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Thesis Advising

Student and faculty talking

The progress of all continuing students is assessed by the faculty each fall, and students will consult with their advisers about their progress and planning of their studies and research. Students receive help and advice not only from their thesis adviser and other faculty mentors, but also whenever needed from the option representative and the executive officer. 

Option representative

For the first 1-2 years of study, or until you find a research advisor, the graduate option representative serves as the primary advisor.  You are expected to meet with the option rep approximately quarterly for the first year of study. The option rep is resource for you to discuss courses, qualifying exam preparations, transition to grad school, research interests, finding a research advisor, etc.

Research advisor

Your research advisor is your primary mentor through your PhD research. Starting in the first year, and especially during the summer after the first year, you are encouraged to explore potential faculty mentors by registering for reading units (Ma 290) with them. You are expected to identify a member of the faculty who agrees to serve as your thesis adviser by the fall term of your second year of study. 

Thesis Advisory Committee

The Thesis Advisory Committee (TAC) reviews your research progress and provides feedback and guidance towards completion of your degree. You and your TAC will meet annually between the candidacy exam and final thesis defense. For continuity in advising, it is recommended that the TAC members are the same as the candidacy committee and defense committee, but you may propose variations or changes at any time to the option representative.