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Faculty/Student Responsibilities

  1. Advisors and students should be familiar with appropriate discipline handbook(s) and with the Joint Program housing policy.
  2. When a student first arrives, the advisor and student should discuss what courses the student should take, and when.  Advice is also available from the education coordinator and the student’s academic advisory committee.
  3. When a student first arrives, the advisor and student should discuss what research project(s) the student should undertake, including expectations of when and how that research will be carried out (e.g., during first summer, semesters when classes are in session, during IAP, during subsequent summers), and balance between coursework and research. They should also discuss any upcoming fieldwork (timing and duration), and whether it is optional or required.
  4. Advisors should make expectations clear to the student, including how frequently the advisor and student should meet.  The advisor should make him/herself available to provide advice to the student, and clarify with the student how best to set up meetings – e.g., regular weekly meetings, or meetings as needed with some amount of lead time so that the advisor can set aside time, etc.  Likewise the student should feel comfortable communicating with the advisor regarding the frequency of meetings.
  5. Students are expected to devote full-time effort academic activities, including time devoted to classes, research activities, and any activities specific to Research or Teaching Assistant duties.  If supported as a Graduate Research Assistant, 20 hours per week on average should be devoted to work on the grant/contract.  If supported as a Teaching Assistant, the student is expected to devote 20 hours per week to Teaching Assistantship activities (10 hours/wk for half-time TA).
  6. Students are entitled to two weeks of vacation per year and should clear vacation schedules in advance with advisor(s). It is useful for students and advisors to discuss expectations given that many oceanography students spend considerable time in the field.  Information about terms of appointments can be found here.
  7. Advisors and students should discuss authorship protocol (e.g., when is someone an author vs. acknowledged; when is someone first author; etc.), and scientific conduct.  Training in scientific conduct is now required by some funding agencies.  Ethics training is available, and advisors should encourage students to take advantage of such training.
  8. Advisors should make best efforts to fund students fully, and encourage (and assist as needed) students to submit fellowship applications.  If the student has his/her own funding through a fellowship, and wishes to pursue research not covered by existing grants, the student needs to have the advisor’s permission and support.  The student and the advisor then need to openly discuss possibilities and how other costs (e.g., lab supplies and analyses) will be covered.  The burden of funding the student and his/her research costs falls on the advisor, thus the need for the advisor being in agreement that the student should pursue this research.
  9. Regular feedback should be provided to the student about progress, and if the student is not fulfilling the advisor’s expectations, the advisor should bring that to the student’s attention in a timely manner so that the student can address the concern (rather than waiting until the semester’s end or as part of the annual review).
  10. Advisors and students should discuss progress at annual review time and go over any issues or concerns.  On all submitted memos/paperwork, copy Tricia Nesti and Sarah Moriarty (who will save the correspondence in the student’s file).
  11. As the student’s research progresses, the advisor(s) should encourage participation in scientific meetings and assist with writing and submitting abstracts, choice of sessions and travel costs, and encourage and assist with networking at meetings.  Both MIT and WHOI offer funding to help with student travel to conferences when they are presenting.  See  Advisors should introduce students to colleagues and program mangers from funding agencies at meetings, as well as when colleagues or program managers visit the home institution.
  12. Each year students and advisors should discuss career goals (which may evolve). Advisors should offer advice to students on postdoc and job opportunities, and encourage the student to think broadly about his/her career.
  13. Advisors should encourage and assist with publication of results including advice on appropriate journals; structure, length and content of articles; appropriate analyses and graphics; and guidance in responding to reviewers.
  14. Advisors should provide timely feedback (e.g., within a week or two, with an idea of the timing provided by the advisor) as students write up results for their theses.
  15. Students are expected to use "MIT-WHOI Joint Program in Oceanography/Applied Ocean Science & Engineering, Cambridge and Woods Hole, MA, USA" as their affiliation in all publications and products stemming from their research in the Joint Program. Additional student affiliations (e.g. MIT or WHOI department) are up to the authors.
  16. In addition to the Educational Coordinator, Associate Dean, Dean, MIT Director of the Joint Program, and Joint Committee members, the Department Chair at WHOI and Department Head at MIT are go-to people for graduate students who need advice or assistance on important professional matters such as resolving conflicts or other issues with their advisors or others in the department.  MIT and WHOI also have Ombuds persons and

*There may be some discipline-specific variations to these general guidelines – see discipline handbooks

June 23, 2022


Related Links

Common Values on the Graduate Student Experience

MIT Graduate Policies & Procedures

Best Practices in Graduate Advising 

All graduate students need to complete and remain up-to-date on safety training at both MIT and WHOI:

All graduate students need to complete the online Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) training program available on the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) web site using the link below by the end of their second year in the program: