Doctoral advisor

Last updated

A doctoral advisor (also dissertation director, dissertation advisor; or doctoral supervisor) is a member of a university faculty whose role is to guide graduate students who are candidates for a doctorate, helping them select coursework, as well as shaping, refining and directing the students' choice of sub-discipline in which they will be examined or on which they will write a dissertation. [1] Students generally choose advisors based on their areas of interest within their discipline, their desire to work closely with particular graduate faculty, and the willingness and availability of those faculty to work with them.

In some countries, the student's advisor is the chair of the dissertation committee or the examination committee. In some cases, though, the person who serves those roles may be different from the faculty member who has most closely advised the student. For instance, in the Dutch academic system, only full professors (hoogleraren) and associate professors (since 2017) have the "ius promovendi", the right to chair doctoral examinations. Students who have been advised by lower-ranked faculty members will have a full or associate professor as their official advisor (or promotor) and their actual advisor as co-promotor. [2] In other countries, such as Spain, the doctoral advisor has the role of a mentor, but is not allowed to form part of the examination committee. This is a body of five experts independently selected by the rectorate among ten candidates proposed by the university's department.

An academic genealogy may be traced based on the student's doctoral advisors, going up and down the lines of academic "descent" in a manner analogous to a traditional genealogy.

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Postgraduate education</span> Phase of higher education

Postgraduate education, graduate education, or graduate school consists of academic or professional degrees, certificates, diplomas, or other qualifications usually pursued by post-secondary students who have earned an undergraduate (bachelor's) degree.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Doctorate</span> Academic or professional degree

A doctorate or doctoral degree is a postgraduate academic degree awarded by universities and some other educational institutions, derived from the ancient formalism licentia docendi.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Thesis</span> Document submitted in support of candidature for an academic degree

A thesis, or dissertation, is a document submitted in support of candidature for an academic degree or professional qualification presenting the author's research and findings. In some contexts, the word thesis or a cognate is used for part of a bachelor's or master's course, while dissertation is normally applied to a doctorate. This is the typical arrangement in American English. In other contexts, such as within most institutions of the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland, the reverse is true. The term graduate thesis is sometimes used to refer to both master's theses and doctoral dissertations.

Habilitation is the highest university degree, or the procedure by which it is achieved, in many European and non-English-speaking countries. The candidate fulfills a university's set criteria of excellence in research, teaching and further education, usually including a dissertation. The degree, sometimes abbreviated Dr. habil. or PD or D.Sc., is often a qualification for full professorship in those countries. The degree conferral is usually accompanied by a public oral defence event with one or more opponents. Habilitation is usually awarded 5–15 years after a PhD degree or its equivalent. Although in some countries Doctor of Sciences degree correlates with a position of Docent, it is closer in practice to the position of a Full Professor in the USA.

The Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) or (DrBA) is a terminal degree in business administration. The DBA is classified as a research doctorate or professional doctorate depending on the granting university and country where the degree was awarded. Academically, the DBA is awarded based on advanced study, examinations, project work, and advanced research in the field of business administration.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Comprehensive examination</span>

In higher education, a comprehensive examination, often abbreviated as "comps", is a specific type of examination that must be completed by graduate students in some disciplines and courses of study, and also by undergraduate students in some institutions and departments. Unlike final examinations, comprehensive examinations are not linked to any particular course, but rather test knowledge across one or more general fields of study.

The term prelim generally refers to an examination that qualifies a student to continue studies at a higher level, and/or allow the student to comprehend their studies and see how prepared they are for an upcoming examination. It can also act as a gauge on how knowledgeable one is within the chosen subject.

The Doctor of Public Administration (D.P.A.) is a terminal applied-research doctoral degree in the field of public administration (a part of public service). The D.P.A. requires significant coursework beyond the masters level and a dissertation that contributes to theory or practice. Upon successful completion, the title of "Doctor" is awarded and the post-nominal letters of D.P.A. or DPA can be used.

A Master of Research degree is an internationally recognised advanced postgraduate research degree in England, Singapore, Australia and Hong Kong. In most cases, the degree is designed to prepare students for doctoral research. Increasingly, the degree may be useful for students considering careers outside of academia, where high-level research skills are valued but a doctoral qualification is not required.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Academic genealogy</span> Links between academics based on mentorships

An academic genealogy organizes a family tree of scientists and scholars according to mentoring relationships, often in the form of dissertation supervision relationships, and not according to genetic relationships as in conventional genealogy. Since the term academic genealogy has now developed this specific meaning, its additional use to describe a more academic approach to conventional genealogy would be ambiguous, so the description scholarly genealogy is now generally used in the latter context.

A magister degree is an academic degree used in various systems of higher education.

Professors in the United States commonly occupy any of several positions of teaching and research within a college or university. In the U.S., the word "professor" is often used to refer to anyone who teaches at a college of university level at any academic rank. This usage differs from the predominant usage of the word professor in other countries, where the unqualified word "professor" only refers to "full professors". Other tenure-track faculty positions include assistant professor and associate professor (mid-level). Other teaching-focused positions that use the term "professor" include Clinical Professor, Professor of Practice, and Teaching Professor. Most faculty with titles of "Lecturer" and "Instructor" in the U.S. are not eligible for tenure, though they are still often referred to as "professors" in a general sense and as a courtesy form of address. Non-tenure-track positions may be full or part time, although the qualifier "adjunct" always denotes part-time.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Professor</span> Academic title at universities and other educational institutions

Professor is an academic rank at universities and other post-secondary education and research institutions in most countries. Literally, professor derives from Latin as a "person who professes". Professors are usually experts in their field and teachers of the highest rank.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Doctor of Philosophy</span> Postgraduate academic degree awarded by most universities worldwide

A Doctor of Philosophy is the most common degree at the highest academic level, awarded following a course of study and research. The degree is abbreviated PhD, from the Latin Philosophiae Doctor, pronounced as three separate letters. The abbreviation DPhil, from the English 'Doctor of Philosophy', is used by a small number of British and Commonwealth universities, including Oxford, formerly York, and Sussex, as the abbreviation for degrees from those institutions. PhDs are awarded for programs across the whole breadth of academic fields. Because it is an earned research degree, those studying for a PhD are required to produce original research that expands the boundaries of knowledge, normally in the form of a dissertation, and defend their work before a panel of other experts in the field. The completion of a PhD is typically required for employment as a university professor, researcher, or scientist in many fields.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Doctor of Law</span> Doctoral degree in law

A Doctor of Law is a degree in law. The application of the term varies from country to country and includes degrees such as the Doctor of Juridical Science, Juris Doctor (J.D.), Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.), and Legum Doctor (LL.D.).

Academic ranks in Canada are the titles, relative importance and power of professors, researchers, and administrative personnel held in academia.

Academic ranks in Spain are the titles, relative importance and authority of professors, researchers, and administrative personnel held in academia.

Academic ranks in Russia are the conferred titles, indicating relative importance and power of professors, researchers, and administrative personnel in Russian academia and scientific institutions. The rank “certifies” the demonstrated ability of an individual to function in the specific academic position(s).

In the United States, the PhD degree is the highest academic degree awarded by universities in most fields of study. American students typically undergo a series of three phases in the course of their work toward the PhD degree. The first phase consists of coursework in the student's field of study and requires one to three years to complete. This often is followed by a preliminary, a comprehensive examination, or a series of cumulative examinations where the emphasis is on breadth rather than depth of knowledge. The student is often later required to pass oral and written examinations in the field of specialization within the discipline, and here, depth is emphasized. After the comprehensive examination the student is a "PhD Candidate", which is the academic equivalent of a master's degree. Some universities will award terminal Master's for students who drop out of the PhD program at this stage, and some, like Columbia University and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, award a Master's en route to the PhD. Some PhD programs require the candidate to successfully complete requirements in pedagogy or applied science.

Susan Elizabeth Martonosi is an American mathematician who works at Harvey Mudd College as the Joseph B. Platt Professor of Mathematics and as the director of the Global Clinic Program at Harvey Mudd. Her research studies operations research, game theory, social networks, and their applications to counter-terrorism, epidemiology, and sports analytics.


  1. Miles Taft Bryant (2004), The portable dissertation advisor, Corwin Press, pp.  9–11, ISBN   978-0-7619-4696-0 .
  2. VSNY Guidelines (.pdf file). Retrieved 13 December 2019.