Policies

Supervision, supervisory meetings, and postgraduate research tutors

Supervision of research students

9.79

A supervisory team must be appointed for every research student. The Head of Department or their nominee shall be responsible for approving the appointment of each supervisory team’s members. The Dean of the Doctoral College shall be responsible for approving the appointment of the supervisory team for research students registered at an associated institution.

Supervisory team members

9.80

Each supervisory team must comprise at least two members and include:

  1. a clearly identified first supervisor – the first supervisor must have expertise in the student’s area of research and shall have primary responsibility for the student’s supervision
  2. a second or co-supervisor – the second supervisor must have expertise relevant to the student’s area of research and shall either assist the first supervisor in the provision of guidance and support to the student or have a co-supervisor role.

9.81

The first supervisor must be one of the following:

  1. a member of the University’s academic staff
  2. a research fellow of the University
  3. a clinical or scientific member of staff of the University Hospitals of Leicester National Health Service Trust, holding an honorary position with the University.

Where the first supervisor is a clinical or scientific member of staff of the University Hospitals of Leicester National Health Service Trust, the second supervisor must be a member of the University’s academic staff. Other honorary and emeritus staff of the University shall not be appointed as first supervisors.

9.82

The second supervisor must be one of the following:

  1. a member of the University’s academic staff
  2. a research fellow of the University
  3. a clinical or scientific member of staff of the University Hospitals of Leicester National Health Service Trust, holding an honorary position with the University
  4. an academic member of staff at another institution as part of a training partnership agreement
  5. a member of the University’s professional services staff, provided they meet the following conditions:
    • a) have been awarded a doctoral degree
    • b) can demonstrate recent relevant research activity
    • c) can demonstrate recent relevant research activity
    • d) line manager agreement.

Where the second supervisor is a clinical or scientific member of staff of the University Hospitals of Leicester National Health Service Trust, the first supervisor must be a member of the University’s academic staff. Other honorary and emeritus staff of the University shall not be appointed as second supervisors.

9.83

The first and second supervisors of a research student registered at an associated institution must be members of the academic staff of that institution.

9.84

A third supervisor may be appointed if needed. The third supervisor is not required to be a member of the University’s academic staff and the use of non-University staff as third supervisors may be appropriate where the research student will undertake a placement in industry or is registered under a split-site arrangement. Honorary and emeritus staff of the University may be appointed as third supervisors.

9.85

The Dean of the Doctoral College shall be responsible for approving the appointment of a third supervisor who is not a member of the University’s academic staff. Such supervisors shall be designated as external supervisors. If an external supervisor is appointed, it must be made clear to all parties that full control over supervision rests with the University.

Appointment of the supervisory team

9.86

The Department must specify a named first supervisor at the point it makes a formal offer of admission to a PhD, MD, PsyD, or MPhil programme. The names of other members of the supervisory team shall be specified if known. Research students registered for other doctoral degree programmes must be informed of the members of the supervisory team at the appropriate point in their registration.

9.87

The Department must notify the research student and the Doctoral College Office in writing should it be necessary to change the appointed supervisory team after a formal offer of admission has been made. The Head of Department or their nominee shall be responsible for making alternative supervision arrangements.

9.88

The supervisory team must have appropriate experience of the supervision of research students. The first and second supervisors shall normally between them have experience of successfully supervising at least three research students to completion. The approval of the Head of Department shall be required where it is proposed to appoint a supervisory team with less experience.

9.89

Members of the University’s academic staff on probation may be appointed as either first or second supervisor. If a member of academic staff on probation is appointed as first supervisor, the other members of the supervisory team must between them have experience of successfully supervising at least three research students to completion.

9.90

Supervisors should not be appointed to, or be allowed to remain appointed to, a supervisory team where:

  1. they will be supervising a research student with whom they have or have had a close personal or professional relationship, or
  2. they have or have had a close personal or contractual relationship with another member of the same supervisory team.

Members of the supervisory team must declare any such relationship(s) to the Head of Department or their nominee. The Head of Department or their nominee shall be responsible for making alternative supervision arrangements. The Head of Department or their nominee may, in exceptional circumstances, agree to the supervisory arrangements continuing unchanged – but only with full disclosure to and the agreement of the research student.

Supervision loads

9.91

Members of the University’s academic staff shall normally at any one time supervise no more than the equivalent of nine full-time research students with a maximum headcount of twelve.

9.92

In calculating supervision loads, the Department shall normally take account of both first and second supervisory appointments that are held. The Department shall normally use the following weightings:

First supervisor appointments

  • 1 x full-time student = 1.0 FTE
  • 1 x part-time student = 0.5 FTE

Second supervisor appointments

  • 1 x full-time student = 0.5 FTE
  • 1 x part-time student = 0.25 FTE

9.93

The Department may specify a lower maximum supervision load if appropriate – for example, for part-time staff. The approval of the Head of Department is required if it is proposed that a member of staff should supervise more than the specified maximum number of research students.

Training and monitoring of supervisors

9.94

All research student supervisors must have completed the University’s training programme for supervisors. Newly appointed supervisors must complete the University’s training programme for supervisors by the end of the first year of providing supervision.

Responsibilities of supervisors

9.95

The supervisory team must ensure that the research student is in no doubt as to what shall be required of them. In particular, it must be emphasised that the thesis must be the research student’s own work and that, within the supervisory framework, the student shall be responsible for planning and managing their work and for developing their own ideas.

9.96

The supervisory team and the research student must establish at an early stage a clear understanding as to the responsibilities of supervisory team, the relation of these to the responsibilities of the student, and the supervisory team’s role in relation to the preparation and development of the student’s written and other work. That understanding must cover the nature of guidance or comment that the supervisory team shall offer within the general principle that the thesis must be the research student’s own work.

9.97

The supervisory team must ensure that appropriate arrangements are in place so that formal supervisory meetings with research students on a part-time or distance learning research degree programme are held as specified in 9.100 and 9.101.

9.98

The supervisory team must ensure that research students undertaking research as part of a team or research group understand how their own research relates to the research of the group as a whole.

9.99

The responsibilities of the supervisory team shall include:

  1. ensuring that the research student is familiar with relevant Senate Regulations and the Code of Conduct for Research
  2. providing the research student with guidance on:
    • a. the nature of research and standard expected
    • b. the requirements of the degree for which they are registered
    • c. the planning of the research programme
    • d. literature and sources
    • e. obligations with respect to assessed components excluding the thesis and/or skills and career development training
    • f. required research techniques and methodologies
    • g. the need to develop oral and written communication skills
    • h. academic honesty and drawing attention to relevant regulations, including those relating to plagiarism
  3. monitoring the progress of the student’s research through regular formal supervisory meetings and ensuring that the research student keeps an agreed record of these meetings within MyPGR, and confirming the meeting record
  4. being accessible at mutually convenient times when the research student may need advice
  5. giving detailed advice on the necessary completion dates of successive stages of the work so that the thesis can be submitted within the relevant maximum registration period
  6. emphasising the importance of timely submission of the thesis in terms of good academic practice and in relation to the requirements of the University
  7. providing, where necessary, supporting statements and confirmation for requests that impact the student’s registration within MyPGR
  8. requesting draft or preliminary written and other work as appropriate and returning such work with constructive criticism and within a reasonable time
  9. arranging, as appropriate, for the research student to present their work to staff and students, bearing in mind the demands of the viva voce examination
  10. ensuring that the research student is made aware of any concerns about their progress or the standard of their work and ensuring that the Head of Department and the Postgraduate Research Tutor are notified in writing if there are any concerns about the research student’s progress or ability to achieve the degree for which they are registered
  11. reading and commenting on the whole of the final draft of the thesis, provided that this is presented within a reasonable and agreed timeframe, and ensuring that the research student is aware that the thesis must comply with all relevant regulations, including those on word length, format, and binding
  12. notifying the research student, the Head of Department, and the Postgraduate Research Tutor if they have concerns about the quality of the thesis to be submitted for examination
  13. liaising with the Postgraduate Research Tutor and the Doctoral College Office to ensure that regulations are appropriately applied.

Formal supervisory meetings

9.100

Formal supervisory meetings for research students registered for the degree of PhD, MD, PsyD, or MPhil in the probation period shall normally be held at least monthly (MD, PsyD, or full-time PhD and MPhil) or every two months (part-time PhD and MPhil). Following successful completion of the probation period, formal supervisory meetings shall continue to be held every month (full time) or every two months (part time). All research students registered for the degree of PhD, MD, PsyD, or MPhil must ensure no more than 60 calendar days elapse between supervisory meetings (full time) or 90 calendar days elapse between supervisory meetings (part time).

9.101

Formal supervisory meetings for research students registered for other doctoral degree programmes shall normally be held at least monthly (full-time) or every two months (part-time). However, formal supervisory meetings may not commence until the research student has completed all assessed components of the programme excluding the thesis.

9.102

The research student shall be responsible for agreeing with the supervisory team a mutually acceptable annual schedule of formal supervisory meetings.

9.103

Formal supervisory meetings may not involve all members of the supervisory team. All formal supervisory meetings shall normally involve the first supervisor and there must be at least one formal supervisory meeting each year at which all members of the supervisory team are present.

9.104

Formal supervisory meetings with campus based research students shall normally be conducted in person. Formal supervisory meetings with distance learning research students may be conducted by any appropriate means of communication, but meetings in person should be used where possible.

9.105

The research student shall be responsible for preparing a record of each formal supervisory meeting within MyPGR. The first supervisor must check this record for accuracy and confirm whether it is accurate within MyPGR.

9.106

Research students holding a Tier 4 student visa sponsored by the University who have submitted their thesis for examination and wish to remain within the United Kingdom under their Tier 4 visa must either continue to attend formal supervisory meetings each month or continue to check-in with their departments. Check-ins must be held so that no more than 60 days elapse between the first checkpoint and the last supervisory meeting or between any two subsequent check-ins and must continue until the point of award.

Postgraduate research tutors

9.107

Each Department must have a designated Postgraduate Research Tutor. The Head of Department shall be responsible for appointing the Postgraduate Research Tutor. The Postgraduate Research Tutor shall provide pastoral and other general guidance as appropriate to both the research student and the supervisory team. The Postgraduate Research Tutor may supervise research students in their own right. Where the regular Postgraduate Research Tutor is supervising a research student in their own right, the Head of Department must appoint an alternative Postgraduate Research Tutor for that student.

9.108

The responsibilities of the Postgraduate Research Tutor shall include:

  1. providing research students in the Department with advice on the role of the Postgraduate Research Tutor and their availability for consultation
  2. ensuring that research students in the Department are aware of and adhere to relevant Senate Regulations and the Code of Conduct for Research
  3. contributing to the oversight and operation of research student admissions decisions
  4. assisting in identifying possible supervisors, probation and progress review panel members, and examiners
  5. contributing to the oversight and operation of research student progress monitoring mechanisms and ensuring that probation and progress reviews take place at the appropriate point in each research student’s registration with an appropriately composed review panel
  6. monitoring the frequency of formal supervisory meetings
  7. providing, where necessary, confirmation of departmental or School approval for requests that impact student registration within MyPGR
  8. monitoring research student participation with respect to assessed components excluding the thesis and/or skills and career development training
  9. ensuring that appropriate personal support is available to research students and providing guidance on other sources of support and advice to research students and supervisory teams
  10. providing initial mediation in a dispute between the research student and the supervisory team
  11. working with supervisory teams to ensure timely submission of theses
  12. acting where appropriate on behalf of the research student, including seeking guidance on regulatory issues from the Doctoral College Office.

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