difficult word : 导师

May 17, 2012, 03:15 PM posted in General Discussion

The dictionary says 导师 means "tutor, teacher, academic adviser", but a big group of Chinese people told me that 导师 is a teacher with a Ph.D (博士) . 

So, what does 导师 mean exactly? How is it different than 老师, and are there any academic degree requirements to be a 导师?

I learned a long time ago that when I learn something new about Chinese, I have to confirm it at least once or twice with other sources/people because a lot of false information about Chinese is given out a lot  

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May 17, 2012, 07:35 PM

I think that both are right. A 导师 is someone who becomes an advisor to students in the university. Their roles are not only advising but also teaching. People at this level would naturally have a Ph.D.

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if you're curious, I wrote below Jiaojie's comment why I asked the question.


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May 18, 2012, 02:32 AM

"老师" means a normal teacher of any level: middle school, elementary
school, college etc.
"导师" is a teacher who advises students in college and graduate school
how to write their theses. A 导师 also teaches students, but they're
primarily responsible for advising students on their theses. Teachers
who become 导师 have to meet certain requirements, such as having a PhD,
having published a certain number or quality of articles or
publications, etc. You're not qualified to be a 导师 until you meet said
requirements and only then can you start taking on students in masters
or PhD programs.

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thank you so much for the explanation and confirming that a 導師 must have a Ph.D .

In the U.S., most academic counselors don't have doctorate degrees, and probably don't even have Master's degrees. I wanted to be clear that there is a distinction from from 導師 and "academic counselor", "tutor", and even "teacher". The truth is that one doesn't even need a college degree to be any of the other three things. I was a tutor in high school, a teacher in China before I had earned a college degree, and many of the counselors I had in college were students themselves