Choosing a Faculty Member

Choosing a faculty member to work with during your scholarly career is one of the most important decisions you will make.

Master’s Degree Advisor

When you are admitted to a master's degree program, an intake advisor is assigned to you. Before completing 12 credit hours, you should select a permanent advisor (major professor) and committee member(s) who will assist you in planning your program. Your intake advisor may serve in the permanent role, or you may choose another faculty member.

Master’s Degree Committee

Your committee should consist of a minimum of three faculty members for Plan A and two faculty members for Plan B, including your academic advisor. The committee assists you in planning your program of study by providing guidance for course selection. A program planning meeting is required and is considered an important session during which the committee members work with you to formulate a program to meet your goals. After planning your program of study, you should submit it to the committee members and department chairperson or graduate program director for final approval.

Doctoral Degree Advisor

An intake advisor is designated to counsel you during the first semester. You should select a permanent academic advisor before the completion of two semesters of study. The faculty member who guides the dissertation may be either the academic advisor or another member of the committee. The intake advisor often becomes the permanent advisor, but you have the option to select an alternative.

Doctoral Degree Committee

A Ph.D. program of study is planned by you and a committee composed of at least four Michigan State University regular faculty members, one of whom is designated as a major professor. The Ph.D. committee is appointed to direct your work and its membership must be approved by the Graduate Program Director. For additional details on related University policy, see the Academic Programs Catalog