First Year of Studies - Advising

Each student is assigned to a member of the Student Advisory Committee, a small group of faculty committed to guiding students through the program.  Students are matched with a SAC advisor with whom they have no other professional contact, in order to ensure that the advising relationship is not influenced by the advisor's interests.  The SAC member should function as the student’s advocate, so impartiality is essential.


While a student may meet with his/her SAC member at any time, PiN formally schedules meetings with SAC members at specific intervals:


  • First-year students meet with SAC advisors in August, December, and May.

  • Second-year students meet with SAC advisors in September and January.

  • Third-year students (and above) meet with SAC advisors annually in June, July, or August, depending on the advisor’s schedule.


Students who have passed the Preliminary Qualifying Examination are advised on their research by a Dissertation Advisory Committee (“DAC”).  The student and advisor select three faculty members to serve on the DAC; at least one of the DAC members must be affiliated with PiN.  DAC meetings are held every six to nine months and are designed to guide the student toward successful completion of a research project.  DAC members also serve as resources for the student’s question about career choices and options.




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of Harvard College