Choosing an Advisor

Any faculty member or lecturer in the Computer Science Department can be your undergraduate advisor. The relationship you create with your advisor largely depends on you. Neither the lecturer advisors nor the professor advisors will run after you to ask you about your progress. Therefore, initiative must be entirely your own.

When selecting a possible advisor, there are several things to consider. What are your academic and professional interests and which professors' or lecturers' interests match your own? What kind of advice or help do you expect from your academic advisor?

In general, lecturers have larger advisee groups (20 or more people) while professors often have small groups (less than 5). Professors are generally knowledgeable about research, graduate school, and academia. Most lecturers will know more than professors about the CS curriculum, especially the introductory classes. (Keep in mind the course advisor is always available as another source of advice on classes.) Students often ask advisors to write letters of recomendation. Letters from someone whose class you have taken are better. A letter from a professor might carry more weight in certain cases like graduate school applications, particularly if you have taken their class or worked with the professor or the professor's group on a research project. It's also important to find an advisor from whom you are comfortable asking for and taking advice.

To ask a professor or lecturer to be your advisor, it is best to meet with them in person. This gives you a chance to see how well you interact in person and how comfortable you are speaking to them. To set up a meeting it is best to email them directly or go to their office hours. Most professors and lecturers list their office hours on their web page or office door.

To find a faculty advisor, check the Computer Forum's list of CS faculty members, including their research interests. Also check the list of everyone currently advising undergraduates. Since some advisors limit the number of students they advise, not everyone will be willing to take on new advisees, so don't feel bad if a professor or lecturer says they can't currently take any additional students. Once you have selected a faculty advisor and they have agreed to be your advisor, take a look at the declaring page to find out what to do next.

Changing Advisors

You are free to change your undergraduate advisor at anytime. Let your old advisor know, get approval from your new advisor, and send an email to Catherine Adam ( and the Course Advisor who will update your official information. Within a couple of weeks, the information on Axess should reflect the changes.

Content by CS Course Advisor
Last updated on Thursday, 06-Oct-2016 23:25:16 PDT.
Design by Linda Nguyen, '05