Teaching & Learning


Research supervision training and development

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

UCL aims to provide research supervision of very high quality. To enable this, the UCL Arena Centre provides a programme of support for all staff who are responsible for research supervision.

The core programme is divided into three stages.

  1. An introduction to research supervision at UCL (mandatory for all staff wishing to be newly appointed as a UCL research supervisor) 
  2. Developing as a doctoral supervisor (mandatory for staff wishing to be newly appointed as a UCL research supervisor without prior doctoral supervisory experience)
  3. Ongoing professional development for research supervisors (not mandatory)

Are you eligible to supervise?

Information about eligibility to supervise is available in the UCL Academic Manual Chapter Five (scroll down to Supervisor Guidance). Please contact your Departmental/PGR Administrator or Departmental Graduate Tutor for further support. 

    1. An introduction to research supervision at UCL (mandatory for all)

    Format: Self-led online course

    Aimed at: This course is mandatory for all members of UCL staff wishing to be appointed as research supervisors at UCL, including new members of staff with experience of research supervision at other institutions.

    Experienced UCL supervisors are also encouraged to work through the course as a refresher. The course hosts a central resource containing information, guidance and links to relevant policies and materials.

    Prerequisites: None

    Learning outcomes: The course provides information and guidance on: 

    • UCL’s regulations and frameworks for research supervision; 
    • establishing and maintaining effective working relationships with your supervisees; 
    • UCL’s doctoral skills development requirements and the Research Student Log 
    • signposting to further support provided centrally by UCL and locally in faculties and departments.  

    Duration: Approximately two hours

    How to join: 

    2. Developing as a doctoral supervisor (mandatory for some)

    Format: Workshop (online or in person)

    Aimed at: Staff with no prior doctoral supervisory experience who wish to be appointed as research supervisors at UCL must attend this workshop after they have completed the 'An introduction to research supervision at UCL' online course.  

    Prerequisites: To sign-up to and attend this workshop UCL staff must have first completed the 'An introduction to research supervision at UCL' online course (hosted on the Extend platform).

    Learning outcomes: After attending this session you will: 

    • understand UCL policy and procedure for effective supervision 
    • have shared experiences and challenges with peers  
    • know where to find further support and guidance 

    Duration: 2 hours

    21 Nov 20232-4pmin-person
    13 Dec 20232-4pmonline
    5 Jan 202410am-12pmonline
    16 Jan 202410am-12pmin-person
    8 Feb 202411am-1pmonline
    13 Mar 20242-4pmonline
    26 Mar 20242-4pmonline
    11 Apr 202410am-12pmonline
    30 Apr 20242-4pmonline
    21 May 20242-4pmin-person
    13 Jun 202410am-12pmonline
    5 Jul 20242-4pmonline

    How to join: Open this link to Learn Upon and click "Start" to enrol, then "Register" to view available dates, then proceed to sign-up for a session. To access Learn Upon you must be signed into Office365 with your UCL credentials. If you are having trouble using Learn Upon please email r.haughton@ucl.ac.uk

    Join the Arena Microsoft Teams page here to receive notifications about Arena news and events and also bookmark our events pages on the website here.

    3. Ongoing professional development for supervisors (not mandatory) 

    The Arena Centre offers a range of options for staff who wish to continue their development as research supervisors once they have completed any relevant mandatory training mentioned above. 

    Events and workshops

    We host regular workshops and sessions aimed at more experienced supervisors, covering topics such as: 

    • An Introduction to Examining the Doctorate
      This session reviews all the stages of examining a doctorate, and focuses on good practice and potentially tricky situations. It's designed for anyone assessing any kind of doctoral award, whether as an internal or an external examiner, or in-person, hybrid or online.
      Click the date links to find out more.
      31 Jan 20242-4pmin-person
      2 May 20242-4pmonline
    • Supervising Masters Projects and Dissertations
      This session will introduce staff who supervise masters projects and dissertations to tools for setting expectations and defining boundaries. It will also explore when you should seek support or guidance.
      Click the date links to find out more.
      19 Dec 20232-3:30pmin-person
      8 Apr 202410-11:30amonline
      18 Apr 202410-11:30amonline
      29 Apr 20242-3:30pmonline
    • Effective Co- and team supervision
      Join us at this workshop where we will explore good practice in team and co-supervision, considering different examples of how supervision works across UCL.
      Click the date links to find out more.
      14 Mar 20242-4pmonline
      28 May 20242-4pmin-person
    • Inclusive Supervision
      Recent research by Wellcome (2020) explored what researchers think about the cultures they work in and recommended cultures and environments that promote creativity, inclusion and integrity. This session explores inclusive approaches to supervisory practice, focusing on communication, trust, belonging and advocacy. We will explore case studies and discuss our own areas of best practice, as well as reflecting on strategies for supporting our own wellbeing and healthy working practices.
      Click the date links to find out more.
      26 Mar 20242-4pmin-person
    • Supporting PGR Mental Health and Wellbeing
      This session is designed to help supervisors recognise indicators of mental health problems and potential triggers, understand the boundaries of their responsibilities and capabilities, confidently signpost PGR students to appropriate support, and be mindful of their own wellbeing and healthy working practices.
      Click the date links to find out more.
      6 Dec 20232-3:30pmonline
      15 Apr 20242-3:30pmin-person
    • Supporting PGR Writing and Giving Effective Feedback
      Successful doctoral students must write well. Academic disciplines exist in their texts and practices, and a student’s success in their discipline will depend mainly on how proficiently and purposefully they can write. Supervisors play a key role in supporting the development of their students’ research writing and its dissemination, by encouraging regular writing and enabling progress by providing good feedback. 
      Click the date links to find out more.
      5 Mar 20242-4pmin-person
      29 May 202410am-12pmonline

    How to join: Click on a date above to access the booking platform Learn Upon. You must be signed into Office365 with your UCL credentials to access the links to Learn Upon. If you are having trouble booking please email r.haughton@ucl.ac.uk

    Professional recognition for research supervisors 

    Dedicated support is available annually through the Arena Centre for UCL supervisors to apply for professional recognition of their supervisory practice through the UK Council for Graduate Education.

    The application for recognition is an evidence-based reflective account of supervisory practice aligned to the criteria of the UKCGE Good Supervisory Practice framework. 

    For further information contact Dr Nick Grindle (Arena Centre)