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Advising & Mentoring

Faculty and student advising discussion

Graduate students are encouraged to seek out faculty advice in both formal and informal settings.

VPGE, 2013

Faculty advisors, particularly for doctoral students, play an important role in students' intellectual development.

Every Stanford graduate student is expected to work closely with a faculty advisor. Advisors assist students in planning a program of study to meet degree requirements. Students are also encouraged to seek out mentors in addition to their formal faculty advisor.

Successful advising and mentoring relationships are characterized by clear expectations, open communication, and a willingness to resolve problems. The resources below can facilitate productive relationships between graduate students and their advisors and mentors.

Learn about mentoring resources

Workshops and Events

Setting Expectations and Resolving Conflicts with Your Advisor Workshop

Sitting down together to discuss and set expectations is an excellent way to create a solid foundation for both students and advisors. How to broach such a conversation, however, can be tricky. In this quarterly workshop, students will learn an interest-based approach to setting expectations and preparing for difficult conversations.

Sign up for the next workshop

Management Matters

A three-session workshop focuses on simple principles and guidelines that, once learned, can make the process of managing others enjoyable and effective, and help you succeed in whatever career path you choose.

Learn more about Management Matters

Planning and Discussion Tools

Guidelines for Good Practices in the Graduate Student—Faculty Advisor Relationship

Review and implement behaviors and practices that help students and faculty establish successful advising relationships.

Download Advisor Guidelines

Annual Doctoral Student Degree and Career Progress Meeting Worksheet

Advisors and students are encouraged to meet annually to take stock, discuss short- and long-term goals, and develop specific plans. This customizable worksheet, endorsed by the Committee on Graduate Studies, can help facilitate such conversations.

Download Career Progress Worksheet

Student-Advisor Expectation Scales

Use this tool to discuss, define, and align expectations in the student—faculty advising relationship. This resource is not prescriptive; rather, it is meant to assist students and faculty in establishing clear and realistic expectations in the advising relationship.

Download Student-Advisor Expectations Scales

Additional Resources

There are many articles and tools out there to help guide students and faculty advising relationships; below are just a few examples.

Download What Departments Can Do to Promote Successful Doctoral Degree Completion

Download Resources on Doctoral Student Advising

Challenges and Conflicts

Even in the best advising and mentoring relationships, conflicts may arise.

See Problem Solving & Crisis Intervention