Skip to main content

Advising & Mentoring

Yale is one of the best places in the world for you to make the transformation from being a student, someone who consumes knowledge, to becoming an  independent researcher, someone capable of producing new knowledge. Along the way, you will weave together a network of resources and advisers in pursuit of your intellectual and professional goals. Self-direction, intrinsic motivation, and perseverance will lead you to find supportive scholars and friends. Remember: Graduate education is a collaborative enterprise. You are not alone. Yale's many advisers and mentors are here to help you in this intellectual journey.

Advisers and Mentors

The constellation of formal and informal advisers ready to help you include the following individuals:

  • Principal Faculty Adviser - If you are a Ph.D. student, your faculty adviser will provide guidance throughout your graduate program and will serve as the primary adviser for your dissertation. Dissertation advisers must have a faculty appointment to the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. To optimize your choice of an adviser, consider your own goals and interests as well as the professor's area of research. See the Guide to Advising Processes for Faculty and Students (PDF) for more information about things to consider when choosing an adviser. 
  • Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) - The DGS of your program is a senior faculty member, appointed by the Dean, who provides general academic oversight and serves as a resource to all graduate students in their respective department or program. DGSs work closely with the graduate program registrar, who provides administrative support to the students and faculty. A DGS & Registrar Directory is available online.  
  • Diversity Resource Coordinator - In some programs, a faculty member may serve as a Diversity Resource Coordinator. They may participate in admissions committees, host conversations and programs on diversity, and assist you with issues that arise. 
  • Placement Officer - In some programs, a faculty member may serve as a placement officer. They may assist graduate students with finding employment, typically in academic positions. Sometimes the placement officer is also the DGS; in other programs, the principal adviser also serves as the placement officer for their advisees. Consult your department or program to find out who the placement officer is in your program. 
  • Secondary faculty advisers, dissertation committee members, dissertation readers - Your principal faculty adviser will not be your only adviser at Yale. Look for ways to build informal relationships with additional faculty members who can provide advice, serve on your dissertation committee, or be dissertation readers. 
  • Advanced graduate students - Take advantage of opportunities to learn from other graduate students in your program as well as students with whom you share common interests, backgrounds, or goals. Building a supportive community of peers is essential to your personal well-being, in addition to your professional and academic development.
  • Academic deans and staff of the Graduate School - In addition to all these advisers, you can always approach one of the deans or staff of the Graduate School for help and guidance. Review our staff directory for more information about the principal responsibilities of each member of our staff, and feel free to contact us directly for assistance or advice. 
  • McDougal Fellows and Office for Graduate Student Development and Diversity (OGSDD) Fellows - Fellows are graduate student peers available to discuss various questions and concerns. 

Guide to Advising Processes for Faculty and Students (PDF

Graduate Students should review this guide and use it to discuss expectations with faculty members prior to choosing a principal faculty adviser, and subsequently, as needed, throughout your time in graduate school. 

Student & Faculty Lunch Programs

To help you meet informally with faculty advisers and instructors, the Graduate School provides free meals through two programs: 

  • FEAST for Teaching - Faculty instructors are encouraged to request free lunch cards for their Teaching Fellows to facilitate discussions about teaching issues once a month or four times each term.
  • Meals for Mentoring – You can request a free lunch together with an adviser at select dining facilities on campus, up to twice each term. 

Additional Campus Resources

We encourage you to seek assistance from other campus resources as well including, but not limited to: