Yale is one of the best places in the world for you to make the transformation from student to independent researcher, from consumer to producer of knowledge. Along the way, you will weave together a network of advisers and mentors who will support you in the pursuit of your intellectual and professional goals. 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.
Advising at Yale
Graduate advising focuses on guiding students through academic requirements, degree milestones, the process of producing a thesis or dissertation, and preparation for the major components of an academic career (teaching, research, and publication). During your degree, you will find both formal and informal academic advisers in your department or program who will work with you as you plan to meet your degree milestones and, ultimately, to prepare for your career after graduate school. This constellation of advisers can be found here.
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. For a template on creating program-specific advising guidelines, click here.
In addition, departments and programs maintain their own advising guidelines for their students and faculty. These are included within departmental graduate student handbooks, circulated as separate documents, or included on departmental websites. If you aren’t sure where to access your departmental advising guidelines, please reach out to your faculty adviser and/or DGS. For sample departmental checklists, click here.
Mentoring at Yale
In addition to a robust community of advisers who will guide you through your academic program, during your time at Yale you will also be encouraged to create a network of mentors who will support you broadly in your professional development and help you to balance your personal and professional lives.
Mentorship is a professional relationship in which more experienced colleague(s) offer(s) holistic feedback and guidance, both professional and personal, to a mentee. Because no single mentor can provide advice in all areas of personal and professional development, a student should cultivate a network of mentors from amongst faculty, staff, peers, and alumni. Mentoring may include academic advising but transcends guidance on coursework and academic milestones to address a student’s professional development in the broadest sense. Regular and clear communication, as well as an understanding of expectations, are shared responsibilities of both parties and are critical to an effective mentoring relationship. Mentors support their mentees as they learn to balance their personal and professional lives and identify long-term career goals. In the process, mentees learn how to create and maintain a mutually supportive professional network and even to become mentors themselves.
Yale’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences supports a culture of mentorship that builds on the community commitment to foster and sustain mentoring networks for graduate students in individual programs and departments. Recognizing that good mentoring is essential for students’ academic success and professional development, the Graduate School is committed to providing resources and materials to support departments in assessing their mentoring practices.
Mentoring Conversation Guides
Mentoring resources vary by division, discipline, and within individual mentoring relationships. As a starting point, you may want to consult the general models linked below as templates for structuring your own mentoring conversations.
- GSAS Sample Mentoring Agreement
Mentoring agreements (sometimes referred to as “compacts”) are common in the sciences as a tool to guide and define collaboration between faculty and students and/or postdocs in a lab setting. This template mentoring agreement has been adapted from the American Association of Medical Colleges and the Advising Agreement between Graduate Students and Faculty at Brown University.
- Yale GSAS Mentoring Conversation Guide for Graduate Students
- The University of Michigan’s Graduate Student Mentoring Guide includes sample models for developing shared mentoring expectations in STEM, Social Science, and Humanities disciplines (see How to Mentor Graduate Students: A Guide for Faculty and Graduate Student Mentoring Guide: A Guide for Students).
- Resources on Culturally Aware Mentoring (Council of Graduate Schools)
- University of Michigan Mentoring and Advising
- University of Washington Mentoring Guides for Students
- Duke Graduate School Mentoring
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: