Teaching & Learning Portal


PhD Supervisors

The relationship between an academic Supervisor and a research student is a unique one, which evolves over several years to achieve a number of objectives:

  • To provide the student with a thorough grounding in all aspects of research within the context of an academic discipline;
  • To prepare the student for a range of careers;
  • To create a learning experience that is intellectually challenging and personally fulfilling within a stimulating and supportive environment;
  • To ensure that students are able to complete their PhD in a timely manner.

The nature of the relationship means that academic Supervisors deal with a range of situations requiring a sensitive and informed approach. 

Sources of support

The UCL Doctoral School provides documentation to guide research student Supervisors through the regulatory framework.

All research student Supervisors should be familiar with the content entitled 'Essential Information' on the UCL Doctoral School website.

Your first point of reference and source of advice should be the Departmental Graduate Tutor.

If, however, a Supervisor or student has problems and feels unable to speak to their Departmental Graduate Tutor or Faculty Graduate Tutor, they can contact in confidence Ben Colvill at the UCL Doctoral School (ben.colvill@ucl.ac.uk).

The Good... Videos

This series of videos for universities has been made to support and develop the skills of doctoral students, with institutions including Birkbeck, University of London and the Open University. The full series is available to staff and students via the Doctoral School; the following two might be of particular interest to supervisors:

The PhD Survival Video discusses how the stress and pressure of a PhD can be made manageable. The new video offers practical advice for dealing with common problems and surviving.

The Good Supervision Video helps students to get the best from their supervisors, and can also help supervisors to develop their skills.

PhD Diaries

These diaries act as a useful resource to help PhD supervisors discuss and find solutions to various scenarios presented in the diaries. They present experiences for students, supervisors and examiners involved in the PhD process.

Each diary comes with a list of questions to help guide them through the problem-solving process. Supervisors may also wish to share these diaries with students who are facing similar problems.

Information on research supervision courses