Committees of Three

From the second semester through the successful presentation of their thesis proposal, graduate students are advised by their "Committee of Three".


  • Provide students with a broader advising perspective
  • Plan for financial support
  • Provide students with regular feedback on their progress
  • Encourage early publication
  • Insure that no student falls behind
  • Foster more departmental collaborations

Operational Details:

  • The committee consists of the research mentor + 2 faculty members, senior scientists, or emeritus faculty.
  • Members are chosen by the grad advising committee in consultation with the student regarding their interests.
  • Committee members transition as appropriate prior to the thesis proposal. After the thesis proposal, the Committee of Three morphs into the Thesis Committee.
  • First and second year students meet with their committees in Nov/Dec and Apr/May. All other students meet with their committees in Apr/May.
  • The meeting should be scheduled for 1 hour. The research mentor should attend only the second half of the meeting, since he/she does not need as much updating as the other committee members.
  • Students are responsible for scheduling the meetings. A best faith effort must be made to have all members present - a minimum of 2 committee members is required. Remote participation via skype or telecon is fine when necessary.
  • Prior to the meeting, the student sends a completed form to the committee outlining his/her progress over the past year. This acts as a starting point for discussion.
  • After the meeting, the student adds the advice from the committee to the form and sends it to the chair of the graduate advising committee.
  • The grad advising chair will send reminders about the meetings and has oversight responsibility. (Students are not required to have a Committee of Three meeting, but they are strongly encouraged to do so.)
UW-Madison Astronomy Home