I am a masters student in Computer Science in the U.S. I have been doing research with my advisor for the past year, and I really love the research area that I am doing, and been fortunate enough to publish at a top conference.

My advisor wants me to become his PhD student. He was a new assistant professor hire in 2020, but I think his publication record has been weak. If I start a PhD in 2024, I'm afraid that he'll get booted before I can finish (2029)? Should I still take him up on the offer?

  • 38
    With all due respect... You're a recent graduate, what qualifies you to judge his publication record or tenure chances? Nov 16, 2023 at 10:30
  • 3
    One step at a time. You have to apply and get accepted to the program first. Although this advisor may have some influence (recommendation letter), the decision is made by the selection committe. After that, it'll be another 2 years when you select your dissertation committee. As your accepted answer suggest a lot of things can happen in this time. but NOTE: this doesn't preclude you from working with this advisor, even if they moved to another school.
    – gns100
    Nov 16, 2023 at 16:49
  • 1
    @ScottishTapWater In any major department, there will be groups undergoing moves and resignations at any given time. It's stressful, expensive, and will easily add years to your degree. Of my fellow students, I can name 3 who didn't complete their degree due to a separate firing and a move. Don't be blinded by the excitement of acceptance, this has and will bite people.
    – user71659
    Nov 16, 2023 at 22:47

1 Answer 1


I suggest that you have a conversation with him and ask what the consequences would be if he leaves before you finish. You don't need to raise tenure as a reason. People leave for other reasons. If he is honest with you a solution can be found. And you may be overly harsh in your judgement about his chances for tenure.

In some cases a co-supervisor (tenured and less likely to leave) can be an option. Leaving with him can be an option, though maybe not in this case.

But the department has a responsibility to see that you finish successfully. Hopefully they recognize that. Worst case, though, is that you find someone else and possibly still take some direction from him. Your situation isn't unique.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .