Your supervisor

As a PhD student in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, you will be allocated at least two named supervisors.

PGR student with supervisor

Most often, one of these members of staff will be your Primary Supervisor, who will take primary responsibility for your studies and will be your main point of regular contact.

Your Secondary Supervisor will be available for further consultation, and will also take responsibility for checking your progress through the Doctoral Development Programme. 

In some cases you may have more than two supervisors, or you may work with a team with joint and equal responsibility for your progress.

You will be further supported by the PGR Lead for your department, who may be called upon to discuss pastoral issues or any other difficulties which cannot be dealt with by your supervisors.

The relationship between a PhD student and supervisor is not static and most students find that, as they become more familiar with their field of research, they become less directly dependent on their supervisor.

Meetings with your supervisor 

Meetings between research students and supervisors should take place regularly. It is essential for written records of formal student-supervisor meetings to be made, either by the student or the supervisor, and for both to maintain a copy.

Notes of supervisory meetings need not be lengthy or detailed documents, but should record

  • the progress made on the project
  • key points discussed
  • any agreed actions or objectives to be achieved before the next meeting.

This is essential for both pedagogic reasons (i.e. to ensure the student’s understanding of points made by the supervisor) and to provide an accurate record of the supervisory sessions.

Supervisors can record student attendance at supervisory meetings using the University’s online PATS system. This system allows supervisors to share notes about the meeting with their PhD students.

Students can also take the lead in recording meetings. This is most easily done using the online student ePortfolio PebblePad. Again, PebblePad allows students to record a variety of research activities and to share these records with their supervisors.

In the early stages of your research you should discuss with your supervisor the type of guidance that will be most useful to you and any training required to meet the aims and needs of your research.

You will work with your supervisor to identify and select the best strategy to meet those aims and needs including completing a Training Needs Anaylsis form at the beginning of each year of your PhD.

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