I'd like to know what the word is to describe students under the same advisor in a graduate program, e.g. Ph.D or master's degrees. Students in the same department or school of the same year are called classmate.

I can not find this word in English even though it exists in some languages. For example, in Chinese, it is known as 师兄弟 or 师姐妹.

3 Answers 3


Several terms are understood

These terms are widely acceptable:

In a medical context (physicians, dentistry, etc.) postgraduates are called:

More variations

These will also be understandable:

  • ✔️ Yes: Dr. Black's dissertation students
  • ✔️ Yes: Dr. Orange's Ph.D. students

In a high school context, we called them "advisees", and occasionally referred to an advisee group meeting as "advisory".

  • 😐 Maybe: Dr. Smith's advisees
  • 😐 Maybe: Dr. Green's advisee group
  • 😐 Maybe: Dr. Brown's advisory
  • 😐 Maybe: Dr. White's advisory group
  • These are not good enough. For example, John and Jason are both PhD student under Prof Doe. How do we specify relation between John and Jason? Clearly, advisee is not enough since it only specifies relation between Prof Doe and John or Jason. But it can not specify relation between John and Jason, e.g. John is not an advisee of Jason and vice versa. So fellow student is better because it is fine to say that John is a fellow student of Jason or fellowmate of Jason.
    – E Zhang
    Commented Oct 8, 2019 at 15:26
  • 1
    fellowmate isn’t a well-recognized word. You can use “fellow” and any of the terms above. For example, “Alice, meet Bob, one of your fellow Ph. D. students,” said Dr. Orange. Commented Oct 9, 2019 at 8:23

Classmate usually means students who are in the same actual class, not just the same department. It can be used for students in the same school year, but usually only when refering to the past, often the far past (10 or more years ago).

I don't know of a specific term for graduate students who have the same advisor, and given that my father and grandfather were both University professors, as was my brother, I think I would know such a term if it existed.


Finally, I find the one in this case: fellow student.

  • 3
    By itself, fellow student doesn't clearly indicate that both students have the same advisor. But you could say fellow students of Prof. Higginbotham.
    – Ben Kovitz
    Commented Oct 7, 2019 at 5:56

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