Each PhD student is allocated at least two supervisors: a Director of Studies (DoS) and a second supervisor. The DoS typically leads the supervision and guides you through the research process from developing the initial topic right up to the submission and defence of the thesis at the viva voce exam. The second supervisor provides additional subject and/or methodological expertise and is more likely to be involved at specific stages of the research.
Having the right supervisors is important as you will be working closely with these scholars for the duration of the research project. We therefore take great care in identifying the right supervisory team for your project right from the start. Once we have received your Expression of Interest form, we allocate you a provisional DoS in your subject areas who will guide you in the preparation of the Research Proposal. On sucessful completion of the Research Proposal, we will confirm the full supervisory team who between them will have had several successful PhD completions as well as the necessary mix of subject and methodological expertise. In order to ensure that your research is supervised by experienced and subject-knowledgeable scholars, we only take PhD applications in specific topic areas (see Principal Areas of Research).
You will usually meet your supervisors once a month, and typically more often at critical stages such as designing the research methods or preparing for final submission. At the beginning of each academic year, you will agree with your supervisors an annual plan for your research which also includes research and skills development activities, any teaching you will undertake (usually only from year 2 onwards) and conference attendance and publication plans. Progress against the annual plan will be discussed throughout the monthly meetings and formal monitoring will take place about 9 months later.
Both you and your supervisors should keep records of your meetings, the action points agreed and progress against these. Your supervisor will keep a record of meetings on the university's e:vision system. You should also keep a record of your outputs such as draft chapters, internal and external conference papers, posters, data collection instruments etc as these will form part of the annual monitoring of your research progress; this way, we can ensure that you stay on track with your work.
Although your supervisors will be your first point of contact for most enquiries, each PhD student is also allocated a mentor who provides general and pastoral advice and support. The mentor is typically a colleague who has recently completed a PhD her/himself and is therefore familiar with the problems you may encounter in the course of your studies. In the normal course of events, you will meet your mentor for a face-to-face meeting once a year to ensure everything is on track.