Department of Demography


Guidelines for Demography 298/299 and Faculty/Student Mentoring Program

Students in the Demography Ph.D. program who have passed their Written Preliminary Examinations (MA Exams) are expected to enroll each semester with some member of the faculty in at least 2 units of Demography 298, Directed Reading, or Demography 299, Directed Research. This coursework should involve some formal interaction between the student and her/his faculty mentor.

Generally, post-preliminary exam students will enroll in 298 up to the time of the oral qualifying exam and in 299 afterwards. The faculty member directing 298 or 299 will act as the student's academic mentor. Students still completing coursework will usually take 12 units of courses in addition to the 298 or 299.

Practice will vary, according to the needs and wishes of student and mentor. Often, it will make sense for the student to prepare a one to two page plan at the beginning of the semester. For students still taking coursework, this plan should set out how the coursework fits into long-range goals for the dissertation, in terms of background and training. It may list particular readings on which the student wants to concentrate in depth. Obviously, the content will vary depending on whether it is a second-year student who is just exploring possible disseration topics or a fourth- or fifth-year student in the last stages of writing the thesis. For students who have completed coursework, the plan should list what the student hopes to achieve during the semester from reading and research, in terms of filling in background and making headway toward the dissertation.

At the end of the semester mentored students should write a one-page "reflection" on what they have done during the semester - both on their own and through interaction with their faculty mentor - for the purpose of advancing their work toward an eventual dissertation. The exact form of this "reflection" is up to the student and his/her mentor, but it could include an overview of background reading, theoretical development, data analysis, etc., that was undertaken place during the semester. This one-page reflection on dissertation-related work for the present semester should be signed by both the student and her/his mentor. Please give one copy to the Graduate Assistant before the end of the semester.

Some students will want to undertake a more detailed plan of readings in areas not covered by coursework. In such cases, taking 298 for 4 units rather than 2 may be advisable. For this purpose, the student may work with another faculty member in addition to enrolling in 2 units of 298 with the mentor.

The aim of this plan is to help assure continuity from semester to semester in systematic progress toward the Ph.D., and to guarantee that students stay in contact with a faculty advisor as they move forward. Students will meet with mentors a few times per semester to talk about topics of common interest, in particular students' current readings and research. Post-orals students have been assigned mentors in various ways. In early stages, students may move from one mentor to another as they begin to build academic relationships that will eventually lead to the choice of a supervisor for the Ph.D. Your current mentors can be found on the course control number/mentor webpage.