members compatible with your interests and goals.

The Dissertation Committee

File for advancement to candidacy by petition to the Graduate Division after passing the Qualifying Examination. This petition asks that you list your Dissertation Committee.

This committee includes:

  • Your mentor is usually the Chair to this committee.
  • One (1) member is from the Integrative Biology faculty.
  • A third is a Berkeley Academic Senate member from another department on campus.

This committee will advise you on your research through the time you file your dissertation. They will read and sign your dissertation.

Under certain circumstances, a non-Senate member may be appointed to a committee if the Head Graduate Advisor determines that the individual in question offers expertise not otherwise available among the regular faculty and if the Associate Dean of the Graduate Division concurs in that judgment.

Ordinarily, the potential committee member's CV is submitted with the petition for Advancement to Candidacy. This member may not serve as either the Chair or outside member of the committee. If you are unsure whether an individual qualifies as a dissertation committee member, ask your Graduate Advisor or check with the Graduate Student Affairs Officer.

*Professors from other departments with a joint appointment to Integrative Biology may serve as an inside member of both the Qualifying and Dissertation Committees but may not serve in the capacity of outside member.

Annual Reviews

Please note updated annual committee meeting policy beginning Fall 2017.

  • Annual Review (First Years Graduate Students) First Years Form [DOCX]

    • Complete and submit this report by September 12 to the Graduate Affairs Office
    • Your CV
    • List of relevant courses you have taken before coming to Berkeley
    • What classes are you taking this first semester, and what are your ideas for classes spring semester and next year?
    • What are the rough topics you hope to pursue in your dissertation research, and what tools do you think you will use?
    • Your Committee and Graduate Advisor must review and sign the form (see below for advisor assignments)
  • Annual Review (Pre-Advanced to Candidacy Students) Pre-Advanced Form [DOCX]

    • Complete and submit this report by November 2 to the Graduate Affairs Office
    • Complete your portion of the form and get your Mentor's comments
    • Arrange a meeting with your Supervisory Committee to discuss your plans and progress
    • Your Graduate Advisor must review and sign the form (see below for advisor assignments)
  • Annual Review (Advanced to Candidacy) Third Year Students Advanced 3rd Year Form [DOCX] Fourth Year and Beyond Advanced 4th Year Form Complete and submit the Academic Progress Report by December 1 online in GLOW

    • Complete your portion of the form on GLOW before your meeting
    • Arrange a meeting with your Dissertation Committee to discuss your progress and their recommendations, faculty will fill out their portion of the form online in GLOW during this meeting
    • Your Graduate Advisor must review and sign the form (see below for advisor assignments)
    • Email the GSAO ( once you have completed this report

Advisor assignments for 2017-18 year are:

1st Years: Seth Finnegan

2nd Years: Rauri Bowie

3rd Years: ​Nipam Patel

4th Years: Bruce Baldwin

5th Years and Beyond: Brent Mishler