Accessibility statement

Supervising research students

Supervisors play a fundamental role in supporting research students throughout their programme. The University provides resources to help you support your students and be confident in your role as a supervisor.

Sign up to the Graduate Research School Internal Comms Google Group for the monthly newsletter and key updates for staff working with research students:

Graduate Research School Internal Comms Group

Supervisor training

The Being an Effective Supervisor Tutorial (BEST) provides supervisors with information to support research students through the PhD process, from registration to award. It includes a range of resources and links, some of which may also be useful in supporting masters students.

BEST is divided into sections covering: 

  • The PhD process: regulations, policy and progression
  • Approaches to supervision and building effective relationships
  • Supporting welfare (student and supervisor)
  • Information, digital and writing skills
  • Professional development and careers
  • Completing the research degree

Access BEST via the Learning Management System

PGR supervisor briefings

Recognising the many demands on time, these new 90 minute PGR supervisor briefings replace the one day supervisory masterclass and are intended for staff from all faculties who are keen to expand and enhance their research supervisory practice. Book on one or more sessions:

  • The PhD process: regulations, policy and progression
    Wednesday 30 October 2019, 11am-12.30pm
  • Approaches and models of supervision
    Thursday 28 November 2019, 1.30pm-3pm
  • Supporting PGR student welfare and wellbeing
    Thursday 30 January 2020, 10am-11.30am
  • Information and digital skills
    Wednesday 26 February 2020, 2pm-3.30pm
  • Professional development and careers
    Wednesday 29 April 2020, 10am-11.30am
  • Completing the PhD
    Wednesday 20 May 2020, 2pm-3.30pm

Book your place on a PGR supervisor briefing

If you have any questions, contact

Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice (PGCAP)

Training for new supervisors is available as part of the Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice (PGCAP). Teaching staff with less than three years experience are expected to complete the PGCAP. Other staff may apply with consent from their department.

Teaching and Supporting Learning in Higher Education (TSLHE)

If you do not intend to complete a PGCAP, Teaching and Supporting Learning in Higher Education (TSLHE) is a 20-credit Masters-level module designed for research staff who have taken on a teaching role. The course is delivered over a 12-month period starting each September.

Student support and progression

Support and progression

You are your student's first point of contact for queries about support and progression. You should be familiar with the associated processes and expected outcomes.

Visit the staff academic progress pages for information about:

  • Holding supervisions and TAP meetings
  • Formal Reviews of Progress or Confirmation of Enrolment (depending on the student's start date)
  • Disruption of studies

Research Student Administration can answer any queries you may have.

Monitoring your student's progress

As a supervisor you are responsible for monitoring your student's academic and professional progress.

Log in to SkillsForge to review your supervisee's supervision and training records. Quick start guides for students and supervisors are available below.

Professional Development Plan
Research students - just like undergraduates - need to prepare for their future careers. Students are required to create a Professional Development Plan (PDP) to help develop and keep track of their skills and abilities. You should discuss PDPs at supervisory meetings and as part of the Progression process.

Appointing external examiners

SkillsForge Quick Start Guides

TAP guidance:

Formal Reviews of Progress:

Research integrity

The University expects all research undertaken in its name and on its premises using its facilities to be carried out to the highest standards of conduct. Ensure your supervisee is aware of:


Supervising and managing researchers
Vitae resources for supervisors and research students.

Enhancing practice in research supervision
UK Council for Graduate Education (UKCGE) guide to enhance supervisory practice.

Taught student supervisor resource
Information and advice on good practice in supervision. Please be aware that the information in this resource relates to taught students and may not apply to research students.