Graduate Advisors

The Graduate Advisors are faculty members that act as the representatives of the Dean of the Graduate Division in approving programs of study for graduate students.

The Head Graduate Advisor will advise each new graduate student until a Guidance Committee is appointed. First-year students may not drop courses, or elect to receive a grade other than the usual letter grade without permission of the Head Graduate Advisor.

Most forms and petitions submitted to the Graduate Division, including applications for advancement to candidacy, qualifying examinations, and petitions, must be completed in CalCentral under the “Submit a Form” section of the "Student Resources” card on the dashboard.

Andreas Stahl  Met Bio Head Grad Advisor

Daniel Nomura  Mol Tox Head Grad Advisor

Confidential Advising

Grad school, like anything else in life, is an opportunity to strengthen one’s confidence through overcoming obstacles while building onto one’s skills and creativity. During the times when doubts and despair challenge your determination, remember that you are not alone.

Greg Aponte
Confidential Advisor


Graduate Student Affairs

From the time you inquire and apply to the program through the time you graduate with your PhD, we are here for you.

Marcela Cardona

Graduate Student Affairs Advisor,


Guidance Committee

The Guidance Committee provides academic advising during the second year of studies. The committee consists of the Major Professor (chair) and two additional program faculty members chosen by the Major Professor and student with the advice and consent of Head Graduate Advisor.

The Guidance Committee determines whether all first-year core courses/prerequisites have been completed with a grade of B or better, and evaluates the initial research plan. Following each meeting, the Committee prepares a written evaluation of the student’s progress, which includes the following items:

  1. a review of the student’s research progress;
  2. recommendations for additional course work (if any);
  3. recommended date for the student’s Oral Qualifying Examination.

Changes in the membership of the Guidance Committee may be made at the request of the student, the Guidance Committee, or the Graduate Affairs Committee. Any contemplated change in membership should be discussed with the present members and any proposed member(s) of the Guidance Committee. This may be done individually or at a Guidance Committee meeting. If the present and proposed member(s) agree to the change, the student should fill out a Change of Higher Degree Committee (recon) eForm in CalCentral under the “Submit a Form” section of the “Student Resources” card on your dashboard.


Dissertation Committee

The Dissertation Committee provides intellectual as well as technical assistance to the student throughout the student’s research program. This committee is formed after the student has passed the Oral Qualifying Examination for the Ph.D. degree. It consists of at least three members: the chair (generally the Major Professor) and two other faculty members of the Academic Senate (one of which must be outside of the student’s Graduate Group). A non-Academic Senate member of similar professional standing (such as staff at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory) may serve as a Co-Chair of the Committee with the approval of the Graduate Dean.

The student, with the assistance of the Guidance Committee, suggests to the Head Graduate Advisor the names of three faculty members who may serve on the Dissertation Committee. The student will then complete and submit an Application for Advancement to Candidacy eForm in CalCentral. When the Graduate Division approves this form, it will send a formal notice of Advancement to Candidacy to the student.

The Dissertation Committee should meet within three months following the Oral Qualifying Examination to allow the student to present a detailed description of the proposed research; it then should meet at least once a year. In addition to regularly scheduled Dissertation Committee Meetings, the Dissertation Committee will also meet directly after each student’s presentation in NST292. Ideally, the meeting should occur the same day after the NST292 presentation—if this is not possible because of scheduling conflicts, the meeting should be scheduled as soon as possible after the NST 292 presentation. The student must keep the committee members informed of the progress of the research so that the committee may provide the adequate feedback.