Thesis advisors may also find useful information on the following webpages:
How frequently will you meet with the professor? The most common problem in the humanities and social sciences is insufficiently frequent contact with the advisor. I meet with each of my own thesis students individually for one hour each week, in addition to a weekly group meeting.
How will decisions on co-authorship of papers be made? In engineering and natural sciences, co-authorship is common, but practices vary by discipline. Sometimes, the advisor's name always goes last. Sometimes, the order of names is alphabetical. Sometimes, the first author is the person whose contribution was greatest.
Committee Chair / Thesis Adviser:
Academic advisors are simple so we'll dispose of them first. Everygraduate student is assigned a faculty member as academic advisor,generally in his or her area, though it depends on current advisorloads. The function of the academic advisor is to represent thedepartment to you: to tell you what the official requirements are, toget on your case if you are late satisfying them, and to OK your classschedule. If all goes well, you only have to see your academic advisorin that capacity twice a year on registration day. On the other hand,if you are having difficulties, your academic advisor may be able to actas advocate for you, either in representing you to the department or inproviding pointers to sources of assistance.Many AI faculty members are quite eccentric people. The grad studentslikewise. The advisor-advisee relationship is necessarily personal, andyour personality quirks and your advisor's must fit well enough that youcan get work done together.The thesis advisor is the person who supervises your research. Yourchoice of thesis advisor is the most important decision you'll make as agraduate student, more important than that of thesis topic area. To a significant extent, AI is learned by apprenticeship. There is alot of informal knowledge both of technical aspects of the field and ofthe research process that is not published anywhere.Is the advisor willing and able to promote your work atconferences and the like? This is part of his or her job, and can makea big difference for your career.Will the advisor fight the system for you? Some advisors can keepthe department and other hostile entities off your back. The systemworks against certain sorts of students (notably women and eccentrics),so this can be very important.Choosing a thesis advisor is the most important decision of your life--perhaps more important than choosing a spouse--because your choice affects everything you will do in your career. Indeed, choosing an advisor is similar to getting married: it is making a long-term commitment. Unlike marriage, however, a good advising relationship should end successfully within a few years. Also, unlike husband and wife, the advisor and student do not start as equals. At first, the relationship is essentially an apprenticeship. But although you start as an apprentice, ideally, you should end as a colleague.