How to Pick the Best PhD Advisor

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The advisor you choose during your PhD program is critical!

Make sure to select an advisor intentionally.

You don’t want anyone to sabotage your PhD dream because of department politics, faculty personality clashes, or an ego that gets in the way.

To help you pick the best PhD advisor, check out the DO and DON’T lists below:


DO select an advisor that:

  • Gets along well with other faculty members
  • Has a positive professional image within and outside of the university
  • Achieved tenure
  • Has general knowledge about your research area
  • Has a strong work ethic
  • Responds timely to emails
  • Lives within the country
  • Has a positive reputation among students
  • Complements your personality
  • Is willing to edit your work
  • Provides timely feedback
  • Has knowledge about a variety of research methodologies
  • Advocates for students
  • Holds you accountable
  • Has a motivating personality


DON’T select an advisor that:

  • Has negative energy
  • Makes derogatory remarks about faculty or students
  • Has major personal (life stressors)
  • Isn’t flexible with their time
  • Doesn’t provide constructive feedback
  • Doesn’t provide feedback in a timely manner
  • Has poor communication skills
  • Has a negative reputation among students
  • Has conflict with other faculty members
  • Will be on sabbatical soon
  • Pressures you to get done too fast
  • Pressures you to do their research projects instead of your own


If you want to complete your PhD program in a timely manner, make sure to pick a PhD advisor that’s best for you!


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