PhD Program in Public & Community Health

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Selecting an Advisor

Individuals who pursue a biomedical or social-behavioral science graduate degree are expected to take responsibility for their own scientific and professional development. Faculty who advise students are expected to fulfill the responsibilities of a mentor, including the provision of research and field training, guidance, instruction in the responsible conduct of research and research ethics. The faculty advisor also performs a critical function as a role model for the graduate student.

Advising students in a graduate program of study at MCW is initially the responsibility of the program director for the graduate program. This individual is obligated to counsel students in planning for initial course work and in exploring research opportunities with various members of the graduate faculty. Within the first 18 months of graduate study, the student is expected to negotiate with a faculty member for participation in the faculty member’s research program. This negotiation culminates in assumption by the faculty member of responsibility for continued advising, counseling and potential funding assistance as the student’s research advisor.

The research advisor, a member of the full-time MCW faculty and a member of the graduate faculty, is selected by mutual agreement between the student, the proposed advisor, the program director and the departmental or program chair. For doctoral students, the advisor must be on the list of approved mentors as established by the Faculty Credentials Committee of the Graduate Studies Council. Every effort is made to assist students in securing the research advisor of choice. However, acceptance into a degree program does not commit the College to find a research advisor for the student. If no faculty member in the program is available or willing to serve as research advisor, the student may not be able to complete the academic program.

A listing of faculty, their research interests, and faculty classification (member graduate faculty, qualified primary dissertation mentor) may help students select a possible advisor. Don’t forget to discuss your selection with the Program Director first. Learn more about the PhD in Public and Community Health faculty and their research interests by looking under the Faculty tab, overview.


Procedure for Declaring An Advisor

The process for selecting an advisor will start in late August of a student’s first year. Students must declare an advisor by December of their second year. Declaring an advisor will require students to:

  • Meet with prospective advisors to finalize an agreement with one advisor and discuss this process with the Program Director.
  • Review the Guidelines for MCW Graduate Students and Their Research Advisors with your advisor and sign the form found on the last page.
  • Submit the signed form to the PhD Program. The Program will write a letter informing the Graduate School of your selection. This letter will be submitted on your behalf along with the Guidelines for MCW Graduate Students and Their Research Advisors agreement form.
  • The PhD Program will send you an electronic copy of the letter for your records.
© 2014 Medical College of Wisconsin
Page Updated 10/08/2014