Information for supervisors of PGR students

The relationship between a student and their supervisory team is a critical one. This page signposts information and guidance for supervisors and departments.

Code of Practice for Research Degree Programmes

The Code of Practice for Research Degree Programmes contains a wide range of information required by PGR students, supervisors and departments from the point of registration on to a higher degree by research, to the point of award.

  • Registration and fees
  • Change of status and time limits
  • Research, including ethical approval and research governance issues
  • Supervision, including the responsibilities of the student, supervisor and department
  • Academic progress
  • Work outside the degree and holiday entitlement
  • Thesis preparation, submission and examination

View the Code of Practice

Useful guidance and publications

Doctoral Development Programme (DDP)

The Doctoral Development Programme (DDP) is a flexible, ongoing training plan that is a compulsory part of every research degree and can be tailored to a student's individual needs. It helps them progress through their research studies by identifying the skills and experience that they already have, and then providing opportunities to enhance these skills and to acquire new ones. This training may be provided through attending modules offered within departments or elsewhere in the University.

The DDP is not only about formal courses and classes however. Development is also about gaining different forms of experience, such as participating in research events, networking, or focusing on particular aspects of presentation and study skills. At the end of their studies, students should have acquired transferable skills that will not only make them a successful researcher but also extend your options for employment more broadly.

As a supervisor, it is your responsibility to help your students decide what research training is most appropriate, both at the start of their degree and as they progress, using tools such as the Training Needs Analysis Form (TNA) and Development Plan. 

DDP Portal

DDP Guidance for Supervisors

Research ethics and integrity issues

Supervisors have the privilege and responsibility of guiding PGR students, and an essential part of this is setting clear expectations in terms of professionalism, integrity and good research practice. This can include: having discussions with students about key principles like accuracy, honesty and openness; discussing key issues such as how to obtain ethics approval, or about what constitutes authorship of a paper; and encouraging students to have regular, open discussions about research ideas, or the accuracy/reliability of data and results.

The Research Ethics and Integrity pages provide details of the University's expectations in these areas, and a range of supporting guidance including an online self-assessment quiz to help supervisors refresh their understanding of professional standards of research integrity.

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Essential and desirable practices in the management of PGR students

Diversity, innovation and different disciplinary practices within PGR provision are viewed as a strength of the University. However, at the same time, the University seeks to ensure that minimum 'essential' practices are universally applied, whilst promoting the adoption of 'desirable' practices. These essential and desirable practices were agreed as an outcome of in-depth conversations with all departments on the subject of PGR provision. They are also integrated into the Code of Practice for Research Degrees.

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Guidance on investigating the use of unfair means

It is fundamentally important that students are assessed fairly, and on equal terms with each other for the same award. Any attempt to use unfair means to gain advantage over another student in the completion of an assessment, or to assist someone else to gain an unfair advantage, is seen as cheating. This undermines the standards of the University's awards and disadvantages those students who have attempted to complete assessments honestly and fairly.

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Procedures for dealing with unsatisfactory progress

If a supervisor has concerns as to the academic progress of a student that the department has not been able to satisfactorily resolve there are formal processes and regulations that enable the University to formally review the student’s unsatisfactory progress on grounds specified in the General Regulations as to Progress of Students. This process is primarily to determine whether the student should be allowed to continue with their programme of research and if so, under what conditions.

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Personal and pastoral support for PGR students

What arrangements should your department have in place to provide personal and pastoral support for your PGR students? The role of personal tutor is pivotal to supporting and guiding students towards becoming independent researchers and reaching their full potential. Guidance and support is available to supervisors.

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Supervisor Continuing Professional Development (CPD)

From 2021, all PGR supervisors will need to engage with ongoing professional development as a mandatory requirement of their roles, forming part of a license to supervise. Three different routes of professional development will be available as appropriate to PGR supervisors, based on their level of expertise and experience.

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Information on resources and events to support excellence in doctoral supervision

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'Supervising Doctoral Studies' Online Course

An online course that provides flexible, engaging training to equip both new and more experienced PhD supervisors with the knowledge and skills to effectively support doctoral candidates.

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Supervisor Search Tool - Allowing staff to update/add a new profile

The Supervisor Search Tool enables prospective PhD students to find supervisors based upon their research interests and is available on the main Prospective Postgraduate website. All academic staff have a profile, and staff can edit their profiles to improve the reliability of the search results.

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Who to contact?

Research Services provides support for supervisors of postgraduate research students on the following areas:

  • Postgraduate research student progression, examination and award
  • Doctoral Development Programme
  • Development and approval of new higher degree programme proposals, including collaborative provision
  • Co-ordination and administration of scholarship schemes (University and Research Council)
  • Supporting the professional development of researchers and supervisors

Contact us

A number of other professional service departments provide services and support for PGR students: