It's clear that you could reasonably use without using , but I'm confused as to how one would use without using as the advisor's job is to provide supervision (as seems to be noted in the description of ). How would you pick whether or not to use both or just one when referring to advisors?

For example, how would you tag a question like How to have productive meetings with Ph.D supervisor? (Context: I submitted an edit to add both tags to this question.)

2 Answers 2


Although I have not looked at the posts using each tag to see how the community has actually used them, I think it's important to note that one tag is and not supervisor.

The tag descriptions make it sound like they are overlapping, but I would argue that makes more sense in the context of a student asking how to interact with their advisor in some way (communicate something, choose an advisor, etc.) whereas seems more appropriate for an advisor asking about how to supervise their students.

Of course someone could also make an argument for the inverse.


I think the terms are used interchangeably here. Usage differs by field and by place, but both terms seem to be used by writers for the same thing. In some countries doctoral study is actually a job, so "supervisor" seems more natural. In others it is purely an academic relationship. I doubt that it is worth the effort to try to make a strong distinction as the writers will write what they write in any case.

  • 2
    Note that, say, a post-doc could supervise a PhD (or masters or undergrad) student, but would not be their advisor. While an advisor is a supervisor, the reverse does not necessarily hold.
    – Jon Custer
    Nov 13, 2018 at 20:12

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