Your MSE Department Contact:

Professor David Srolovitz
Professor and Graduate Chair
Email: srol@seas.upenn.edu

Dr. Mahadevan Khantha
Senior Lecturer and Faculty Advisor
Office: 221 LRSM
Email: khantha@seas.upenn.edu

Ms. Irene Clements
Graduate Program Coordinator
Office: Room 201, LRSM
Phone: 215-898-8337
Email: ipc@lrsm.upenn.edu

 

 

Advising and Advisor Selection

During orientation each doctoral degree student will meet with the MSE Graduate Advising Committee, who recommend and approve first-semester course selections based on the student's undergraduate transcript and intended area of research. This meeting occurs during departmental orientation (usually the day before classes start). An official course approval form must be signed by the committee members and the student and entered in the student's departmental file. Typically, students register for four courses in their first semester, and three courses plus one research course unit in their second semester. Course selection after the first semester are made in consultation with a student’s thesis advisor.


During the first month of the semester, each Ph.D. student will attend presentations given by members of the MSE Graduate Group during which members of the faculty provide an overview of their research programs. Students are encouraged to meet individually with members of the Graduate Group whom they consider to be prospective advisors, as well as students in these research groups. In late September each doctoral degree student must submit a ranked list of three faculty members to whom the student would like to be assigned as a research advisee to the Graduate Group Chair. The faculty of the Graduate Group then assigns students to faculty advisors in accordance with student preferences, subject to limitations imposed by the availability of research support, the wishes of faculty members, and the existing distribution of students among advisors. The faculty advisor is principally responsible for the student's program and progress, including course selection and any requests related to the student’s formal status in the graduate program.

A student may request a change of advisor at any time during their Ph.D. studies, and the request will be honored if possible. However, since changing advisors usually implies changing research topics, it is advantageous to request a change as early as possible during a student’s graduate program.