Accessibility statement

6. Responsibilities of research students and supervisors


The responsibilities of PGRs include:

  1. taking responsibility for their own personal and professional development, including, where possible, recognising when they need help and seeking it in a timely manner;
  2. maintaining (a joint responsibility with supervisors) regular contact with supervisors (both full-time and part-time PGRs are required to attend formal supervisory meetings at least every six to seven weeks and more frequently if a Graduate School Board prescribes);
  3. preparing adequately for meetings with supervisors and Thesis Advisory Panels, and for progression reviews;
  4. setting and keeping to timetables and deadlines, including planning and submitting required work and generally maintaining satisfactory progress with the programme of research;
  5. making supervisors aware of any specific needs or circumstances likely to affect their work;
  6. attending any development opportunities (research-related and other) that have been identified when agreeing their development needs with their supervisors;
  7. adhering to the University’s regulations, policies and guidance regarding PGR programmes, including those relating to health and safety, and intellectual property;
  8. conducting research with integrity, in accordance with the University’s policy framework (including the Code of practice and principles for good ethical governance, the Code of Practice on Research Integrity and the Research Data Management Policy) and any legal compliance and/or funder requirements;
  9. ensuring (a joint responsibility with supervisors) that appropriate ethical approval is obtained before research commences;
  10. maintaining records of their professional development.


The responsibilities of the main supervisor of a PGR include:

  1. introducing the PGR to the department, its facilities and procedures, and to other PGRs and staff;
  2. providing satisfactory advice and guidance on the conduct of the research and on the preparation of the thesis;
  3. monitoring the progress of the PGR’s research programme, reporting on progress to the departmental Graduate School Board, and ensuring the PGR is aware of the need to submit the thesis by the specified deadline;
  4. encouraging the PGR to participate fully in the planning of their research and to take personal responsibility for the decisions made;
  5. establishing and maintaining (a joint responsibility with the PGR) regular contact with the PGR, including during any periods in which the PGR is working on their research away from the University, and being accessible to the PGR to give advice;
  6. having input into the assessment of the PGR’s development needs, and ensuring that instruction is provided in research methods and other academic skills relevant to the PGR’s research;
  7. monitoring and supporting the PGR’s professional development (see section 9);
  8. providing timely, constructive and effective feedback on the PGR’s work and overall progress within the programme;
  9. ensuring that the PGR has a clear understanding of the need to exercise probity and to conduct research according to the University’s policy framework (including the Code of practice and principles for good ethical governance, Code of Practice on Research Integrity and the Research Data Management Policy) and any legal compliance and/or funder requirements, and of the implications of research misconduct;
  10. ensuring that, in the case of PGRs undertaking laboratory work, there is an appropriate level of supervision and monitoring, including regular checks on data-recording and notebooks and occasional checks on the day-to-day conduct of experiments;
  11. ensuring (a joint responsibility with the PGR) that appropriate ethical approval is obtained before research commences; 
  12. ensuring that the PGR is aware of relevant sources of advice within the University, including those relating to careers guidance;
  13. ensuring that they meet their responsibilities to the PGR under the University’s Health, Safety and Welfare Policy Statement and Arrangements;
  14. providing effective pastoral support and, where appropriate, referring the PGR to other sources of such support within the University. Also, monitoring a PGR's Student Support Plan (if applicable);
  15. helping and encouraging the PGR to interact with others working in the field of research (for example, encouraging the PGR to attend relevant conferences and supporting him/her in seeking funding for such events), and to keep themselves informed of developments within their subject;
  16. where appropriate, helping and encouraging the PGR to submit conference papers and articles to refereed journals;
  17. maintaining the necessary supervisory expertise;
  18. exercising sensitivity to the diverse needs of individual PGRs, including international PGRs and those with a disability.


Although supervisors may encourage their supervisees to seek advice on particular academic topics from other members of staff, the supervisor has the primary responsibility for directing the research to a satisfactory conclusion. It is, therefore, essential that the supervisor should approve the general content and planning of the research.