The University of Southampton

Your supervisor role

 As a supervisor you are critical to the success of your research students. The roles and responsibilities of being a supervisor are outlined in paragraphs 37 to 47 of the Code of Practice; you should look at this for a full account your obligations. You need to remember that:

  • You are part of a supervisory team, never a lone supervisor. All supervision teams must have at least one experienced supervisor who has previously supervised a doctoral student to completion.
  • You might be the coordinating supervisor responsible for the administrative processes or the main supervisor responsible for supervising the student and the research design. Often these roles are combined. You may alternatively be an additional supervisor, providing specialist subject or methods expertise or being mentored as a new supervisor.  Details of supervisory administrative processes can be found in the Supervisor Admin Guide.  Details of the new regulations (formal progression milestones and timelines) for PGR students commencing 1 August 2016 onwards can be found here.
  • You should know your role and whatever it is, be in regular contact with the student who should be able to rely on you for academic and pastoral support.
  • You can get additional support yourself from the Director of Doctoral Programmes, the Director of the Faculty Graduate School or the Faculty Graduate School Office.
  • As a supervisor you will be research active and have substantial research experience, including publications, and expertise in the student’s research area. You will normally have your own PhD.
  • To ensure that the quality of supervision is not adversely affected, the supervision workload for anyone supervising a students in FSHMs is 6.0FTE and 10 students in total. All supervisors are expected to undertake regular training to remain up-to-date with changes in the regulations.
  • You or the student can request a change in the supervisory team but this must be discussed and formally agreed by the Director of the Faculty Graduate School. 
  • You are not expected to provide supervision when a student is on nominal registration, but you should still: be responsive to questions, check the final thesis before submission, and provide pre-viva support including a mock viva if desirable.


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