(Closed) Doctorate bees: what to call my future advisor?

posted 5 years ago in College
Post # 3
577 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

I hate to say this but I am a year into my doctoral program and I don’t have a good answer for your question. We’re usually 1-on-1 in our meetings so I don’t typically need to use his name to get his attention. When I send an email, I usually just begin it with “Hello,”. This issue of mine is further compounded by the fact that his name is German and I am not able to pronounce it correctly, so I am embarrassed to say it.

BUT, I would say if people generally refer to their advisors by first name in your program that is probably safe. In my experience academics generally think of graduate students as colleagues as well as students so there is no need for titles. YMMV.

Post # 4
3572 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

I would address him as Dr.  If that’s too formal, he will let you know. 

Post # 5
2559 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2010

Usually depends on the prof for me. I have two mentors that I split my time with, one whom I call by his first name (he’s a bit younger, more casual, and that’s how he introduced himself to me) whereas the other I refer to as Dr. X (he’s older, a little more old school, and the entire rest of the lab from other grad students to the project manager call him by Dr.). I would err on the side of Dr. and he’ll let you know if he doesn’t like it!


Post # 7
10366 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2010

Address him/her how they sign their email.

Hosestly, if they demand you call them “Dr.” they are likely really full of themselves, and it’s probably going to be an annoying 5-7 years. Only the real p$icks demand to be bowed down to with a fancy title.


Post # 8
2473 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2017

@qwerty2k1:  Use Dr. Smith for now, and if they reply back with Marty, call them Marty.

Post # 9
596 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2014

After 3 years of my MA + program, I STILL called my professor/program director/advisor by Dr. LastName. I actually did this with ALL of my professors via email – but in person it was first name.

Post # 10
292 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

Call him Dr. X for now. Once you get there, call him whatever the other grad students in the lab call him.


Post # 11
82 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

It depends on the department, but as a doctoral student he will view you as a junior colleague and most likely will want you to call him by his first name.  I called my advisor Dr. X for the first 6 months before he finally noticed and told me to stop.  Everyone else called him by his first name and I just started feeling silly.

Post # 12
905 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: February 2014

@qwerty2k1:  Depends on the prof. All faculty members in my department prefer the graduate students to call them by their first names.

To be safe, if “Dr. Smith” is too formal for you, you could use “Professor Smith” until told otherwise?

Post # 13
180 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

@qwerty2k1:  Really depends on the prof. But I’d suggest to call him Dr. XXX or Prof. XXX for now. After you start, he may tell you call him by first name or you can do that when you see enough number of people doing that.

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