UCSD Mathematics

Master’s Students: Faculty Advisors and Departmental Advisor

UC San Diego Department of Mathematics master’s students are normally assigned a faculty advisor no later than the start of fall quarter in the student’s first academic year of matriculation. (This information may be communicated to the student’s UC San Diego email address and/or in person such as at a Departmental orientation event.) The primary role of the faculty advisor is to review and decide on your required requests for coursework approval each quarter. Additionally, the faculty advisor is someone who you can consult on career planning and when serious academic difficulties arise.

Separately, you have a departmental advisor who is the primary person that you will receive department-related information from and who you will interact with for most academic-related administrative matters. The departmental advisor is also the person who other campus entities, such as people with the Graduate Division and those in the International Students & Programs Office (ISPO), will communicate with regarding you. You are encouraged to keep this advisor informed on situations that may impact your academic progress. Here are some examples: (1) You learn that you may have to be away from campus and your coursework for more than a week due to a personal/family situation. (2) You intend to travel to a particularly dangerous place or other location where travel may be restricted. (3) You realize that you are not doing well academically. (4) You are having problems making contact with, receiving responses from, or otherwise interacting with your faculty advisor. (5) You are considering a significant change to your academic path such as a change of major, change of terminal degree, and so on.

Problems are usually easier to manage when the right people are involved as early as possible. The departmental advisor for master’s students is your recommended first point of contact in these cases. If this is not the best person to advise and help you in some situation, this person should know who else can do so and direct you accordingly.

Since our terminal master’s majors are only offered on the comprehensive examination plan, not the thesis plan, your interaction with your faculty advisor could be minimal over your time in the Department if you only contact the advisor to request approval for coursework (as required) and if you are continuously making satisfactory academic progress. However, you can choose to get to know your advisor better by proactively building a professional relationship with him/her.

Faculty members have different styles of communication and availability. Learn these characteristics of your faculty advisor and do your best to work positively with that individual.

As a general rule, do not procrastinate. There will be plenty of times when you will need input or approval from the faculty advisor and/or the departmental advisor, and it is never good to leave requests of these people to the “last minute”.

The primary form of administrative communication with students is via electronic forms. (At the time of this writing, that normally means email.) All email from the Department should be considered official. It is your responsibility to regularly and frequently read and attend to these messages.