Mentoring and Advising

The graduate advisor, mentors, and graduate student mentees each have responsibilities in monitoring and reporting on academic progress to help ensure the success of students.

photo of Professor Roberta Millstein and student

One of the central goals of the Department of Philosophy's graduate program is to help our graduate students to succeed by working closely with them and offering advice and assistance. Our objectives are:

  1. to help our students understand the requirements for the degree
  2. to render guidance and advice to our students at each stage of the program, including while they are writing the dissertation
  3. to assist in their professional development

These graduate program mentoring guidelines supplement the Graduate Studies policy 

Faculty mentor

The graduate advisor (GA) assigns a faculty mentor to incoming students early in the fall quarter of their first year in the program. Unless the student asks the GA to assign someone else, this initial mentor will remain as the student's mentor until the student chooses a tentative dissertation supervisor and officially informs the GA of this choice. This should happen at the latest at the end of the fall quarter of the student's third year in the program.

The tentative dissertation supervisor will remain as the student's mentor until replaced by the student's dissertation supervisor after the student's qualifying examination. The graduate advisor oversees and advises mentors.

Mentors should meet at least twice each quarter with each student for whom they are responsible, in order to discuss the student's progress. Mentors coordinate these meetings and should prepare for them by maintaining familiarity with each student's progress. One topic for discussion should be the student's plans for the upcoming quarter and what the student needs to do in order to make normal progress.

Pre-registration meetings

Each quarter, before a student registers for courses, the GA must review the list of courses the student intends to take, and formally endorse the list with a signature. The student is responsible for presenting this list to the GA. If a student does not do so, the GA should alert the mentor to discuss that with the student.

Mentors are responsible for giving pragmatic advice to their students about the preparation of the second-year paper, especially about the choice of paper topic and about the graduate program's expectations for the paper.

Annual progress review meeting

At the annual spring progress review meeting, each mentor is responsible for presenting a detailed account of the progress of the students they oversee. The mentor's report should take into account the relevant documentation that is on file or available in the department, including the student's transcript, reports on the student's seminar performance, reports on the student's teaching, and the student's announced goals.

Promptly after the annual spring meeting, the graduate advisor writes a detailed report about each student's progress. This report is sent to the student. Soon afterward, and at the beginning of the fall quarter at the latest, mentors should meet with their students to discuss and review the GA's annual report of their progress.