Graduate Student Handbook

3.1 Advisor Appointment

Each student in the CPH is assigned a faculty advisor based on a variety of characteristics, including the degree program, the student’s stage within the program, and the particular interests or research program of the student. Students in the master’s degree programs usually need relatively little assistance early in the curriculum, and are more likely to consult the advisor for professional and career-oriented questions. Students are encouraged to discuss professional decisions, academic problems, or any other matters of interest with their advisors. This should not, however, prevent a student from approaching another member of the faculty when that would be helpful. Students in the MS and PhD programs rely more heavily on their advisors from the outset because the curriculum is more individually tailored. The advisor assignment reflects these differences.

MPH Degree Programs

The specialization assigns an appropriate advisor to each incoming student with a view to balance faculty workload. Students who later wish to change their advisor may do so following the procedure outlined in Section 3.2. For students in the Master of Public Health - Program for Experienced Professionals (PEP) program, the PEP Director will serve as the primary faculty advisor for incoming students and will assist students in finding faculty to serve as career mentors and culminating project advisors.

MHA Degree Program

Students in the MHA program have many resources for academic and career advising.   The program has a dedicated staff person for student and career services who has in-depth knowledge of the program.  This person serves as students’ primary point of contact with the program starting at the time of admission and is available to help students navigate routine aspects of the program.  The MHA program director is available to provide guidance to students on more complex program issues.  Incoming students are also assigned a faculty advisor. Given the program’s structured curriculum and support for professional development, the faculty advisor serves primarily as an additional program resource for students rather than playing any formal role in his/ her academic program.  This advisor is usually retained during the second year unless the student elects to graduate under the thesis option. In order to pursue the thesis option, the student must contact the preferred advisor and determine whether that person is willing to serve as advisor for the proposed thesis. Faculty members may decline to serve as advisor for any topic that they believe to be unworkable or that lies outside their area of expertise.  Some constraint on advisor choice may also be necessary to balance the faculty workload.  

MS and PhD Degree Programs

It is generally expected that all MS and PhD students will have a clear research focus at the time of admission, as it would otherwise be difficult to evaluate their applications. In some cases, particularly for PhD students, a clear expectation of working with a particular faculty advisor will have been mutually established during the application process. The division of specialization will assign initial faculty advisors. Students who later wish to change their advisor may do so following the procedure outlined in Section 3.2.