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You are here Staff Resources > Postgraduate Research Activities > Supervision

Research Supervision

Eligibility Criteria to Supervise Research Students:

  1. The Principal Supervisor must be a Professor, Associate Professor, Senior Lecturer, Lecturer or Senior Research Fellow, including those with Research and Clinical titles. Members of the academic staff on contract may be a Principal Supervisor, but in such cases a Co-Supervisor must also be appointed from among the permanent academic staff; A Co-Supervisor is not required for members of staff on contracts of indefinite duration or contracts which extend beyond the maximum period of the student’s registration (i.e., 2 years for a Masters, 4 for a PhD).
  2. In circumstances where the nominated Principal Supervisor of an incoming student is due to take a leave of absence/sabbatical during the first year of the student’s registration, that supervisor should not be appointed unless the relevant Director of Teaching and Learning (Postgraduate) is satisfied that the nominated Principal Supervisor or an appointed Co-Supervisor will be in a position to provide adequate and effective supervision to the student in question during the leave of absence period. In such circumstances, it is necessary that a thesis committee be established for the relevant student prior to their registration.

  3. The Co-Supervisor must be a Professor, Associate Professor, Senior Lecturer or Lecturer, including those with Research and Clinical titles. Members of the academic staff on contract may be a Co-Supervisor, but only if they are on a contract of indefinite duration or a contract which extends beyond the maximum period of the student’s registration (i.e., 2 years for a Masters, 4 for a PhD).

  4. A Research Fellow or a contract academic staff member who holds a Ph.D. degree or equivalent may be nominated as an Assistant Supervisor.

  5. A visiting academic, a part-time non-permanent member of the academic staff, or an emeritus staff member listed in the University Calendar may be nominated as an Adjunct Supervisor. A case may be made to the Dean of Graduate Studies for the appointment of an adjunct supervisor external to College on an honorary basis. The adjunct supervisor may not necessarily be from a university background; e.g., they could be from a company (perhaps in a research role) or cultural agency. However, in this case a CV must be submitted along with a description of their proposed contribution to the supervision of the student.

Exceptionally, and only after consultation with the Dean of Graduate Studies, other categories of individuals may be nominated to one of these supervisory roles.

Please note that any proposed changes in supervision arrangements must be notified to, and approved by the Office of the Dean of Graduate Studies.

Copies of the required forms and Supervision Guidelines are available in the sections below.

Supervisor - Research Student Agreement

The Supervisor - Research Student Agreement aims to support the development of a productive and positive relationship between the Supervisor and the research student. The agreement fosters a shared understanding of goals and promotes open communication, providing a platform for addressing concerns and resolving issues.

The agreement consists of four parts:

  1. Academic Development
  2. Managing the Relationship
  3. Professional Development
  4. Wellbeing and Health

Each part outlines the roles and responsibilities of both parties and clarifies their academic, research, professional and personal expectations of one another.

The final section, the Record of Agreement, is where both supervisor and student agree on the frequency and format of meetings, methods of recording the actions, the expectations about teaching or demonstrating, timing of the annual reviews, the modules the student should take before their confirmation interview and set the date for the follow up meeting to review the existing arrangements. Both Supervisor and student sign the agreement and keep the signed copy locally.

How should the Agreement be used?

  • Supervisor and student should meet within eight weeks of registering to go through the Agreement, discuss and agree relevant points and compile the summary section which set the framework for their collaboration.
  • The agreement is a menu of possible discussion points.
  • The supervisor and student are encouraged to negotiate, discuss, and add any relevant elements before the document is signed.
  • The template may be adapted, if required, for individual research projects to fit their individual needs.

The Agreement was approved by University Council for implementation on a pilot basis in 2023-24. If you would like to find out more or take part in the pilot, please email

Forms and Templates

Guidelines and Resources

If you have any questions please contact the Administrative Officer in Graduate Studies or check for answers on our FAQ page.