For the years prior to advancing to candidacy, the advising structure varies among the three areas. In ART and RCT, students are individually assigned an advisor upone entering the program but are strongly encouraged to consult with other core faculty as well. ART and RCT also have area advisors who are responsible for checking up on all of the area students and advising them regarding requirements. RAM has two area advisors, one for students focusing on the religions of ancient West Asia, and the other for students focusing on the religions of the Greco-Roman or early Islamic Mediterranean. The area advisor generally serves as the student's primary advisor through the Preliminary Examinations phase, except in RAM, where entering students are generally assigned an advisory committee upon matriculation. Graduate students, however, are expected to take primary responsibility for their schedules. This means that while students must carefully consult with the members of the core faculty in their area, the faculty expect students to develop and be able to justify their own schedule. Typically, students still taking courses should develop a preliminary schedule and discuss it with other core faculty as well as the advisor.
Although students may begin formulating a dissertation topic at any time during their course work, during the early stages of the examination process students should be actively thinking about the formal dissertation proposal and the best person to advise the dissertation.
Once a student has advanced to candidacy, the dissertation advisor serves as the student's primary advisor through completion. Most graduate students continue to consult with other faculty in their area for advice about various aspects of their professional program.