Supervisory Arrangements and Changing your Supervisory Team

The University requires that you are supervised by a team consisting of at least two members with the appropriate research skills and knowledge. Where this is not practical, for example where one supervisor is based outside the university, one supervisor is acceptable provided that they also discharge the responsibilities of the academic supervisor outlined in detail in the Code of Practice.

There are different models of supervisory team within the University. In joint supervision, the supervisory responsibilities are shared equally between members of the supervisory team. In other styles of supervision, different members of the supervisory team may have different roles. There may be, for example, a lead supervisor and a co-supervisor responsible for a smaller element of the planned research; or a lead supervisor and an advisor responsible for, and able to deal with, general and pastoral responsibilities.

You are expected to have regular structured interactions with at least one member of your supervisory team at least 10 times per year, approximately monthly. In addition, you should have regular structured interactions with your full supervisory team at least 3 times per year, to report, discuss, and agree academic and personal progress.

If you are not able to meet these requirements for any reason, an equivalent schedule of contacts should be agreed by you and your supervisory team, using for example E-mail and videoconferencing.

For part-time students or those studying their programme by distance learning, regular structured interactions should be agreed that are equivalent to those for full-time students on a pro-rata basis.

If you are registered as ‘pending submission,’ ‘extended submission,’ or ‘under examination’ you should expect supervision to be reduced to approximately half the standard provision.

The University requires that all these formal interactions outlined above are recorded and the outcomes confirmed in your Research Training ePortfolio.

Supervisory Support

The "Guidelines on Good Practice in Research Supervision" and the "Guidelines for Research Students" (Part 4 of the Handbook for Research Students and Research Supervisors) cover in detail the relationship between the student and supervisor.

In general terms supervisory support can include:

  • Assistance with the choice of topic;
  • Critical and constructive feedback on the work produced;
  • Advice on the sources or literature used;
  • Guidance on the methodology or techniques used and the approach to data collection;
  • Discussion of evidence and results;
  • Reading drafts and commenting on issues of substance.

Supervisors will not:

  • Undertake the actual research itself;
  • Write or significantly redraft papers or chapters;
  • Conduct a detailed proof read of your thesis.

Changes to Supervisory Teams

Occasionally it may be necessary to make changes to your supervisory team where, for example, the academic focus of your research has altered, where supervisory responsibilities have changed, or where members of the supervisory team have left the employment of the University.

If this is the result of a temporary absence of a member of staff, other members of the supervisory team will continue your supervision with responsibilities being adjusted accordingly.

Where the members of the supervisory team are permanently changed you should normally be consulted in advance. The University will take all reasonable steps to replace supervisors with suitable alternatives and may extraordinarily include arrangements for supervisors to be from a different academic unit or even from outside the University. However, particularly where it is your choice to effect a change in your project or supervisory staff, it may not always be possible to provide suitable alternatives due to the specialist nature of doctoral study.

All supervisory changes must be reported to the Research Student Support Team / Medical Sciences Graduate School, and approved by the Dean of Postgraduate Studies using a “Change of Supervisor” application form.

Click here for a copy of the Change of Supervisor Application Form.