Postgraduate resources

Find below useful information and resources for supervisors and current PhD students to support your study

Last updated: June 2024 

Detailed information can be found in the Postgraduate Research Student Handbook


Someone wants to do a PhD with me, what shall I do?

Think about whether you have capacity to take on a PhD student and if the student’s interests align with your areas of expertise. You may wish to correspond by email or meet with the student to find out more about them and their interests. If the student is self-funded, they will need to be interviewed by yourself, other potential supervisors and one of the graduate tutors. It is important not to make an offer to the student until you are clear that they will be a good fit and funding source is clear.

Accepting a student

How do you make an offer?

Once you have clarity about the student's funding source and feel confident that the student's research proposal and background are a good fit to your expertise, please email the PGR administrator (with a copy to the student, other relevant supervisors and DGTs) recommending an unconditional offer and a start date.  If, however, you recommend a conditional offer, please state clearly the conditions of the offer.  

How do you process a student?

PGR administrator will then issue a recommendation of your offer via UCL Portico stating the names of the supervisors, start date of the student's PHD studies and conditions of the offer, if applicable. Once the offer processed via Portico, the Admissions team will get in touch with the student about the offer letter and enrolment. 

Supervision and Thesis Committees

Along with many areas of UCL, the DoP introduced Thesis Committees (TC) in October 2019. These are basically expanded supervisory teams. All research students therefore must have: 

  • A Principal Supervisor, whose area of expertise is closely aligned with the student’s chosen research topic and who is responsible for directing their research training. 
  • A Subsidiary Supervisor, who is there to help assess progress, provide continuity of supervision and additional expertise. 
  • At least two additional supervisors with relevant academic experience, but who are not from the same team as the Primary Supervisor. These members may be UCL staff or external to UCL, but at least one of your subsidiary or additional supervisors should be a member of UCL academic staff.
  • Your Principal and Subsidiary supervisors will discuss the composition of your thesis committee when you start and this will be approved by one of the Graduate Tutors.

A thesis committee can provide a more rounded and objective measure of your performance, because some of its members will not be directly involved in your research. Meetings with your thesis committee will give you valuable experience of explaining your work to an “outside” audience and provides you with additional people from whom you can seek advice, independently from your Principal Supervisor. 

You will need to meet with your thesis committee at the following points, and for some you will need to complete written reports. You will also need to record these meetings in the Research Student Log by uploading your TC documents (see below). More detailed information on thesis committees and the requirements of each meeting can be found in the Appendix FAQsYour Principal Supervisor remains the main source of support and contact during your PhD.

Please send Thesis Committee Forms to the Departmental Graduate Tutors and PGR Administrator. 

Thesis committee meeting  

Written report  



Timing Full-time

Timing  Part time

TC Panel form

Yes (max 300 words)


1 month

1 month

TC1, Preliminary Research Plan  

Yes (~1,000 words) 


3 months   

6 months

TC2, 9 Months report 

Yes (~1,000 words) 


9 months 

15 months

TC3, Meeting 



18 months 

30 months

TC4, Meeting 



24 months 

39 months

TC5, Thesis outline 

Yes (plan of thesis) 


30 months

48 months

Are there form templates required for the Thesis Committe Meetings? 

Attached are templates for the following forms, required for the TC Meetings and Research Log.

  1. (TCPF)
  2. (TC1-PRP)
  3. (form TC1-EE)
  4. (PDP)
  5. (TC1-CL)
  6. (TC2-CL)
  7. (TC3-CL)
  8. (TC4-CL)
  9. (TC5-CL)
Are there particular things I should discuss in supervisory meetings?

The following checklist may be helpful to consider for discussion in supervisory meetings, particularly at the beginning:

  • Expectations about frequency of contact
  • Annual leave, working hours, and working from home arrangements
  • Reading lists or materials
  • Training and development plan
  • Timeline of work (short-term and/or long-term)
  • Publications plan and authorship
  • Conferences (abstract submissions, presentations, expenses)
  • Academic procedures/forms (e.g. upgrade)
  • Teaching and other activities
  • Funder terms and conditions
  • Career goals and plans
Is there any training to get the most out of supervisory meetings?

The UCL Doctoral Skills Development programme runs training sessions on supervisory relationships, for example “Getting the Most Out of Your Supervisory Relationship”, and confidential one-to-one problem-solving sessions. You can find the full list at UCL Doctoral Skills. They have also produced a video on ‘Good Supervision’ which you can view at www.ucl.ac.uk/gs/media/gsv.html (UCL log in required)

I am having issues with my supervisor/s, who do I contact?

If you are having any difficulties with your supervisors, you can speak to the Divisional Graduate Tutors (Joe Hayes or Naaheed Mukadam).

Upgrade from MPhil to PhD

Under UCL regulations, all PhD students at UCL are initially registered as MPhil students, and must go through the process of an upgrade from MPhil to PhD status.  For full-time research students, this happens between 9 and 18 months after initial registration, and for part-time students, this is between 15 and 30 months after starting. 

We adhere to the standard UCL expectations for upgrade in the DoP. This involves submitting an upgrade report, presenting your work and future plans to the department and taking part in an upgrade viva. 

You will have an upgrade viva which is chaired by your second supervisor plus an external upgrade examiner. Your second supervisor will arrange the upgrade viva and its examination panel in consultation with one of the Divisional Graduate Tutors (Joe Hayes or Naaheed Mukadam). Your external examiner cannot subsequently be appointed as your final examiner. 

You should prepare an upgrade report, which should be around 10,000 words. It is rarely acceptable for it to be more than 20,000 words. Your first supervisor will also prepare a report. Both these reports should be sent to your upgrade examiner a reasonable period before the viva so they have time to read them. Your second supervisor should agree these timescales with your upgrade examiner in advance. 

For the presentation, there are numerous regular academic meetings in the Division, and your supervisors will be able to suggest which is best for your presentation. The relevant forms can be found on the UCL Research Student Upgrade webpage

Examination Entry/Appointment of Examiners: 

You must submit a research degree examination entry form to Research Degrees at least four months prior to the submission of your thesis. These forms are valid for a period of 18 months. Please note that you must also submit an Appointment of Examiners form. Please ensure that a copy of both these forms is forwarded to the Graduate Tutors and PGR Administrator. UCL guidance on appropriate examiners is available on the doctoral website. Guidance on viva examinations for research degrees can be found at: http://www.grad.ucl.ac.uk/essinfo/. General examination regulations are available here: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/srs