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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

Graduate Advising

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As soon as you are admitted to one of our programs, you can begin registering for courses.  To assist you through the program, you can contact your advisor with questions.


Who is my advisor?

When a student enters the program, he or she is initially advised by the graduate coordinator in the department, otherwise known as the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS).

During the second semester in the program, a student is encouraged to identify a faculty member in the department who will become his or her advisor for the duration of the program. The DGS can help you with this selection process if you have any questions.

If in doubt, the DGS is always a resource in the department for you to contact with questions you have as a graduate student in the department. Currently the DGS is:

What courses should I take first?

Always start by registering for the required core courses in your program as soon as you can.  If you are seeking an MA, MS, or MFA, register for CMST 600, 601, and 602 as soon as possible.  If you are seeking one of the certificates, register for CMST 602, 604, and 633 as soon as possible.

How can I organize my coursework so that I know I am on track and completing the required classes?

Start by carefully reviewing the Coursework Checklist and the Paperwork Checklist for your program. Always consult with your advisor about the coursework and paperwork for your program. We have a number of graduate students in the program and each student is moving through the program at their own pace. A student should be pro-active in working with an advisor on planning out coursework and capstone project.

Coursework Checklists
Paperwork Checklists

At what times should I make sure I am in contact with my advisor?

In your first semester, contact the DGS with any questions about the coursework you will take initially.

MA, MS, & MFA students:  In your second semester, you need to find a professor to serve as advisor for your capstone project. Discuss your capstone project ideas with a few professors until you find one who is available and willing to work with you as an advisee.  You will then need to remain in close contact with your advisor as you complete your capstone project and prepare for graduation.

Certificate students: Discuss advisor options with the DGS, and make sure you have this conversation in the first semester within the program.

Selecting a Capstone Advisor and Committee
When the student is admitted into the Communication Studies Graduate program, the Department's Director of  Graduate Studies will automatically be assigned as the admission-advisor.
Your admission-advisor is different than your capstone advisor.

Capstone Committee Requirements

  1. Internship Project Report: Two graduate faculty members from within the department
  2. Alternate Plan Paper: Two graduate faculty members from within the department
  3. Thesis: Two graduate faculty members from within the department; one graduate faculty member from outside the department
  4. MFA Thesis: Two graduate faculty members from within the department; one graduate faculty member from outside the department

Selection of Thesis or Alternate Plan Advisor/Committee: When choosing a Chair/ Advisor and committee members, the student needs to consider the following:

  1. All committee members must have graduate faculty status.
  2. Does the student feel comfortable and confident with the Chair/Advisor and/or committee members they are considering?
  3. Do the Chair/Advisor and/or committee members have expertise in the subject area the student plans to study?
  4. Do the Chair/Advisor and/or committee members have expertise in the methodologies the student plans to use?

Requesting Faculty to Serve as Advisor or Committee Members

  1. Taking on a graduate student as a capstone advisee or serving on the committee is at the discretion of the graduate faculty member.
  2. The faculty may decline to serve for a number of reasons (e.g., area of study is outside of interest and/or methods, number of other advisees/committees already committed, other professional obligations).
  3. The graduate student should contact the faculty member and inquire if the faculty is interested and willing to serve as advisor/committee member.

Completing the Paperwork

  1. Once the advisor and committee is in place, the student must prep, secure signatures, and submit a Change of Advisor/Committee form ([PDF] (734 KiB))
  2. Send a request to the Director of Graduate Studies for permission to enroll in CMST 650
  3. You will be notified when the permission has been entered.