Graduate School

Choosing an Advisor

 Faculty advising a student

All graduate students must have an advisor that meets the requirements of the Graduate School. 

Initially, students may be advised by the graduate program director for their degree program. Generally, the graduate program director serves as the advisor for master’s students pursuing a coursework option.  Students must have an advisor prior to the end of the second academic-year semester in residence or a registration hold will be placed on their account.

Role of an advisor

An advisor:

  • provides advice about course selection,
  • supervises student research (for students completing a dissertation, thesis, or report) and guides them to timely completion, 
  • discusses with students about their educational and professional goals and potential career paths, and
  • plays an active role in the professional development of students.

Advisor requirements

All faculty who are the sole advisor for a graduate student must have full Graduate Faculty Status and hold a regular or affiliated appointment in the student’s administrative home department or college. For interdisciplinary graduate programs, the advisor must be associated with the graduate program.

A student may choose to have two co-advisors. For those cases where two co-advisors are chosen, at least one advisor must have full Graduate Faculty Status and hold a regular or affiliated appointment in the student’s administrative home department or college. For interdisciplinary graduate programs, at least one faculty member must be associated with the graduate program.

Appointing and changing advisors

The advisor or co-advisors are recommended to the dean of the Graduate School by the graduate program using the Advisor and Committee Recommendation form.

 If an advisor change is necessary, students should consult with their graduate program director or graduate program handbook to determine the procedure to follow. Once a new advisor has been selected, students must submit a revised Advisor and Committee Recommendation form to the Graduate School.

 Advisors without full Graduate Faculty Status must submit the appointment to Graduate Faculty Status form for each advisee.

Ensuring Independence of Opinions in Evaluation of Graduate Students

The University is committed to protecting the educational interests of students and maintaining an open and transparent environment in the evaluation of students. Faculty in close personal relationships should not be members of the same graduate student’s committee. If there are compelling reasons such that two (or more) faculty in a close personal relationship are recommended as members of a student’s committee, the relationship must be disclosed during committee formation (or when advisors are named if the co-advisors are the faculty in the relationship), a rationale for including these faculty on the committee must be included, and a management plan must be developed for the committee.

Related policies

Ensuring Independence of Opinions in Evaluation of Graduate Students - Graduate School Policy

Graduate Faculty Status - Senate Policy 711.1