PhD Supervision

A healthy student/supervisor relationship is imperative for the successful completion of the Ph.D. To this end, both parties must ensure they are aware of and fulfil their specific responsibilities.

The Department is committed to fostering a productive and positive atmosphere for all of its students. Should issues arise between a student and his or her supervisor, there are mediation procedures in place at the Department, School and University levels to resolve such conflicts.

Responsibilities of Students

The student must keep in regular contact with the supervisor and inform him or her on the progress of the research. The student should meet the supervisor for discussions, to submit written work, and to perform other academic exercises (for example attending and contributing to the Departmental Monday Colloquium).

The student must make every effort to carry out work and complete tasks according to the timetable negotiated with the supervisor. The student should inform the supervisor of anything that might impede his or her ability to complete an agreed programme of work on schedule, so as to avoid bringing problems to the Department at a late stage.

The essential point to remember is that the Department is eager to help the student in relation to almost any problem that might arise, and will do everything possible to provide guidance and assistance given good notice and the necessary information.

Responsibilities of Supervisors

A supervisor must be accessible to the student for academic help and advice throughout the progress of the research and the final preparation of the thesis. The supervisor will negotiate and monitor a timetable for the submission of work. Supervisors will do everything they can to provide careful analysis and constructive criticism of all work submitted to them in a timely fashion, and to make themselves available for discussions with students.

Resolving Conflicts

Although rare, problems may arise between supervisor and student. In these cases, it is important for students to know what to do. In the first instance, the student and supervisor should meet informally to discuss the issue and attempt to resolve it in a balanced manner.

If an informal discussion of the issue fails to yield a solution, then the student should write a letter to the supervisor setting out the problem in more formal terms and send a copy of the letter to the Departmental Director of Postgraduate Studies (in exceptional circumstances a student may be unwilling to commit such problems to paper, in which case a meeting should be sought with the School's Director of Teaching and Learning (Postgraduate).

If the supervisor is still unable to offer a satisfactory solution to the problem as set out in the letter, then the Director of Teaching and Learning (Postgraduate) will meet both parties individually and attempt to negotiate a solution.

If the student or supervisor is unwilling to accept the solution negotiated by the Director of Teaching and Learning (Postgraduate), then there is no alternative but to take the matter up with the Dean of Graduate Studies and implement the procedures set out in the University Calendar.