PhD Student Guaranteed Transitional Support


Motivation and Purpose

The UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering is committed to ensuring that all of our PhD students are given the opportunity to complete a high-quality graduate education under the guidance of an advisor who nurtures and supports their growth and hard work.  Relationships between students and advisors, as with all relationships, have their ups and downs. In most situations, these ups and downs are a natural part of a healthy relationship. However, there are times when a relationship becomes unhealthy and cannot be repaired, such as when the student is experiencing bias, discrimination, harrassment or aggressive behavior from their advisor.

The goal of the Guaranteed Transitional Support program is to support PhD students who find themselves in an unhealthy relationship with their advisor transition to a new advisor in order to successfully continue and complete their degree. We hope that this program will provide a safety net that will allow students to address problematic relationships earlier and, when appropriate, find a new situation where they can thrive. 

Plan Specifics

  • Any PhD student in any engineering department who is in an unhealthy relationship with their advisor should reach out to and meet with the Associate Dean for Students, Darren Lipomi as soon as possible to discuss the situation. The Associate Dean will assess the situation and advise the student on options for next steps. This conversation will be kept confidential to the full extent possible, but note that any disclosures of sexual violence, sexual harassment or other prohibited behavior involving students will have to be reported to the Office of Prevention of Harrassment and Discrimination (OPHD).
  • In cases where the student is experiencing harassment, bias or discrimination, or is in an otherwise unhealthy relationship that cannot be repaired, the student will be provided guaranteed 1-quarter financial support in order to facilitate the transition to a new research advisor. Support may be extended to 2-quarters when needed given a good-faith effort by the student to successfully identify and establish their work with a new advisor.  
  • The Associate Dean, the Dean and the student’s home department will work together to determine the form of the support. It may be provided as TA, GSR or fellowship support, or a combination of these, with the goal of giving the student the maximum potential to commit to working with their new advisor.
  • The Associate Dean, the Dean and student’s home department will also assist in identifying and establishing both the initial connection and the working relationship between the student and their new advisor.