Grad student dating undergrad

In an online discussion board, one graduate student notes that “it’s sort of a pain in the ass for everyone else to not be able to go into their workplace without getting sucked into someone else’s personal life.” Possible relationship scenarios are as varied as episodes of Grey’s Anatomy, and few have positive consequences for the professional workplace we should strive to achieve at Cornell.

Of course, graduate school is a time when many people meet their (first) spouse, and there are many examples of successful long-term relationships forged by graduate students in the same group or department (just as there are many successful long-term relationships between faculty and their students).

There are still situations where issues could arise - say, if you ended up on the panel choosing which grad student from the school would win a prize, and she were a candidate; or if you were asked to be the outside member of her thesis committee (at a school which picks outside members to be professors from other departments).

So, unless your school has a specific policy on the subject, it's probably ethical, as long as you make sure to avoid being in a position that creates a specific conflict.

(Grad school is broad, after all...) If you study social psychology and she studies sociology of groups, say, you might have too much overlap to ethically date: she might have to curtail her academic interests to avoid taking your classes.

(That said, it would be problematic on the other hand if you two developed an academic relationship with an unrevealed desire for a romantic relationship still lurking.) Also consider what would happen if you dated but broke up acrimoniously.Professor X hires a new student D, who previously dated her student E, but is now dating F in the lab next door.How will this impact D and E’s ability to deliver on their professional responsibilities to their professor and to the federal agencies (and taxpayers) that are supporting their graduate studies?conference social), it might be murky whether her interest/expectations are about professional networking or a romantic relationship (or, problematically, both at once). They created an infographic, available here:, NEVER date undergrads, and teachers shouldn't date any student "when a teacher has had -or might be expected ever to have-academic responsibility over the other party." ("Student" here includes grad student, postdoc, and clinical residents/fellows.) With what you know now, how much does your field fall within all the possible things she might think of studying?The Consensual Relationships Policy Committee has undertaken a long overdue revision of Cornell’s policies on romantic and sexual relations between faculty and students.These relations are fraught because of differences in power and experience, because they can involve serious conflicts of interest and because they can have disruptive effects on the functioning of and climate within our professional workplaces.You should check your school's HR handbook or department policy. If you don't violate their rules, and the relationship is mutually agreeable, best of luck to you both.I just ran across a publication from a very respected professor, at a very respected institution, who collaborates with his wife, also a professor at the same institution, and a co-author on the paper.At the very least, it needs to be documented that it exists, and there should be a formal plan for how this going to impact her progress.There also needs to be an acknowledgement in both your minds that this is a dynamic question - as your career and hers progress, it may be important to revisit the question and make sure no conflicts exist, and evaluate opportunities that come up in light of your relationship.


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