Your Faculty Advisor

How do I choose an advisor?

There are two main ways to choose an advisor to assist you in your work:
1. You may join a professor in research which he or she is already engaged in. Thus, you and your advisor form a research partnership, sharing ideas and background knowledge. However, it is very important that the thesis work be your own work, in which you have generated the research question and the method of inquiry, as well as the analysis of the results.
2. You may choose a professor who works in your area of interest, but is not working on the same topic. In this situation, you will be working independently, although the thesis advisor will still be a vital resource.

If a project topic emerges from your research, but you do not know a faculty member who would be suitable as an advisor, contact the chair of the appropriate department to assist you in identifying faculty members who might supervise your work. If the department chair is unable to help, contact the All College Thesis Directors.

What should I expect from my faculty advisor?

You may expect that the faculty member who agrees to be your primary advisor will help you to accomplish the following tasks:
1. developing a research plan and understanding of research methodology, including the use of special techniques or equipment,
2. doing an adequate literature search and developing a bibliography,
3. limiting the topic,
4. achieving a good outline, organization, and style
5. preparing the final draft by reading your thesis drafts carefully, critically, and in time for you to make final revisions and
6. helping you prepare for the defense.
In a recent survey of thesis writers, 75% found their primary advisor to be very helpful and supportive, the top category. The majority of thesis writers met with their primary advisor more than fifteen times to discuss the thesis.