Advisement and Plan of Study

Graduate success begins with strong advising and a plan of study that supports each student’s interests and goals.

Text Block

Choosing an Advisor

If you did not identify an advisor in the admission process, ask your department to assign a temporary advisor in your first semester. Most departments hold mandatory advising sessions as a part of their department orientation. You can also conduct an online search of the faculty websites. Taking a course taught by a faculty member in an area of interest to you is also a good idea. Speak with current students, look for advisees past and present, and ask others in the department about faculty you're interested in working with. Set up a meeting with the professor, explore research interests, and ask whether the professor is willing to act as your advisor.

We recommend that you locate an advisor by the end of your first semester.

Later, if you would like to change your advisor, handle it professionally. Set up a meeting with your current advisor and communicate your new goals and interests. Tell him or her about your new advis0r and why you believe the association is a better fit for you academically.

Accordion

Typical Academic Progress of a Doctoral Student

Please see department for your program-specific timeline.

Year 1
Year 2
Year 3
Year 4 – completion of degree
Accordion

Typical Academic Progress of a Master's Student

Please see department for your program-specific timeline.

Year 1
Year 2
Text Block

Plan of Study

To ensure your graduate program is in accord with your maturing capacities and aims, you will maintain, with your advisor’s assistance, a Plan of Study (POS). This document is a complete list of your courses and credits; past courses should match your transcript, and future courses should keep you on track to meet your degree requirements on schedule. Your Plan of Study requires the approval of your advisor, Graduate Program Director, and the Office of Graduate Education; it should be prepared on the Plan of Study form provided by the Office of Graduate Education. After approval by your advisor and Graduate Program Director, your department will transmit the original Plan of Study to the Office of Graduate Education for final review. Once approved by the Office of Graduate Education, the POS will be forwarded to the Registrar's office with a copy to the department.

  • Doctoral and master's students are required to have a current Plan of Study on file with the Office of Graduate Education.
  • All students are also required to complete a new Plan of Study if they change their course schedule or credit load at any point during the year.
File Collection

Doctoral Student Yearly Review

The Doctoral Student Yearly Review (DSYR) formalizes what should be an ongoing conversation between you and your adviser about your progress toward degree. Each year you will be asked to reflect on your major accomplishments and set new goals for the year ahead. SMART goals—i.e., goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound—are most helpful in planning a successful year. The DSYR will also ask you to project the dates for your qualifying exam, the formation of your doctoral committee, candidacy exam, and expected graduation. You and your adviser should meet to discuss your progress, goals, and degree schedule, using the DSYR as a guide. Submit your completed DSYR to the Office of Graduate Education by the deadline announced each year.