The Role of the Graduate Adviser
As soon as a prospective graduate student is accepted into the M.F.A. program of study, the Director of Graduate Studies assigns that student an adviser based on the student’s intended area of interest and the availability of faculty. Students are asked to contact their adviser when they are admitted. At the initial meeting, advisers should make sure that students have the official description of their program’s requirements. Each semester advisers should meet with students to plan their courses of study for the following semester.
Meeting Program Requirements and Asking for Exceptions
Advisers should make sure that students understand the requirements that must be fulfilled for their emphasis. If students want to do something different from the normal requirements, they should seek advice from their adviser and gain support for the change. To depart from normal requirements, students petition the Graduate Studies Committee through the Director of Graduate Studies and submit a Program of Study Change form. Advisers do not have the authority to approve special courses of study or to waive or substitute any requirements.
Application for Admission to Candidacy (Program of Study)
As soon as the student has decided what his or her courses will be, the student needs to file an Program of Study for Master’s Students with the Graduate School, listing courses taken and courses to be taken. The adviser approves and signs the form, as does the department head. If necessary, this plan can be revised subsequently. The Graduate School requests that the application be filed when the student has completed 12 credits towards the M.F.A. Advisers should be sure students have filed this form as they enter the third semester as a full-time student. The form must be in place and accurate for final oral examinations to take place. The student must make sure the form is filed with both the Graduate School and the English Department.
As students proceed through their course of study, they may continue to work with the initial adviser selected by the Director of Graduate Studies or they may elect to work with a new adviser. Students are not obligated to continue working with the adviser initially assigned, and faculty are not obligated to direct theses nor chair examination committees for the students they advise. Customarily, the thesis director or examination committee chair assumes the role of the adviser. If or when students elect to change advisers, they need to secure the permission of the new adviser, and inform the old adviser and the Director of Graduate Studies in writing. A copy of the Change of Advisor Form should go into the student’s file. It is important that the Director of Graduate Studies and the Graduate Secretary know who each student’s adviser is.