Questions about choosing a thesis advisor
In addition to finding a match to your research interests, it is important to find an advisor whose advising style fits your work preferences. It may be helpful to ask a potential advisor the following questions:
How would you describe your advising style?
Are students in your group directly advised by you, or are they typically supervised by a senior member of the group?
How often do you meet with your students, and in what format?
What are your expectations for the PhD degree?
What opportunities are there in your group to practice science writing/presentation skills?
How do you feel about graduate student involvement in mentoring/outreach activities?
How do you typically provide feedback to students on their research progress?
Questions about academic progress
Any time you are concerned about your research progress, the best approach is to have an honest discussion with your research advisor. Most advisors are eager to help students who show an interest in improving. Other sources of valuable feedback are your thesis committee members and the option representative.
Understandably, mental health issues can impact academic progress. The graduate program has some guidelines about taking time off to manage health problems. If you have a disability that requires accommodation, please discuss it with the CASS coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Students experiencing severe mental health issues for a prolonged period should discuss with their advisor about taking a medical leave of absence. These discussions can benefit from input from the Counseling Center, Student Wellness Services, the CARE team, and the Graduate Studies Office.
If a student fails to make academic progress, the advisor is expected to work with the student to improve the situation and to provide reasonable milestones. If such milestones are unmet and academic progress is unsatisfactory for an extended period, the advisor may decide to remove the student from the research group. Termination from the graduate program is a decision made at the option level. Depending on the situation, the student may be able to join another research group to continue graduate studies.
Students who receive a failing grade in a research course should immediately discuss with their advisor about their progress and how improvements can be made. It is possible to continue in the graduate program after a failing grade, but that is at the discretion of the advisor and option.