How to choose an advisor
Howard G. Adams and Ashwin Ram
- 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?
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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.