Roles and Responsibilities of Research Students and Supervisors

The roles and responsibilities of research students and supervisory teams are described in the Regulations Governing Research Degree Programmes.
Communicating the Roles and Responsibilities of Research Students and Supervisors

The supervisory team and the research student must establish at an early stage a clear understanding as to the responsibilities of the supervisory team and the relation of these to the responsibilities of the student.

Responsibilities of Research Students

The research student has primary responsibility for the direction and progress of their research and for the delivery of a thesis of an appropriate standard within the relevant maximum registration period.

The research student is expected to adopt a professional approach to the research degree programme, including:

  • good timekeeping
  • observing deadlines
  • reading and responding to communications from the supervisory team and other members of the University
  • taking responsibility for their own skills and career development

The responsibilities of the research student include:

  • completing initial registration and any subsequent re-registration as required and, in the case of international research students, complying with all relevant immigration requirements
  • making themselves familiar with relevant policies and procedures – in particular, with the Senate Regulations and the Code of Conduct for Research
  • developing an appropriate research plan that will enable submission of the thesis for examination within the relevant maximum registration period
  • managing and sustaining progress in accordance with the agreed research plan, including the submission to the supervisory team of interim work as required
  • recognising when they need help and taking the initiative in raising any concerns and problems as early as possible with the supervisory team or the Postgraduate Tutor
  • complying with all relevant requirements with respect to intellectual property
  • making time at the start of the research degree programme to discuss with the supervisory team the nature of research, the standard of work expected of research students, and the respective roles and responsibilities of the research student and the supervisory team
  • confirming with the supervisory team how supervision will work in practice and clarifying their own preferences with respect to the type of supervisory guidance needed and the ways in which this might be provided
  • maintaining regular contact with the supervisory team and taking the initiative in agreeing with the supervisory team a mutually acceptable schedule for formal supervisory meetings
  • attending formal supervisory meetings as scheduled and making appropriate arrangements if it is not possible to attend a scheduled supervisory meeting
  • reflecting on and responding to feedback and guidance provided by the supervisory team at formal supervisory meetings
  • preparing and keeping an agreed written record of each formal supervisory meeting
  • complying with the University’s requirements for formal progress reviews
  • undertaking appropriate skills and career development training
  • maintaining a record of completed skills and career development activities and reviewing and revising their training plan as appropriate
  • providing the supervisory team with a complete final draft of the thesis by a mutually acceptable date in sufficient time before the required submission date for the supervisors to read and comment on
  • reflecting on and responding to feedback and guidance provided by the supervisory team with regards to the final draft of the thesis
  • ensuring that the thesis complies with all relevant regulations, including those on word length, format, and binding
  • making appropriate preparations for the viva voce examination and attending the examination as required by the examining team
  • complying with all thesis final submission requirements – submission of one hard bound copy of the thesis to the Doctoral College Office and one electronic copy of the thesis to the University Library
Responsibilities of Supervisors

The supervisory team must ensure that the research student is in no doubt as to what shall be required of them. In particular, it must be emphasised that the thesis must be the research student’s own work and that, within the supervisory framework, the student is responsible for planning and managing their work and for developing their own ideas.

The supervisory team and the research student must establish at an early stage a clear understanding as to the responsibilities of the supervisory team, the relation of these to the responsibilities of the student, and the supervisory team’s role in relation to the preparation and development of the student’s written and other work. That understanding must cover the nature of guidance or comment that the supervisory team will offer within the general principle that the thesis must be the research student’s own work.

The supervisory team should ensure that the research student is familiar with relevant Senate Regulations and the Code of Conduct for Research and provide the research student with guidance on:

  • the nature of research and standard expected
  • the requirements of the degree for which they are registered
  • the planning of the research programme
  • literature and sources
  • obligations with respect to taught components and/or skills and career development training
  • required research techniques and methodologies
  • the need to develop oral and written communication skills
  • academic honesty and drawing attention to relevant regulations, including those relating to plagiarism

The responsibilities of the supervisory team include:

  • monitoring the progress of the student’s research through regular formal supervisory meetings and ensuring that the research student keeps an agreed record of these meetings
  • being accessible at mutually convenient times when the research student may need advice
  • giving detailed advice on the necessary completion dates of successive stages of the work so that the thesis can be submitted within the relevant maximum registration period
  • emphasising the importance of timely submission of the thesis in terms of good academic practice and in relation to the requirements of the University
  • requesting draft or preliminary written and other work as appropriate and returning such work with constructive criticism and within a reasonable time
  • arranging, as appropriate, for the research student to present their work to staff and students, bearing in mind the demands of the viva voce examination
  • ensuring that the research student is made aware of any concerns about their progress or the standard of their work and ensuring that the Head of Department and the Postgraduate Tutor are notified in writing if there are any concerns about the research student’s progress or ability to achieve the degree for which they are registered
  • reading and commenting on the whole of the final draft of the thesis, provided that this is presented within a reasonable and agreed timeframe, and ensuring that the research student is aware that the thesis must comply with all relevant regulations, including those on word length, format, and binding
  • notifying the research student, the Head of Department, and the Postgraduate Tutor if they have concerns about the quality of the thesis to be submitted for examination
  • liaising with the Postgraduate Tutor and the Doctoral College Office to ensure that regulations are appropriately applied

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