Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering
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Selecting an Adviser

Upon arriving on-campus, please contact the Director of Graduates Studies (DGS), the default adviser for all new students. The exception would be students who are admitted to the graduate program with a research assistantship provided by a particular faculty member; these students will have that faculty member as their academic adviser and thesis/dissertation adviser. After taking courses in various areas, attending seminars and individual discussions, and becoming otherwise acquainted with faculty members, students should begin to narrow down who will be the adviser for his or her program.

All students should have a research adviser chosen by the beginning of their second year. Students are encouraged to talk with different faculty members about their interests and possible research topics. Students interested in taking the Written Preliminary Exam should try to find a regular adviser by the beginning of spring semester.

Senior and Affiliate Senior members of the AEM Graduate Faculty may advise both MS and PhD students. Graduate Faculty may advise MS students and co-advise PhD students in conjunction with a senior member. Remember that the adviser-advisee relationship is mutual; faculty members must agree to become a student's adviser. Visit this link to see all of the faculty who have been assigned roles for the AEM graduate program. This list can be used to help identify eligibility for adviser assignments.

Declaring and Changing an Adviser

Upon selection of a faculty member and that faculty member's acceptance of advising responsibilities, students should inform the DGS of this by sending an email with a cc' to your adviser. Students must also complete this form and submit it to the Graduate Program Assistant in 107 AkerH.

Students may change advisers if they wish, and this must be indicated to the DGS by sending another email with a cc' to both the old and new adviser. However in this case both the new and the previous adviser must sign to acknowledge the change. Again, students must complete this form and submit it to the Graduate Program Assistant in 107 AkerH.


After registering their program with the department, ensure the appropriate program is correctly listed on Onestop.

It has and will DELAY graduation for students if the wrong program is entered.

Best Practices in Graduate Education

Faculty and graduate students share complementary responsibilities in the maintenance of academic standards and the development of high quality graduate programs.

Roles and responsibilities of the thesis/dissertation adviser

These are some basic roles and responsibilities guidelines that advisers typically follow:

  • Provide clear direction for the requirements each student must meet and policies of the graduate program.
  • Advise graduate students as to how to develop a program plan, including appropriate course work, research or project activity, and available resources.
  • Ensure that each graduate student initiates thesis or dissertation research in a timely fashion.
  • Provide training and oversight in creative activities, research rigor, theoretical and technical aspects of the thesis or dissertation research, and professional integrity.
  • Create supervisory relations with students that stimulate and encourage students to learn creatively and independently respect the academic freedom for students to express options that may differ from those of faculty.
  • Encourage graduate students to stay abreast of the literature and cutting-edge ideas in the field.
  • Help graduate students to develop professional skills in writing reports, papers, grant proposals and evaluating manuscripts and papers; encourage participation in professional meetings; help establish professional networks professional contacts for the benefit of students; learn interviewing skills.
  • Provide regular feedback on the progress of graduate students toward degree completion, including feedback on research or creative activities, coursework, teaching, and constructive criticism if the progress does not meet expectations.
  • Acknowledge student contributions in research presented at conferences, in professional publications, or in applications for copyrights and patents.
  • Help graduate students develop into successful professionals and colleagues, including encouraging students to participate and disseminate results of research or creative activities in the appropriate scholarly or public forums.
  • Facilitate career development, including advising graduate students on appropriate job and career options, as well as on the preparation of application materials for appropriate fellowship, scholarship, and other relevant opportunities.
  • Write letters of reference for appropriate fellowship, scholarship, award, and job opportunities.
  • Provide for supervision and advising of graduate students when the faculty adviser is on leave or extended absence.

Roles and responsibilities of the student

These are some basic roles and responsibilities guidelines that students should typically follow:

  • Adhere and take responsibility to learn university and academic unit rules, procedures, and policies applicable to graduate study and research or creative activities.
  • Meet university and academic unit requirements for degree completion.
  • Recognize that in many disciplines, the faculty adviser provides the intellectual and instructional environment in which the student conducts research, and may, through access to teaching and research funds, also provide the student with financial support.
  • Respect faculty member's need to allocate their time and other resources in ways that are academically and personally productive.
  • Devote an appropriate amount of time and energy toward achieving academic excellence and earning an advanced degree in a timely fashion.
  • Acknowledge the contributions of the faculty adviser and other members of the research team to the student's work in all publications and conference presentations.
  • Follow disciplinary and scholarly codes of ethics in course work, thesis or dissertation research, and in creative activities.
  • Practice uncompromising honesty and integrity according to university and federal guidelines in collecting and maintaining data.
  • Seek regulatory approval for research in the early stages of thesis or dissertation work where applicable.
  • Take initative to communicate regularly with faculty adviser(s) on progress toward completion of the thesis or dissertation.
  • Work cooperatively with supervising faculty and other teaching assistants to accomplish the tasks set out in TA assignments.
  • Give adequate attention to the teaching role by conscientious efforts in planning, preparation, and implementation of TA assignments.
  • Achieve an appropriate balance between teaching responsibilities and other essential activities.

Professionalism and Ethics Related Links:

Professional Ethics and Conduct of Research
Educational Requirements for Grad Students and Postdocs
To become eligible as a PI at the U of MN
Teaching Ethics for Research, Scholarship, & Practice (University of Minnesota, State & Federal Policies and Procedures)
On Being A Scientist: Responsible Conduct In Research an on-line book (local copy)

Last Modified: 2018-03-28 at 11:26:17 -- this is in International Standard Date and Time Notation