SoHE Advising & Mentoring

Faculty Advisor

Advising relationships are a central part of academia, important to both the experience and development of students and faculty members alike.

All graduate students at UW-Madison are required to have a faculty advisor. The Graduate School’s definition of an advisor can be found here. Your advisor has two main roles: 1) To assist you in acquiring the highest possible level of knowledge and competence in the field, and 2) to chair the committee that will determine whether you have performed at an acceptable level in each of your degree milestones. Other roles of your advisor may include assisting with course selection and planning your academic path, and helping you identify possible research mentors, committee members, and research opportunities. Sometimes in SoHE, the chair of the Graduate Program Committee (GPC) serves as the faculty advisor for all new incoming students. Other times, incoming students may select a faculty advisor at the time of admission to the program. The SoHE program sections within this handbook outline in more detail how the role of the faculty advisor works in each program.

Changing Your Advisor

As the advisor-student relationship is one of mutual agreement, it may be terminated by either party. If you decide that you would prefer working with a different advisor, discuss this with your prospective advisor to seek the change.

If you change your advisor, you must notify your current advisor, the new advisor, and the Graduate Program Chair within your graduate program. You should also complete this form and send it to the SoHE graduate program office ( so that your academic record may be updated.

Every graduate student must have an advisor or the Graduate School may not allow them to continue in graduate study at UW-Madison. Be sure to follow procedures to re-select a new advisor (described above) prior to finalizing the termination of your current advising relationship. You can confirm that the name of your advisor has been updated in the official record by looking in your Student Center on MyUW ( under “Academic Progress” and then “Advisors.”


The mentor/mentee relationship is a two way street and is often different from what you may have been used to as an undergraduate student. We encourage graduate students and faculty to continually assess what they need from the mentoring relationship and how to get what they need to be successful. This is only the beginning of a collection of resources for faculty mentors and graduate student mentees.


School of Human Ecology Graduate Programs Handbook Copyright © 2022 by Michelle Holland. All Rights Reserved.

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