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Graduate Degrees: Advising & Credentials

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Graduate Advising

Academic advising by Stanford faculty is a critical component of all graduate students’ education. By the start of their first term, all graduate students should identify or be paired by the department with a faculty adviser who assists them in planning a program of study to meet degree requirements. The process by which students are matched with faculty advisers varies by department or program.

The University requires that within each department or program minimum advising expectations be set for both adviser and advisee. Such minimum expectations must differentiate between master’s and doctoral programs, and between different types of advisers (academic/program vs. research). These department or program expectations must be distributed to faculty and graduate students on an annual basis at the start of each academic year and must be easily accessible on the web. Faculty are expected to affirm that they have received the advising expectations. Each faculty member has the prerogative to augment the departmental advising expectations with their specific additional expectations, while remaining consistent with the departmental advising policies. 

Faculty advisers are to: 

  • serve as intellectual and professional mentors to their graduate students
  • provide knowledgeable support concerning the academic and non-academic policies that pertain to graduate students
  • help to prepare students to be competitive for employment
  • maintain a high level of professionalism in the relationship
  • establish and collaboratively maintain expectations of the adviser/advisee relationship, consistent with departmental standards.

Students are obliged to follow university and department procedures for identifying advisers and committee members for their dissertation reading and university oral examinations.  The principal dissertation adviser for doctoral students must be a member of the Academic Council. Students may identify a co-adviser in addition to the principal dissertation adviser; normally both principal adviser and co-adviser are members of the Academic Council. A former Stanford Academic Council member, emeritus professor, or non-Academic Council member may serve as co-adviser with the appointment of a principal dissertation adviser who is currently on the Academic Council.

Occasionally, a student's research may diverge from the area of competence of the adviser, or irreconcilable differences may occur between the student and the faculty adviser. In such cases, the student or the faculty adviser may request a change in assignment. If the department decides to grant the request, every reasonable effort must be made to pair the student with another suitable adviser. This may entail some modification of the student's research project.

In the rare case where a student's dissertation research on an approved project is in an advanced stage and the dissertation adviser is no longer available, every reasonable effort must be made to appoint a new adviser, usually from the student's reading committee. This may also require that a new member be added to the reading committee before the draft dissertation is evaluated, to keep the reconstituted committee in compliance with the University requirements for its composition.

Departments should make every effort to assist doctoral students who are not yet admitted to candidacy in finding an appropriate principal dissertation adviser. The department should also inform doctoral students in a timely fashion about procedures for selecting a dissertation adviser, reading committee members, and orals committee members.

Several University policies apply to all faculty-student advising relationships. The University’s Research Policy Handbook 1. Conduct of Research outlines policies and practices related to the conduct of research, including obligations to students, staff, and sponsors. The Administrative Guide 1.1.1. University Code of Conduct articulates the policy that all members of the Stanford community are responsible for sustaining the highest ethical standards and values of the university and of the broader community.

Additional information and resources about advising can be found on the Office of the Vice Provost for Graduate Education’s Advising & Mentoring webpages.

Teaching Credentials

Stanford University is accredited by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing and is authorized to recommend candidates for credentials. The University offers a complete training program for both Single (Secondary) and Multiple (Elementary) Subject teaching credentials. Upon completion of a Stanford approved program, the credentials allow teachers to serve in California public schools.

Current Stanford undergraduates wishing to complete the requirements for a teaching credential should apply to the coterminal program at the Graduate School of Education. All other applicants should apply directly to the Stanford Teacher Education Program (STEP) at the Graduate School of Education.