Time to Completion (TTC) and Post-TTC Meetings for PhD Students

The Department of Molecular Genetics has put in place policies and procedures designed to reduce the time to completion of our PhD program. Specifically, it is expected that, except in unusual circumstances, a PhD should be defended no more than 5.5 to 6.0 years after commencing graduate studies in the Department.

The Time to Completion (TTC) Committee Meeting is designed to assist in ensuring timely completion of the PhD. Before the end of the 4th year in the graduate program, every PhD student must have a TTC Meeting. This meeting is not to be delayed because the student or Supervisor do not think the student is ready. Just like the Pre- Reclass/Qual Meeting, this meeting is held at a particular point in the program and is an important assessment of the progress already made as well as what is realistic for the completion of the PhD. The TTC Meeting is conducted in the same manner as other Committee Meetings (including the four-page progress report as described above) with the following additional measures:

  1. The student is given the opportunity to discuss their career plans with the Committee and get their advice on how to achieve their career goals. This is optional and the student can decline to have this discussion.
  2. In both the written progress report and at the TTC Meeting, the student must present an additional section including:
    1. A projected thesis outline. Students can use the SGS thesis template as a framework to populate the required sections, noting progress towards each.
    2. A plan outlining exactly which experiments need to be completed along with a realistic estimate of how long this is expected to take. This time may not exceed two years (i.e., except for writing and defending the thesis, all other aspects should be completed within 5.0 to 5.5 years).

This section can be beyond the four-page report length. There is no required length, but more detail can allow a more productive and specific discussion, as well as a more comprehensive record of what plans were agreed upon. Students are encouraged to consult their Supervisors in preparing this section.

  1. The Committee reviews the plan and either approves it or recommends modifications.
  2. The Committee discusses when to have the next Committee Meeting, which must take place within a year, though in many cases an earlier meeting would be appropriate.
  3. Reports for all Committee Meetings between the TTC Meeting and Terminal Meeting should include the section outlined in step 2, with a thesis outline and a plan for completing the remaining experiments. These should be explicitly presented and discussed for approval by the Committee. These meetings must continue to occur at least once per year until the Terminal Meeting.
  4. A Terminal Committee Meeting is held once experiments are complete, in which the student is given permission to write the thesis. This should be no more than 2 years after the TTC meeting.

This information is also included in the grad handbook for reference.