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Last Revision: January 30, 2024

Support Roles within Doctoral Studies

Doctoral Advising

Each cohort of students is assigned a faculty advisor through the first professional practice course to provide counsel about the academic and research demands of the program. This faculty advisor remains with the cohort throughout program coursework until the dissertation stage. Throughout the program residencies and interactions during coursework, you will develop relationships with faculty members in order to select a dissertation chair and committee members (see the Dissertation Requirements section). From the beginning of the doctoral program, you are provided avenues to interact with doctoral faculty through courses, social media, residencies, and informal discussions. These opportunities enable you to foster intellectual and personal connections that lead to advising relationships. You will participate in an annual review of your academic progress to ensure that you are meeting program milestones and to discuss ideas for the dissertation project.  

Faculty Advisor: Each cohort of students will have a designated faculty advisor who works with the students throughout their coursework.

Student Success Coach: This coach works with you from initial interest in the program and will guide you through the application process before holistic review by the Doctoral Admissions Committee. If you are accepted and begin the doctoral program, the Student Success Coach will remain your point of contact for questions about university and program policies.

Doctoral faculty: The doctoral faculty members teach courses in the doctoral programs. Doctoral faculty may also serve as faculty advisors, dissertation chairs, and dissertation committee members.

Dissertation Chair: The dissertation chair is the leader of the dissertation committee and your primary contact in writing the dissertation. The dissertation chair is a coach and advocate through the dissertation process.

Dissertation Committee: The dissertation committee, in collaboration with its chair, advises you on the dissertation and evaluates the dissertation oral defense. The dissertation committee consists of the chair, one additional APUS faculty member, and one external member who is an expert in the professional practice area.

Associate Dean of Graduate Programs: The Associate Dean of Graduate Programs collaborates with the doctoral programs for curricular planning, student success, and admissions. This director serves on the Doctoral Admissions Committee and consults with program faculty for your annual reviews and program milestones.

Dean of Graduate Studies and Research: The Dean leads graduate studies at the University by ensuring that the programs exceed accreditation standards and employ innovative teaching and research methods to support both faculty and staff.