Committee Chair / Thesis Adviser:

"1) Compatibility.It is really important that you and your advisor get along well; grad school is difficult enough without having a chilly (or worse, hostile) relationship with your advisor. The best time to figure this out is BEFORE you ask someone if they'll work with you. One way to determine this is by taking a course with the person, and seeing how you interact when you go to office hours to ask questions. It goes without saying that you should make sure you do a good job in the class, because if you do poorly, it is likely that the potential advisor will not be interested in taking you on as a student.

Thesis advisors may also find useful information on the following webpages:

Students admitted through the direct admission mechanism will not participate in labratory rotations, but will begin work in the thesis advisor's labratory from the initiation of graduate study. Financial responsibility for the support of the direct admission Microbiology students rests with the thesis advisor.


Committee Chair / Thesis Adviser:

Don't thesis advisers have a duty to both encourage candidates to publish...


Choosing a thesis adviser: tactic 4

Finally, you can interview past graduates who have some experience of working with your potential thesis advisor.

Read our next article if you want to know who a is.


Choosing a thesis advisor is the most important decision of your life--perhaps more important than choosing a spouse--because your choice affects everything you will do in your career. Indeed, choosing an advisor is similar to getting married: it is making a long-term commitment. Unlike marriage, however, a good advising relationship should end successfully within a few years. Also, unlike husband and wife, the advisor and student do not start as equals. At first, the relationship is essentially an apprenticeship. But although you start as an apprentice, ideally, you should end as a colleague.Consider working with two advisors. If you are interested in an interdisciplinary project, then you could engage two official advisors, one in each discipline. Even if you choose only one official advisor, you may occasionally seek advice from a second professor, who can provide an alternate perspective. Some departments institutionalize this practice by requiring that the chair of a doctoral committee be different from the thesis advisor. Discuss these arrangements with both professors openly, to minimize possible misunderstandings about each professor's role.