Teaching & Learning


Research supervision

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

Role of a Research supervisor at UCL

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

The relationship between a supervisor and a research student is a unique one with a range of responsibilities, including: 

  • Providing students with a thorough grounding in all aspects of research within the context of an academic discipline 
  • Creating a learning experience that is intellectually challenging and personally fulfilling 
  • Providing timely and constructive feedback on research design, methodology and writing 
  • Offering encouragement and ongoing support for both academic and non-academic challenges as appropriate 
  • Supporting students to disseminate their research 
  • Preparing students for a range of careers 
  • Monitoring students’ progress and ensuring that they are able to complete their doctorate in a timely manner. 

At UCL all students have at least two supervisors, typically a Principal and Subsidiary, but there are many models of co-supervision. Increasingly, students may be part of a Thesis Committee, which can involve three or more supervisors taking on different roles and responsibilities. 

Research supervision sits within a wide infrastructure of support for research students provided by teams, including the UCL Doctoral School, UCL Student Support and Wellbeing, UCL Organisational Development, UCL Careers and others. 

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

See below for details of training and resources available to help you provide high quality research supervision.  


Audience watching presentation

Research supervision training and development

An overview of the professional development courses and workshops available for staff responsible for research supervision.

Person writing notes at an Arena event

Research supervision resources

Curated resources to support you in your research supervision role. 

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Gain professional recognition for doctoral research supervision

Apply for recognition of your doctoral supervisory practice through UK Council for Graduate Education.