It is never too early to begin thinking about a supervisor for your dissertation. There is no formal way of approaching a potential supervisor; however, it is the student’s responsibility to find an appropriate person. Because this professional relationship with the faculty member is foundational to a successful dissertation, forethought should be exercised in your selection. The faculty member should be doing research directly in the field that you have chosen, and he or she should be enthusiastic about your topic. Remember too that no faculty member is required to accept a student’s request for supervision. You should have more than one potential supervisor in mind, given that your first choice may decline the invitation for a variety of reasons. Before you approach someone, it is necessary to have a field in place and to have considered thoroughly a topic, if not an argument or guiding principle to your research. Individual faculty members are valuable resources that can help a student explore possible ideas, even if they do not eventually become the student’s supervisor. Please check the section “Faculty Research Profiles” to see the expertise of individual faculty members.

The Graduate Committee must approve the PhD candidate’s selection of a supervisor.