Skip to Main Content

University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Applying to Graduate School: Find an Advisor

A guide on UIUC Library resources and tools to help guide recent graduates through the application process.


If you intend to pursue a degree that requires a thesis or dissertation, finding an advisor with whom to work is a key step. For best results, reach out to potential advisors prior to applying to ask if they are accepting new advisees and what funding may be available to support you prior to applying to a program.  Here are some ways to identify potential advisors:

  • Reach out to professors you know from your undergraduate coursework, and ask them about programs and people.
  • Attend the conference of an association in your discipline; attend talks and poster sessions and talk to people who are doing work that interests you.
  • Use listservs/online communities of associations in your discipline to identify potential advisors.
  • Search the literature for authors currently publishing research that interests you (how to use Web of Science and Scopus to identify active researchers in a specific research area is shown below). 

Advice on choosing an advisor:

Web of Science

Search on a topic of interest and use the "refine" options in the left panel to limit to recent years (maybe the last 3)

Then click "Analyze Results" and choose "Author" from the Analyze menu:

Click on an author's box to see records of their publications, which will include their affiliation info.  Note that one author may have multiple boxes based on variations of the name in records.


Search Scopus on a topic of interest to you. 
Select recent years using the "refine results" panel on the left, and click the "limit to" button.
Click the "Analyze search results" link at the top.

Choose the "Documents by author" panel


Scopus will show the authors, ordered by number of publications.

Click on an author entry in the graph or list to see the records for an author's publications, which will include their affiliations.

Find an Advisor at the University of Illinois

Natural Resources & Environmental Sciences Faculty 

  • Review departmental profiles for NRES faculty members to learn about areas of research focus.

Molecular & Cellular Biology Faculty

  • Search for faculty profiles by department or research interests among the School of Molecular and Cellular Biology faculty.

Integrative Biology Faculty

  • Search for faculty profiles by department or research interests among the School of Integrative Biology faculty.