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Obtaining  Ph.D.

Choosing a Committee/Advisor

These online resources and articles offer advice about how to choose a committee/advisor, what questions to ask, how to set expectations and resolve common problems, and more.  Check through our collection of Promising Practices on Mentoring to see if your institution offers any innovative mentoring programs.  We rely on institutions' submissions to keep our collect of Promising Practices updated: if your institution has innovative mentoring practices but isn't represented here, they can be submitted at  


The Advisor-Advisee Relationship  Robert Gross, a professor of American studies, offers a statement outlining the obligations of both parties in the adviser-advisee relationship.


Choosing a Graduate Advisor (Indiana University)  Whom to look for and whom to avoid, acquiring information about potential advisors, and selecting a research project.

Choosing the Right Research Advisor (The Chronicle of Higher Education)  Richard Reis writes about advising styles, what to look for in an advisor, and how to find the right advisor.

Dissertation Advisor: User's Manual (ASGS)  Gives advice about setting expectations and resolving problems with one's dissertation advisor.

Graduate School Survival Guide (Stanford University)  Includes advice on what to look for in a good advisor, mentor or committee member, and how to get the most out of that relationship.

How to Be a Good Graduate Student (Indiana University) This series of linked essays aims to raise awareness on both sides of the advisor-student relationship as to what the expectations should be for this relationship, what a graduate student should expect to accomplish, common problems, and where to go if the advisor is not forthcoming.

How to Get the Mentoring You Want (Rackham School of Graduate Studies at the University of Michigan)  This online handbook covers developing relationships with mentors, how to get the most from those relationships, and mentoring issues within a diverse community.

Ph.D. Information (University of Queensland)  Offers suggestions for establishing a relationship with an advisor, setting expectations, getting and using feedback, handling disagreements, and more.

Supervisory Practices: Graduate Student Expectations (University of Toronto)  Offers information on selecting a supervisor and committee, supervisory guidelines for different fields, and a guide for Monitoring the Progress of Ph.D. Students.

Promising Practices on Mentoring


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