Conversations with your personal tutor: postgraduate taught students

There’s a lot to pack into a one-year Masters degree, making regular contact with your personal tutor vital to your chances of success.

To help you get the most from your regular progress meetings with your personal tutor, we have created this brief overview of the type of topics you’ll be discussing during your postgraduate year at UCL. If you like to talk, you may not need it, but it’s always useful to have something to fall back on if ever you’re lost for words.  Read the questions and think about your answers. The open-ended questions, which your tutor may use to form the basis of your conversations.You can also download a printed version of this guide.

Early days

  • Why did you choose UCL? 
  • What do you feel makes your programme distinctive?
  • Do you have a particular destination or career in mind or are you hoping that UCL will help shape your ideas?
  • Do you have any particular concerns that you’d like to address now?
  • Are you clear about your academic programme for the first term? Is there any information you need, or anything you’d like to know more about?
  • Do you understand how personal tutoring is organised in your programme?
  • What do you think you can expect from your personal tutor and what can your personal tutor expect from you?
  • Do you know about the resources and opportunities available to support you?
  • Are you thinking about further study beyond your Masters? If so, do you know when the application deadlines are and how to prepare for them?

Support and wellbeing

  • Are you finding all the course materials acces­sible to you?
  • Any issues with physical access on campus?
  • Do you know the procedure if you miss any classes due to illness?
  • Do you know what to do if you think you might need an extension to a coursework deadline?
  • Looking ahead to the exam period, have you applied for any reasonable adjustments you might need?

Getting feedback

  • Have you had any informal feedback on your work, including contributions to discussions, seminars, labs? What did you learn?
  • Have you had any formal feedback yet on your work? If so, what have you learned and what actions will you take forward as you continue to study?
  • What kind of feedback do/would you find most useful?
  • Do you have any questions about your feedback?
  • Are you making use of other opportunities to seek feedback eg. via Moodle or during office hours?
  • How confident do you feel about using the cor­rect referencing style for your subject(s)?
  • Are you confident that you understand what plagiarism is and how to avoid it?

Mid-course concerns

  • How have you found the year so far? What aspect have you found most intellectually stimulating?
  • What have been the highlights?
  • What have been the hardest parts? How have you managed those?
  • Are there any particular skills you have identified as important for this year, such as project management, research skills, essay-writing techniques, presentation skills, or working as part of a team? Do you know where to get help with these?
  • Have you begun work, or preparation, for your research project? What research have you done so far?
  • Are you attending – and perhaps even contributing to – events, talks or research seminars in your department?
  • Have you started looking at applications for further study or employment?

Planning your career

  • How developed are your plans for future em­ployment?
  • Have you contacted the Careers Service and attended departmental/Faculty events focusing on future career opportunities?
  • Have you used any of the professional teams at UCL, such as library services, or student support and wellbeing?
  • Do you have a CV prepared?
  • What are you planning to do in the coming months to make your CV stronger?

Final thoughts

  • How is your research project going?
  • Has the supervision been useful?
  • What would you change about the project work if you could?
  • Do you have any recommendations for UCL concerning future students taking the same course as you?
  • Where do you want to be in five years’ time?
  • Do you envisage having an ongoing relationship with UCL? What could that look like?