Who will be my academic advisor?
When you are admitted to the program, you will be assigned to the Director of Graduate Studies as your academic advisor for the first semester. You are free to change advisors at any time during your studies, and as often as you wish. We encourage you to choose an advisor whose interests are compatible with your own and with whom you are personally comfortable. The purpose of our advising system is to allow you to develop a relationship of trust with a faculty member who can provide you with academic, professional, and personal support when you need it.
Does my academic advisor have to be the same person as my dissertation supervisor?
No. As a matter of fact, we encourage you to choose different persons for these very different functions. Given the relatively small size of our department, however, it is not unusual for the same faculty member to serve in both capacities for an individual student.
So what is the difference in the functions of the academic advisor and the dissertation supervisor?
The academic advisor helps you plan your courses and provides general support and supervision of your academic and personal progress in the program. In choosing an academic advisor, it is less important to find someone who shares your research interests than it is to find someone who is accessible and with whom you can speak comfortably and freely.
The dissertation supervisor serves as guide and mentor for your dissertation research, as advocate for your project within the department, and ultimately as the principal critic and editor of your dissertation. You should choose a supervisor whose expertise matches your research interests as closely as possible and whose working style is compatible with your own.