By the end of the first quarter of the second year, each student typically selects a thesis lab and major sponsor (thesis advisor) in the Pharmacology Program. Once a thesis lab is chosen, a Special Committee is created by the student. The Special Committee consists of the major faculty sponsor and two minor faculty sponsors chosen from among all members of the graduate school faculty. The student and major sponsor select minor faculty based on expertise in the students dissertation research subject area.
The Special Committee meets at least once a year (see Annual Committe Meeting) to discuss research progress and future plans with the student. The Special committee also serves as the core group of examiners for the students Admission-to-Candidacy and Thesis Defense examinations. Changes in Special Committee composition may be made by the student at any time, with approval of the major sponsor and Pharmacology Program Director.