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Appointment of an advisor


Adviser and Supervisory Team

A clear line of responsibility can allow only one primary supervisor for each student, but it is very important to have additional sources of scientific knowledge and technical experience available.  In addition, the supervisory relationship may, from time to time, undergo difficulties. Supervisors are required to appoint an adviser (or supervisory team – see below):  a person who will act as a mentor to the student in their research work.  The Adviser might not be in exactly the same research area nor necessarily in the same Faculty/Department (or University Partner Institution), but will be able to bring sufficient expertise to the Supervisory Team to act as a second point of contact for the student for academic advice and to provide supervisory cover in the absence of the Principal Supervisor.

Adviser’s duties

The relationship can be largely informal, but the adviser should meet formally with the student at least twice a term to check on their progress.  It is sensible to offer the student opportunities to meet in the absence of the supervisor from time to time.  The adviser may provide a second view on planning and progressing the thesis, thus meetings between adviser and supervisor are also useful.  However, the minimum role of the adviser is seen as being in pastoral care with a scientific / academic slant (as distinct from the welfare slant of the college tutor).

Adviser's Eligibility 

The adviser can be external to the Department or University as long as regular bi-termly meetings are possible, this is important not only to keep up to date with student progress but also to build up the relationship between adviser and student sufficiently that the role can be of maximum benefit.   Advisers do not have to hold a PhD necessarily themselves though it would be helpful particularly in cases where the supervisor does not.

Please notify the Graduate Office of who will act as adviser within six weeks of the start of the student's first term. (Don’t forget to check their willingness to accept the role!). 

Supervisory teams

It is increasingly seen as desirable to obtain advice more widely, and the Department now favours the appointment of supervisory teams as an alternative to advisers.  Because of the  greater difficulty of calling meetings and the probability that these meetings will be longer, it is sufficient to call one steam meeting per term. But it is recommended that the student should meet at least one member of the team twice per term. Again, please let the Graduate Office know who is involved.