Finding a Research Supervisor

A number of postgraduate degrees in the Faculty consist principally of a single research project. These degrees are the PhD, the MD (for medically-qualified candidates only), the MPhil and the DDS (for dentists). Assuming that you have the required academic qualifications and that you can meet the required standards in English language: the next challenge is to find a suitable supervisor for your research project.

All potential supervisors in the Faculty of Medical Sciences have active research programmes and the topic which you choose must almost certainly fit within these programmes - it is unlikely that a supervisor will be willing/able to supervise a project which does not fit in with his/her own research interests. In fact, it would not be in your interest to try to carry out a research project with a supervisor who is not qualified or enthusiastic enough about a topic to provide you with the support and guidance which you need.

Identify a Topic / Supervisor before you apply

Before applying, you may already have identified a research supervisor whose interests cover the topic which you wish to study. If so, you should either contact him/her by e-mail and/or indicate this on your application form. If you do this, your application will be directed to that supervisor for consideration when it is received in the Graduate School .

Identify a Research Area

Researcher using microscope

The second approach to finding a project is used if you know the area of science which interests you, but you have not identified a project or supervisor. In this case you should briefly describe your research interests in your application.

For example, you might indicate that you are interested in cancer research. That is fine, but what aspect?

  • Do you want to work on a specific cancer?
  • Do you want to do molecular studies or epidemiology?
  • Do you want to work on clinical samples or on cells in culture?

The more information you give, the easier it is to find a possible supervisor and project.

However, at this stage, it is not necessary to give full details of a project, indeed that may be unhelpful as there may not be a supervisor who can supervise the specific project you outline. The more flexible you are in the topic you wish to study, the more likely it is that we can offer you a place.

Based on the information you provide, the Graduate School will attempt to find an appropriate supervisor for your studies. A potential supervisor may e-mail you to clarify your interests and discuss possible projects, but the exact details of the project may indeed not be finalised until you have arrived in Newcastle and discussed the project with your supervisor.