To ensure timely direction, a student is accepted into the Master program only if a tentative major advisor has been arranged. The assignment of a tentative major advisor occurs during the admission process (see Admissions). Students interested in working with two faculty members can be assigned co-advisors. A student has no obligation to retain the tentative major advisor assigned during the admission process. Each student has the freedom to change their major advisor through petition to the Graduate Coordinator of the Department of Biological Sciences. Such a change does not negatively affect a student's ability to receive financial support or complete the degree, although it may delay completion of the Progression Requirements for the program. In all cases, a student must have a major advisor by the end of the second academic semester.
Note: Only Biology Graduate Faculty can serve as Major Advisors. Adjunct Graduate Faculty can serve as co-advisors. If a student has a co-Advisor, they must also have a Major Advisor who is a member of the Graduate Faculty of the Department of Biological Sciences. Furthermore, the co-Advisor must have Graduate Faculty status in their home department or Adjunct Graduate status in the Department of Biological Sciences, UNC Charlotte.
Note: A major advisor can dismiss a student at any time because of poor performance under their direction or failure to demonstrate timely progression towards the degree. If a student is dismissed by his/her Major Advisor, it is the student’s responsibility to arrange for a replacement advisor within 4 months. If no faculty member has agreed to serve as the Major Advisor within the designated time period, the student will be terminated from the program. The student must notify the Graduate Coordinator of the new Major Advisor through submission of a new form to Establish a Supervisory Committee and checking the box "I am changing my committee".
The committee, selected by the student in consultation with his/her major advisor, must always include three members from the Biology Graduate Faculty. A typical Committee consists of a Major Advisor and two additional Committee members. Each student must submit a form to Establish a Supervisory Committee to the Graduate Programs Director. The name is confusing because it states "thesis" but it applies to non-thesis MS studnets as well. Special requests can be submitted to replace one member of the committee with a tenure-track faculty member from outside the Department of Biological Sciences, provided that the person (1) holds graduate faculty status in their home department and (2) is a participant in one of the curricular programs housed in the Department of Biological Sciences (e.g. the Biotechnology Program; the Doctoral Program in Biology, etc.) or for which Biology is a participating department (e.g. the INES Doctoral Program). The committee may include a fourth member, including Adjunct Faculty, only if that person has Graduate Faculty status. If the Major Advisor is not a member of the Biology Graduate Faculty, one of the three members from the Biology Faculty must serve as Co-Advisor. All Supervisory Committees must be approved by the Graduate Committee. The composition of the Supervisory Committee can be changed at any time through submission of a new form to Establish a Supervisory Committee and checking the box "I am changing my committee".
All Master's students, both thesis track and non-thesis, must have an approved Supervisory Committee by the end of the 2nd semester of graduate course work, and are strongly encouraged to establish their Supervisory Committee during the first semester of their two year program, to ensure timely completion of program progression requirements (see Progression Requirements, Deadlines and Forms).