Dating other graduate students

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This is not just icky—it is highly damaging to the profession.

For despite the handful of happy families that result from professor/grad student couplings, the practice has an overwhelmingly deleterious effect on the academic community.

It’s not just a matter of two consenting adults’ hearts wanting what they want.

Because not only are these relationships almost always an unacceptable abuse of power, they also affect the dynamics of departments, entire fields, and the very act of academic mentorship altogether.

So, what rules (written and unwritten) should be followed when dating someone like that?

You should ask not to be assigned to TA courses which your significant other is taking (and he or she should do likewise), as this would represent a possible conflict of interest.

Even if you can grade your SO's work objectively, there might be a perception of unfairness among other students.

Likewise, if any other situation should arise where one of you might be in a position of authority over the other, you'd need to disclose the conflict of interest and be prepared to resolve it. Concerning written rules you need to find out if any exist in your department, university etc.

My boyfriend’s MFA is in writing, obviously something that I’m interested in as well, and he sometimes jokes that by being with him I’m getting a free MFA.

I get to go with him when poets and novelists come to his school to read their work, I get to read the literature on his syllabus when he’s working on something else, and I get to have great conversations with him about writing.

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