Responsibilities of the department

An outline of each department's responsibilities towards PGR students.

  • Each department should have a PGR Lead, who is a senior member of staff responsible for coordinating postgraduate research within the department. Their role should be formalised to support students and supervisors, as well as developing policy and liaising with faculty. The department should ensure that all students are aware of the contact details and responsibilities of their PGR Lead and any other support staff at induction.
  • The department should provide all research students with an appropriately constituted supervisory team, in accordance with the University's requirements.
  • The department should provide new research students with the details of a contact (usually the supervisor) who will meet them on their arrival at the University.
  • The department should ensure that supervisors engage
    appropriately with mandatory supervisor Continuing
    Professional Development activities, in line with University
    requirements and take follow-up action on non-completion, where appropriate.
  • The department should provide supervisors with a simple form to record supervisory progress meetings.
  • The department should provide new students with written information on current research areas of staff and research students in the department; available facilities and students' entitlement to make use of them; departmental personnel (including technical and administrative staff), procedures and services relevant to their study; out of hours access; guidelines on the expected frequency of contact between student and supervisor and length of formal supervisory sessions; departmental procedures for monitoring progress, Confirmation Review and Submission Review; details of postgraduate representatives on departmental committees.
  • The department should maintain a file for each student, which should contain relevant information on the student's academic progress, e.g. supervisory meeting notes and formal assessments of progress, as well as information relating to the student's academic and personal and professional skills development.
  • It is a requirement that the department should make arrangements for the provision of alternative supervision if the supervisor is absent for more than the length of time between supervisory meetings, or leaves the University, and should inform Research, Partnerships and Innovation of the new arrangements at the earliest opportunity.
  • The department should ensure that procedures are in place to monitor the attendance and engagement of all students, to comply with the University's Student Attendance and Engagement Monitoring Policy and government requirements in respect of international students.
  • The department must ensure that students have adequate facilities with which to pursue their research effectively. Departments should aim to provide facilities appropriate to the research to be undertaken.  Requirements will vary between departments and different types of research or stages of the research degree. Alternative arrangements should be made when equipment breaks down or when there is a shortage of specialised equipment, to minimise the delay to the student.
  • The department must ensure that students are aware of the relevant Health and Safety regulations.
  • The department should ensure that it has transparent written procedures for the Confirmation Review process that are provided to students at induction and that Confirmation Review takes place within the first year of a student's registration.
  • The department must ensure that students undertaking teaching duties receive appropriate induction and support, and that they are given adequate instruction in the use of teaching equipment. Teaching and other duties to be undertaken by students should be specified in writing in advance, including the rate of pay and the number of hours to be undertaken.
  • The department should provide information on new procedures relating to research degree programmes and opportunities to spread good practice, e.g. via an annual seminar or forum for all supervisors, experienced and new, as part of their Continuing Professional Development programme for research supervisors.
  • The department should provide a mechanism for students to give confidential feedback on supervision and ensure that students are aware of how to do this.
  • Where complaints are made about the quality of supervision these should be raised with the supervisors concerned and responded to appropriately, in line with the University’s complaints procedure. Depending on the circumstances, it may be considered appropriate to appoint an additional or replacement supervisor, but this decision normally rests with the Head of Department.
  • Where numbers of research students are low, departments should investigate ways of providing inter-departmental/faculty social and networking opportunities for students.
  • Departments that do not currently run a mentoring scheme for new students should investigate whether such a scheme would be appropriate for their students.