TAC Policy for Residents


TAC meeting purpose:

  • Monitor the degree candidate’s progress prior to writing a thesis.
  • Provide critical input and advice that will facilitate the candidate’s completion of their MS thesis in a timely manner.
  • Provide additional mentorship to the candidate as needed. TAC membership requires approval from the Graduate Program Director and Director of the Graduate Education Division and will include:
    • At least three members (including the candidate’s primary research advisor) with expertise in one or more aspects of the student’s project and who are familiar with the requirements of the graduate program for completion of a MS thesis. Residents (in consultation with their faculty advisor and the program director) may request specific faculty to serve on their TAC.
  • At least two members must be members of the Detroit Mercy Dental Graduate Division Faculty.
  • One member may be from outside the Detroit Mercy Dental Graduate Division Faculty, this member may be either internal or external to the Detroit Mercy Dental. In such cases the Program Director must provide a brief CV of the proposed member and a short explanation of how the proposed member will provide expertise and/or professional contribution to the committee to the Director of the Graduate Education Division. The Director of the Graduate Education Division approves such requests.
  • One member, who is a member of the Detroit Mercy Dental Graduate Division Faculty, who has significant experience mentoring graduate students and who has served on a TAC before will serve as the TAC chair. The TAC chair may be the candidate’s primary research advisor.
  • Substitutions of the committee members are permitted as long as the new committee members are approved by the Program Director and the Director of the Graduate Education Division. Following a change, the TAC composition will still adhere to the above requirements. Additional members can be added after the committee has been approved by the Graduate Division of Detroit Mercy Dental, but these additions must be approved by the Director of the Graduate Education.
  • A final general examination or defense of the thesis is required of all candidates for the MS degree. MS student oral examination may also include any culminating or comprehensive oral examination in addition to the thesis defense required for graduation from a master program.
  • Typically, TAC members will become the student’s Oral Exam Committee. The Oral Exam Committee must include at least one member from outside the candidate’s program. The chair of the Oral Exam Committee must be the chair of the TAC unless he is also the resident’s primary research advisor. In that case the chair of the Oral Exam Committee must be someone other than that candidate’s primary research advisor.


TAC meeting format

  • Prior to a TAC meeting, candidates will submit a written summary of their recent work and prior TAC meeting summaries, to the committee members. For residents who have just begun their MS-thesis research, this summary can consist of an outline of proposed aims. For more advanced candidates, this summary should include the goals identified by the committee at their previous TAC meeting, and a description of the student’s work to address these goals.
  • Thesis subjects may include the following but not limited to: Systematic reviews, meta-analyses, clinical trial, retrospective study, case series, case report, literature review, and hypothesis driven research etc. Resident thesis may involve multiple projects.
  • Graduate Periodontics requires thesis defense and publication of a manuscript in a peer reviewed journal to obtain the Master’s degree. Graduate Endodontics and Graduate Orthodontics require thesis defense and writing a manuscript in a publishable format to obtain the Master’s degree.
  • The advisor should be prepared to provide an evaluative summary of the student’s progress at the start of the meeting. Individual graduate programs also have the option of requiring advisors to provide a brief written summary of their student’s progress, prior to a TAC meeting. However, the advisor’s evaluation of student progress will be discussed as part of the TAC meeting itself.
  • For each TAC meeting, candidates should prepare an organized presentation of their recent progress, including a summary of the goals outlined by the TAC during their previous meeting; a discussion of their accomplishments and any problems encountered; and a summary of the directions they intend to pursue during the subsequent six months.
  • After each TAC meeting, a short report that summarizes the issues raised and suggestions offered during the meeting should be prepared by the candidate in consultation with the TAC chair and shared with the TAC for review, revision and approval. TAC chairs are responsible for distributing revised copies of the TAC summary to the student, the TAC, the Graduate Program Director, and the Graduate Division Office. The summary report should include:
    • Date and present and absent TAC members
    • Summary of the candidate’s progress since the previous TAC meeting
    • Summary of any significant problems or issues that need to be addressed and potential solutions
    • Summary of what the student should attempt to accomplish in the next 6 months
    • When appropriate, summary of the student’s future plans/career goals
    • Estimated of date of completion
    • Date when TAC agreed that the student is ready to write their thesis.

TAC meeting frequency

  • All candidates must identify their primary research advisor and form their TAC within seven months of matriculating into their graduate program and then meet with their TAC at least once every six months. Additional meetings may be scheduled by the student or by members of a TAC to ensure the student’s progress towards their MS thesis.
  • Individual graduate programs should establish a tracking mechanism to ensure that all students meet with their TAC at least every 6 months, and that TAC reports are completed in a timely manner.
  • Failure by a student to meet with their TAC at least every six months may be considered “failure to progress” and could result in the placement of the student on academic probation.
  • The set date for defense must allow adequate time for publications