What would you call the temporary advisor assigned to a PhD student upon enrolment, who is in charge of the student until the student finds his/her research advisor? "temporary advisor", or "course advisor", or ...? Thanks!

  • 1
    Their first name.
    – JeffE
    Commented Dec 30, 2013 at 14:16
  • @JeffE: In application to other PhD programs.
    – Tim
    Commented Dec 30, 2013 at 15:34

3 Answers 3


In the program where I currently work, we call such advisors "academic advisors," which makes the distinction with the "research advisor" or "thesis advisor" fairly obvious.


I'd imagine the particular terminology varies from one department to another. I've heard that called a "provisional" advisor. In my department you start with a "provisional committee" of two people. The provisional advisor is assigned based on the student's research interests, so often they wind up being the "real" advisor too, later on.


The term when I was a first-year PhD student was a "temporary advisor". There isn't a huge difference on how you call this person; people on the admission committee have been through graduate school too, and they'll get it. Don't worry on the details too much, and spend more time on the SOP.

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