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Questions for Prospective Advisors

Posted: Wed Jan 24, 2018 12:07 pm
by yon3da
Basically what it says. For school visits and interviews, what are some good questions to ask potential advisors / their students? Any input is greatly appreciated! :D

Re: Questions for Prospective Advisors

Posted: Wed Jan 24, 2018 3:44 pm
by lothiriell
I am not experienced with this and I would like to know this too, but one thing that I will try to ask for sure is whether X advisor allows their student to write a dissertation based on the student's ideas (even if it's not that close to the professor's research) or do they insist the student to write something based on the professor's research? I am not familiar with how these things go in the US, so if there's an unwritten rule about this I would like to know.

Re: Questions for Prospective Advisors

Posted: Wed Jan 24, 2018 7:34 pm
by djysyed
lothiriell wrote:I am not experienced with this and I would like to know this too, but one thing that I will try to ask for sure is whether X advisor allows their student to write a dissertation based on the student's ideas (even if it's not that close to the professor's research) or do they insist the student to write something based on the professor's research? I am not familiar with how these things go in the US, so if there's an unwritten rule about this I would like to know.


I am definitely curious about this as well. I know of a couple Algebraic K-Theorists whose supervisors were not Algebraic K-Theorists. One that comes to mind is Akhil Mathews, student of Jacob Lurie.

Re: Questions for Prospective Advisors

Posted: Wed Jan 24, 2018 10:34 pm
by FreddieBiddleBooty
I'm not sure if this is a good answer or not, but if you're interested in a particular subject that an advisor has worked on, and I mean "particular" as in a very narrow aspect of the professor's research, then maybe you could ask him/her if he/she still does work in this area, or something similar. Or you could even just express your interest in that particular aspect of their research.

For example, I have mentioned to a potential advisor (very nerve-racking, even via email) that I am interested in a particular function that he has done research on, and has even published a big paper on. There's a couple of questions I have about this specific function that I could ask him, but decided not to due to my lack of background knowledge.

However, I am also interested in hearing such answers! Also, do many colleges in the US do interviews before admissions? I keep hearing about these interviews from professors from other applicants.