Teaching & Learning


Professional recognition for doctoral supervisors, personal tutors and staff who support students

17 November 2023

The Arena Centre is delighted to open calls for colleagues wishing to participate in two professional recognition schemes through the UK Advising and Tutoring association (UKAT) and the UK Council for Graduate Education (UKCGE).


Personal tutors and colleagues who support and advise students

The United Kingdom Advising and Tutoring association (UKAT) is a body of professional practitioners and researchers interested in all aspects of student advising and personal tutoring in Higher Education in the UK.  

UKAT offers professional recognition for personal tutors, academic advisors and other staff involved in student support roles in Higher Education. The UKAT Professional Recognition Scheme is referenced against the UKAT Professional Framework for Advising and Tutoring. It provides independent recognition of effective practice and a measurable way to evidence the valuable work of tutors and advisors’ in supporting student success and makes them feel valued and recognised for performing this role effectively.  

The scheme offers three levels of recognition: 

Recognised Practitioner in Advising (RPA)

Aimed at front-line personal tutors and academic advisors, this level of recognition demonstrates individual understanding and application of a broad range of effective approaches in delivering high-quality personal tutoring/advising and support for student success.

Recognised Senior Advisor (RSA)

Recognition at this level demonstrates sustained effectiveness in student support through the organisation, leadership, or management of personal tutoring/academic advising. It is aimed at those with departmental or institutional responsibilities for leading and developing others in the implementation and delivery of effective personal tutoring/academic advising practices.

Recognised Leader in Advising (RLA)

Recognises a sustained record of impact on student success at a strategic level through the coordination and provision of personal tutoring/academic advising.  It is aimed at highly experienced tutors/advisors who can demonstrate impact at an institutional, national, or international level. 

Find out more about UKAT membership

UKAT offers a range of resources and development opportunities to support staff in their tutoring and advising roles. All UCL staff can join UKAT as an Affiliate member (If you click this registration link to join, please put your organisation as UCL rather than spelling it out completely). As an Affiliate member of UKAT you can gain direct access to all the member-only resources and information on their website, and you are also entitled to register as a member of any of the UKAT Special Interest Groups.

Doctoral supervisors

The UK Council for Graduate Education was established in 1994 and is the national representative body for postgraduate education and research. The UKCGE runs a Research Supervision Recognition Programme that offers a route to professional recognition specifically for supervisors of doctoral students. Since its launch in 2018/19, Arena have supported nearly 40 UCL supervisors to submit successful applications – the highest number of any UK university.  

The UKCGE offers two levels of professional recognition: as Recognised Supervisor, or as Recognised Associate Supervisor. The former is for supervisors who have led doctoral students through to successful completion, and the latter is for staff who have supported doctoral students in some way – through supervision, or in other ways – but have not led students through to successful completion of their studies.  

The application for both awards comprises an evidence-based reflective account of your practice aligned to the criteria of Good Supervisory Practice framework. The Recognised Supervisor award is approximately 5,000 words across ten sections, and the Recognised Associate Supervisor is half this amount. For both awards you will receive tailored support from the Arena Centre. 

Tailored support to apply for recognition

The support offered to applicants will differ slightly for the two schemes. 

Applicants applying for UKAT recognition will have up to a year to submit their final application, with four applications deadlines across the year. The supported pathway will begin in February 2024 with an aim for applications to July or October deadlines. 

The schedule will consist of regular cohort meetings which will include Q&A/touch points, peer sharing and review, and related-paper clubs. We will also run a series of half/full day writing sessions over the summer. 

Applicants applying for UKCGE recognition will choose between one of four cohorts. Two cohorts will work towards a deadline of 22 March 2024 and two will work towards a deadline in June 2024 (exact date tbc). Cohorts will meet regularly to discuss their supervisory experience, explore how to use it to evidence the UKCGE criteria, share challenges and best practice, engage with the literature and receive peer and tutor review on their draft applications. 

Application process and eligibility

We are offering 24 places on its UKCGE scheme and 15 places on its UKAT scheme through supported pathways.

To apply for the UKAT scheme, you should have at least one full year in a personal tutoring/advising role to be eligible for the UKAT scheme (including professional services staff in a student support role). 

The UKCGE scheme has two pathways and each has its own eligibility criteria: 

  1. Applicants for the Recognised Supervisor award must have supervised at least one doctoral candidate to completion as principal supervisor, AND must be currently supervising at least one UCL doctoral student as their principal supervisor.  

  1. Applicants for the Recognised Associate Supervisor award must have had a supporting role in doctoral supervision. This may be as a technician, or a researcher in a lab who helps doctoral students, or as a member of professional services. You may have held a formal role as subsidiary supervisor, but this is NOT a requirement. You must be currently supporting the work of UCL doctoral students in some capacity. 


UKAT shortlisting will recognise: 

  • Work or contributions to supporting undergraduate or taught postgraduate (masters) student success in areas of academic and professional development, and/or; 

  • Work or contributions to supporting undergraduate or taught postgraduate (masters) students in a pastoral capacity, or in supporting student transition into and our of UCL.  

If the UKCGE scheme is over-subscribed, priority will be given to applicants who can show more engagement in the areas covered by the criteria. To see the criteria for Recognised Supervisor and Recognised Associate Supervisor, please visit: https://supervision.ukcge.ac.uk/your-application/levels-of-recognition  


The deadline to apply is Thursday 14 December, by 12pm.

Click to register your interest [UCL login required]

Contact us

You will need to be signed into your UCL account to access this form. Please contact Peter Phillips for any questions about the schemes