How to choose a Ph.D. advisor
- Doris M
Now that you have managed to select your Ph.D. major, the next part is in choosing the supervisor who will eventually guide you to success. Yes, it is true you know what you want to study, but there’s more. You need to identify what you intend to base your research on. When you are seeking the guidance of a Ph.D. advisor, it is important that you first create a proposal and be ready before you embark on supervisor hunting. Ideally, you have a specific idea or goal that will characterize what your research will be based on.
Identify your researchIt helps of course to have a master’s degree, or after graduate school, experience to help you narrow down and choose what you want to study. Experience has a way of showing you what you are interested in and this makes it easier to know exactly what will be of interest to research. It also helps to write down a draft list of topics you would be interested in and then make a shortlist to choose from. Base your choice on the topics that have a background in your specialty.
Research professorsWhen you make the final choice on the research topic you want to cover, now is the time to start thinking about which professors would be suitable for your project. Read on their bios, and research on any previously published works. It would also be prudent to learn more about who the professor is in person. Talk to students or friends who have been taught by him or her or a Ph.D. graduate who may have had the professor as a supervisor before.
Also see: Thesis Writing Services
Get a Background
Universities also offer bios on their professors, including the departments they work in and their CVs. Do not hesitate to go through these thoroughly before seeking out a supervisor. It is always better to look for someone who has interests that are aligned with yours. This will make the research experience more enjoyable and interesting when going through research materials for your work. When you have decided on a few professors, get in touch with them to see whether they would be interested in becoming your supervisor. Some students may have interdisciplinary research interests. If you are one of these students, make sure to make it known during your discussion with the potential supervisor. An interdisciplinary research work will definitely need more work, hence it is better to be honest so that the supervisor can also be able to advise you on their level of commitment. Remember that prospective supervisors can be people whom you have had previous interactions with such as an undergraduate or master’s lecturer, even your master’s supervisor.
Make a Schedule
It can also be people from your university department, whom you do not know, but are aware that they have similar interests. Your supervisor can also be an academic from another university on your own. Provided the relationship is beneficial to your studies, and time management must be a priority. This is because, if they are from another university meeting dates and times may clash with your own schedule, and also take in the commuter time. However, this should not be a problem if managed well. It is always good to suggest a face to face meeting to discuss in person and let the professor know you are interested in doing a Ph.D. in his or her area, or if you have a previous supervisory relationship, you could suggest a longer-term relationship as your Ph.D. advisor. If you need more help, you can copy the international officer in a particular department or university, who may be able to assist you with your search for the ‘perfect advisor”.
You can also search for recent publications by professors online at google scholar or any other authoritative works on sites like Google Scholar and academia to help you make certain of your choice.