How to get good advising: information about the grad student - advisor relationship

Your relationship with your advisor is vital to your professional success and will remain important throughout your career.  Your advisor should be someone you trust and deeply respect, whose research vision inspires you, whose working style and personality mesh well with yours, who supports your professional goals, and who elicits your best in terms of high quality research, creativity and productivity, and sense of well-being. Furthermore, your advisor opens the door for you into the broader computer science research community. 

Intended Audience

These pages offer basic guidance needed to develop a positive, productive working relationship with your advisor(s). It also provides tips and techniques for making a smooth transition from grad newbie to professional researcher. 

Other Resources

The grad advising team provides administrative guidance and compassionate support to help you successfully navigate all aspects of the Ph.D. program. If you aren’t sure who to talk to about an issue, we recommend that you start with them. Additional resources you may wish to consult during your time here: 

Disclaimer: The norms and research styles in different research areas vary significantly, and each advisor and student is unique. Choose the advice that best suits you and your situation. 

* This list was compiled for the seminar “The Tao of Phd: Thriving in the Allen School Graduate Program”, designed for 1st and 2nd year PhD students, but many of these resources are relevant throughout grad school.


This document was written by Tom Anderson, Joe Eckert, Michael Ernst, Anna Karlin, Naveena Karusala, Katie Lim, Pratyush Patel, and Peter West, with feedback from other members of the Allen School community and editing by Sandy Kaplan.