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How to choose an advisor


Broad questions

  • Is the faculty member in a position to share his/her time and advice?
  • Does the faculty member have a reputation for producing quality research in a timely manner?
  • Is the faculty member's current research area of interest to you and in keeping with your graduate study goals?

Specific questions

  • Does the professor have the time to take you on as a doctoral student?
  • Does the professor have the interest to take you on as a doctoral student?
  • Is the demeanor/personality appealing and comfortable for your academic style and needs?
  • Are there ongoing research activities in the professor's research group in the area of your doctorial interest?
  • Have former graduate students of the professor had good experiences and completed their programs in a timely fashion?
  • Are there sufficient research grants/projects available under the direction of the professor for you to find a suitable research area for a dissertation topic?
  • Does the professor supervise appropriate space and laboratory equipment for you to have adequate space and equipment?
  • Are there assistantships available to support you as a graduate student and what is the likelihood that they will remain available until you complete your program?
  • Does the professor anticipate being at the university during the entire period of your planned program?
  • Does the professor exhibit the ability to communicate openly, clearly, and effectively from your perspective?
  • Does the professor have personal research papers, articles, books, etc. that you might review to gain additional insight into his/her research area?
  • Does the professor have a history of giving proper attention to protege who work under his/her guidance?
  • Among the faculty, university, and broader communities, is this professor known and respected for his/her research, writing, and publications?
Adapted from: H.G. Adams (1992), Mentoring: An Essential Factor in the Doctoral Process for Minority Students, National Center for Graduate Education for Minorities.