The program provides a comprehensive system of advising throughout a student’s graduate study. During orientation, the advising committee and the program chair meet with new students to review first-year requirements. Throughout their first term, students are expected to meet individually with the chair or other members of the advising committee to identify faculty is closest to the student’s own interests and whose laboratory rotations would be most appropriate to join. At the end of the fall quarter, the entire advising committee meets with the first-year students to answer questions that have arisen. In subsequent quarters, each student’s enrollment and performance in core courses and laboratory rotations are closely monitored, and students are counseled individually by the advising chair. At the end of spring quarter of the first year, students submit a Faculty Mentor Approval form, co-signed by the proposed mentor, to the advising committee, which considers the choice of mentor and the ability of faculty to serve in this capacity.
The advising program continues after a student has chosen a faculty research mentor. Each year, students receive a memorandum outlining current requirements (e.g., course electives, the written and oral qualifying examinations and midstream seminar). The advising committee also meets annually to discuss student progress and identify potential problems. Students then receive a letter assessing their current progress and making specific recommendations as needed. An overall assessment of student progress is also made annually to the neuroscience committee.
In addition to the formal advising procedures outlined above, students are encouraged to seek advice on career development from faculty members in the Bioinformatics community at UCLA. An annual retreat serves to allow informal and organized contacts between faculty and students, providing further opportunity for advising.