How to Find a PhD or MA Advisor

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  1. Thanks for the tip and the context! This is exactly the kind of specific guidance I need to begin evaluating potential advisors! And I love the ProQuest databases, so I am excited to be pointed toward one specifically for thesis and dissertation projects.
    – B

  2. This is great. I find myself being attracted by faculty who have a wide array of these “approaches to scholarship” for the sake of thinking that maybe that respective approach has something to say about my substantive research interest– might not know much about a specific approach, but it feels like there would be something useful to knowing more about it. Is this something that can get out of hand in terms of how it might benefit my potential dissertation? Should I really try and hone in a specific method/approach/school of thought when it comes to picking an advisor? Thanks for these videos by the way!

    1. I see what you mean. The advice I tend to give is: when it comes to a committee or a primary advisor, it’s important to distinguish what exactly you’re hoping to get out of the advising relationship. There is more than one way to answer that question, though. It might hardcore subject expertise, where you are in a field so specialized that you simply need to work with someone who knows *exactly* the subfield you’re concerned with. But it can also be less a matter of subject expertise than methodological approach. I don’t (personally) think that one should obsess too much over finding the “perfect” match, or to assume that the mentoring relationship will ever be able to address all one’s needs; and that one should always remember that they will also (or should also) establish informal mentorship relationships with other senior scholars besides those who are serving in a formal capacity on their committees. Some of the most influential mentors to me in grad school (at Columbia) were at the University of Washington, Harvard, Rutgers, and elsewhere. I hope that helps, but please let me know if I didn’t fully understand your point!

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