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Resources for Graduate Advisors


Physics First Year (Program) Advisor

Stanford Physics program advisors are responsible for welcoming incoming students to the Physics Department, meeting with the students and helping them to navigate the graduate program. The program advisor is expected to be aware of and to support the students’ progress through the rotation system.

Rotation and Dissertation Research Advisor

The advisor-student relationship will be, in most cases, the student’s central academic relationship during their time at Stanford. It represents a serious commitment for both parties and should not be entered into without careful consideration.

The students admitted to the Stanford Physics graduate program are among the best-prepared and most motivated scientists in training throughout the world. These students will best explore their creative potential and develop their intellectual and analytical skills through frequent collegial interactions with faculty.

Dissertation advisors are responsible for the intellectual and professional mentoring of graduate students. Sustained, meaningful communication between the advisor and student is key for achieving shared goals, including the student’s mastery of the subject material and ultimate career success and satisfaction, inside or outside of academia.

The advisor is expected to be aware of and support the student’s progress towards Physics PhD milestones, including the Oral Qualifying Exam (2nd year), the Thesis Proposal (3rd year), Oral Presentation to Reading Committee (4th year) and final thesis defense and submission.


Students working with dissertation advisors outside Physics/Applied Physics/SLAC* must have a co-advisor who is a faculty member in the Physics Department. (*Students with SLAC Photon Science faculty advisors with a Ph.D. in an area other than Physics require a co-advisor.)

Yearly meetings with the co-advisor are required, to ensure that the student's dissertation has a physics component that is sufficient to allowing granting of a Ph.D. in Physics. More frequent meetings are encouraged