What is expected of a supervisor?
Any supervisor accepting a student is accepting the obligations set out in the Code of Practice for Supervisors. The Oxford University Learning Institute provides a Seminar on Supervising D.Phil. students that new supervisors should attend.
At the Start
Advise the student about all aspects of the research, be clear about your expectations, and when applicable liaise with the co-supervisor. Ensure that a student is familiar with the research and other support facilities and understands the Code of Practice, including Health and Safety. Define the project in a timely way, and ensure that the student is developing the necessary background knowledge for the topic, and that the necessary resources are available. When the student is part of a team, explain his or her contribution. Draw the student's attention to ethical issues. Advise on the experimental design and the effective collection and storage of data. All students must keep meticulous records (lab books) and will be judged against these during routine assessment and cases of dispute. Plan skills training appropriate to the student and refer them to courses via Skills Training for Graduate Students.
Ongoing Duties: Meetings, Reports and Changes in Status
Supervisors should meet regularly with Students, and in the NDM these meetings will be, on average, weekly for an hour. Termly reports from students and supervisors are submitted online through the Graduate Supervision System (GSS). Students are asked to submit their reports in weeks 6 and 7 and supervisors in weeks 8 and 9. The reports will be read by the NDM Graduate Advisors and will be sent to Colleges. Supervisors are also expected to assist their students with Transfer and Confirmation of Status.
Supervisors of NDM students on Tier 4 visas must also approve/reject monthly 'timesheets' on the OTTER (student) system. Please refer to the SOP for supervisors for guidance on how to do this.
At the End
Supervisors play a role in the selection of examiners. While the Examination Regulations refer only to two examiners (and make no reference to external and internal examiners) the requirement that one examiner should be external to the University is an absolute requirement for D.Phil., M.Litt. and M.Sc. by Research examinations.
Applications for the appointment of examiners are made by a candidate using the standard University form, and may not be made earlier than the term before that in which the thesis is to be submitted.
In completing the relevant section of the form, a supervisor is required to consult with the candidate concerning possible examiners, and to forward to the Departmental Director of Graduate Studies the names of suggested examiners together with any details of any special considerations which the candidate wishes to make known about any potential examiners. Candidates are advised that this does not give the candidate a veto over the appointment of examiners since the final choice lies with the Medical Sciences Board.
If Things Go Wrong
- Remember the importance of a paper trail
- Remember that the student must be made aware of the procedure for complaints
- Remember that you have a departmental Director of Graduate Studies and that the student has a College Advisor. Meet with them early