Students develop and pursue their individual programs in active consultation with members of the faculty. To advise students on their programs and progress overall, one faculty member acts as the departmental Director of Graduate Studies (for name and contact details, see the Faculty Section). Students are required to meet the departmental Director of Graduate Studies regularly in order to have their academic program choices approved. The main advisory function will eventually be assumed by the dissertation chairperson. Students are encouraged to actively seek a faculty member of the Department of South Asian Languages and Civilizations to fill this role as soon as possible, at the latest before the preparation of the dissertation proposal.

It is the responsibility of students to familiarize themselves with the requirements of the degree program. If they have any doubts regarding the requirements in general, or their specific applicability to their particular program, it is important to resolve them promptly in consultation with the departmental Director of Graduate Studies. Students should also remember that advising is a joint process: they can only receive guidance when they ask for it.