What kind of relation should one have with their supervisor ? Could one talk informally with them ? would you get their phone number to discuss things on the phone ?


  • 1
    I do this all the time. This question is subjective and opinion based.
    – Coder
    Feb 25, 2021 at 13:13
  • 2
    why do you have to judge the question ? just answer it !
    – Sam
    Feb 25, 2021 at 13:16
  • 1
    Everyone judges questions here, actually. Don't be offended. I hope my answer is a bit more than opinion, but you are the judge of answers.
    – Buffy
    Feb 25, 2021 at 13:19

1 Answer 1


This depends on personalities. For some it is perfectly acceptable to be very informal. For others, such as mine, a more formal relationship was needed. But, even in a formal relationship, you need to have your questions answered and concerns addressed. But it is really a matter of "style" how you go about that.

So, the first thing to do is ask the advisor what they prefer and how frequently it is "good" to touch base. Even with a formal relationship, an advisor might want a progress report every couple of weeks (or more, or less).

But work it out initially. And, you want to have a good relationship so that they will be willing to support you after you finish, as well as during your degree years.

Of course everything was, and we hope will be, in the absence of a pandemic.

Note that different advisors rank different parts of their job differently. Some value their own research very highly, which can be a problem if they aren't as helpful as they should be. I often worry about untenured advisors for this reason (and once suffered because of it until I switched). But, I'd just guess that phone conversations with advisors are pretty rare (though mumble mumble pandemic).

And you might also want to look at my earlier question and its answers on this site: How do you build a healthy and productive relationship with your supervisor?

  • The most important thing students forget is: "... you need to have your questions answered and concerns addressed" (as mentioned in the answer)
    – Coder
    Feb 25, 2021 at 17:02

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