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Research supervision at UCL

The UCL Doctoral School and UCL Arena Centre for Research-based Education can support you in your supervision of research students through resources and courses.

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. 

Resources for research supervision

Personal, real accounts of research supervision

PhD Diaries are real accounts of the experiences of students, supervisors and examiners involved in the PhD process.

These diaries act as a useful resource to help PhD supervisors discuss and find solutions to various scenarios presented in the diaries.

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.

Research supervision courses and training

Research student supervision is a core academic responsibility, requiring expertise in both teaching and research.

UCL aims to provide research supervision of very high quality and, to enable this, provide a support framework for academics who are responsible for research supervision.

Bespoke training

If you are interested in finding out about events tailored to the specific needs of your department, please email: arena@ucl.ac.uk.

Training courses available to book

The following courses are offered by the UCL Doctoral School and UCL Arena Centre for Research-based Education to support supervisors in their role and can be booked (when Available) through the UCL Arena events calendar.

An introduction to research student supervision

A mandatory session for all members of academic staff wishing to be appointed as Supervisors at UCL as well as new members of academic staff with experience of research supervision at other institutions. It is run by the Doctoral School and provides an introduction to:

  • UCL’s Regulations and Code of Practice
  • Doctoral School Support
  • UCL Procedures
  • Skills Development Requirements and Programme
  • Research Student Log
  • Factors for Successful Supervision; and
  • Further Research Supervision Training.

Please note that this course is a prerequisite to enrolment on all other courses about research supervision including the session Effective Research Supervision at UCL. 

Effective research student supervision at UCL

An intensive full-day workshop to enable new and experienced supervisors to learn new skills and generate insights and inspiration through teamwork and engagement.

Drawing on first hand narratives by doctoral candidates and supervisors we will share experiences and address challenges faced by supervisors in different disciplines at UCL. Topics will include:

  • The key features of the modern doctorate
  • Supervisors’ roles and responsibilities
  • Ensuring the student’s work meets the standard required
  • Successful completion within the funded period

Now in its eighth year this workshop has received enthusiastic feedback from many UCL academic staff, and a special version tailored to the needs of an individual department can be provided on request.

Introduction to examining research doctorates

This half-day session workshop is run by the Doctoral School and provides an introduction to UCL's procedures and guidelines for examining research doctorates, as well as preparation for examining at other institutions.

View events available to book in the UCL Arena events calendar.

To enable more direct focus on issues which are specific to a discipline and to the departmental context, CALT liaises with Professor John Wakeford in order to run workshops for UCL staff. If you are interested in this option, please contact our Evaluation and Schools Officer Peter Phillips (peter.phillips@ucl.ac.uk).

John is an external consultant with more than 20 years’ experience of running workshops for research student Supervisors at universities across the UK.