Dissertation Advisory Committee (DAC)

Dissertation Advisory Committee (DAC)


DAC form submitted by February of G3
First DAC meeting convened by June 1 of G3

Students may choose a doctoral dissertation topic in virtually any research area relevant to speech and hearing at the interface of physical science/engineering and the biomedical sciences. 


DAC Function
Students perform doctoral dissertation research under the guidance of a Dissertation Advisory Committee (DAC). The DAC provides timely and consistent advising. The DAC helps set logical goals for the completion of the dissertation and monitors progress toward completion of degree requirements.    


DAC Committee

  • DAC committee should be formed in consultation with the Dissertation Advisor and the SHBT Academic Advisor.
  • The committee should have three members, not including the advisor. A DAC Chair should be identified who will be responsible for reporting on each DAC meeting.
  • Faculty members with relevant expertise from outside Harvard may serve on the DAC if approved by the Division of Medical Sciences.  At least two members of the DAC must be formally affiliated with the SHBT Program. It is encouraged that at least one member not be affiliated with the SHBT Program in order to provide an outside perspective.
  • In order to avoid conflicts of interest, the Dissertation Advisor cannot be the DAC Chair.  
  • The SHBT student tracking committee must approve the composition of the DAC; this is done by the approval of the form submitted with the dissertation proposal.
  • Students must declare a DAC by February of G3 year.

DAC Meetings

  • Student must meet with his or her DAC at least once during each Fall and Spring term. At the end of the meeting, the DAC Chair will complete a DAC Report, signed by all committee members, for submission to the Division of Medical Sciences.
  • The Dissertation Advisor is expected to attend all meetings.
  • Each student bears primary responsibility for ensuring that the DAC meets in a timely fashion. The student should meet with his/her committee as soon as possible after the qualifying examination, but in all cases, by June 1 of G3.
  • The student is responsible for scheduling and reserving a room for each DAC meeting.
  • Beginning with the fourth graduate year, students will be allowed to register for the upcoming year only if their DAC committees have met and filed a formal report within the past twelve months.


DAC Chair

  • Each DAC is headed administratively by a Chair, chosen by the student in consultation with the Dissertation Advisor.
  • The DAC Chair is responsible for overseeing the committee meetings that are convened at least once each semester to review research progress and submitting a report after each DAC meeting.
  • The DAC Chair must be a Harvard or MIT faculty member and must be well acquainted with the academic policies and procedures of DMS. The Dissertation Advisor may not serve as DAC Chair.
  • The DAC chair is responsible for the preparation and submission of the report, which should be signed by all committee members immediately upon conclusion of the meeting.
  • Immediate submission of the DAC report is important, not only so potential problems can be remedied quickly, but so student registration status is not jeopardized.

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