PhD Advising

The PhD program uses a mentoring model of advising in which, first, the temporary advisor and, then, the major professor work closely with students to build their academic program leading to the doctoral degree.  Faculty advisors will assist students to develop a substantive knowledge base and a research base in their chosen field of study.

Temporary Advisor

After acceptance into the program, each PhD student is assigned a temporary faculty advisor whose research interests correspond broadly with the student's interests.  The temporary advisor assists students with selection of required and elective courses for the first year of the program.  The advisor also counsels students on research and curricular issues as they explore and refine their research area and select a major professor.  Incoming PhD students are provided with information about their assigned temporary advisor in their acceptance letter into the program.

Major Professor / Permanent Advisor

Students are required to select a major professor by the end of the fall semester of their second year in the doctoral program.  The major professor becomes the student's permanent advisor and serves as the chair of the preliminary exam and dissertation committees.  Major professors make important contributions to the student's learning process and make critical decisions about the acceptability of the student's proposed research and the quality of the student's work. 

Major Professors:

  • help select appropriate elective courses and required course options in the School of Social Work and in other departments on campus
  • help identify faculty within the School and from other departments who could serve on the preliminary and dissertation committees
Helpful Advising Documents