Graduate Handbook - Advisors

The Role of the Advisor

Your advisor helps you plan your course of study and monitors your progress in the program. Your advisor can be helpful as you choose courses to take each semester and choose the topic of your master's or dissertation project. Your advisor should be knowledgeable about your area of interest and someone with whom you can work productively and professionally. Talk to your advisor at least twice a semester about your goals and progress.

Keep in mind that faculty members must focus on preparing and teaching courses, researching and publishing, and guiding students with their own research. Faculty members also serve as advisors for many students at the same time. When you have specific questions about requirements or procedures concerning the graduate program, contact your plan coordinator or the Graduate Program Assistant first. They should be able to answer routine inquiries and provide you with information or forms that will answer most of your questions. This will save valuable time for you and your advisor to discuss research problems and intellectual issues pertaining to your area of study.

Getting an Advisor

You are assigned an advisor (the graduate coordinator of your concentration) during your first semester as a graduate student at UWM. If you do not have an advisor or do not know who your advisor is, contact the Associate Chair for Graduate Studies.

As your interests become focused and you progress through your program, you are encouraged to select an advisor whose scholarly interests are similar to your own. When choosing an advisor, ask the faculty member you want to work with if he or she is willing to be your advisor. Explain the reasons for your request. If the faculty member agrees, inform the Associate Chair for Graduate Studies to make sure there are no conflicts. You also need to let your old advisor know about the change.

Choose an Advisor:

  • Who publishes in his/her field
  • With whom you can speak freely
  • Who engages in intellectual inquiry
  • Who is enthusiastic and readily offers help
  • Who you can respect as a scholar/researcher