You will deal with a few different advisors during your career at UIUC.  When you first arrive, you will confer with the first year advisor and DGS.  In addition to signing your program request form during registration or pre-registration, the graduate advisor approves petitions for waiving requirements and evaluates your progress.  The graduate advisor can be the best source of information on department and graduate college regulations.  You may also be working with your primary advisor at this point, although this is not always the case.

When you formally apply to the PhD program by filing a PhD portfolio (typically in the third or fourth 4 semesters if you entered with an MA or the fourth or fifth  semesters if you entered with a BA), you will need to list a particular professor as a primary advisor.  Make certain you secure the professor’s permission before putting their name down.  If possible, you should take a course with your prospective advisor during your first year here.  Even better, take a research seminar sometime in the first few semesters with your potential advisor because it is of the utmost importance to see if you and that professor work well together on major writing projects.  It is also a good idea to check with the professor’s advisees to see what their experience has been.  If the professor you have in mind has no advisees, find out why by asking your peers.  Other things to take into consideration include the following: the standing of the faculty member within the broader academic community; the number of other advisees and major commitments the professor has, which may determine how much personal attention you will get; and whether the professor has tenure in the department.  Sometimes professors move to other institutions, whether they have tenure or not, although the chances are less with tenure.  This may be something you wish to discuss with them at some point.