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Students and Supervisors

Appointment of supervisors

Students taking a research degree are required to have at least two Supervisors - a Principal Supervisor and an Associate Supervisor.  Exceptionally, a student may have a third Supervisor if this is appropriate for their research. 

The supervision may be shared equally between the Supervisors or one Supervisor may be responsible for a greater proportion of the supervision.

The Faculty/Department is required to ensure continuity of supervision throughout the research programme.  However, alternative arrangements may have to be made in the event of a staff member being on sabbatical/study leave, maternity leave or absent for any other reason. 

In the event of a Supervisor leaving the University to pursue a career elsewhere, the matter of continuing supervision should be discussed with the Director of Postgraduate Research and a decision made as to what arrangements for supervision are to be put in place. 

Members of staff who are themselves candidates for a research degree may not supervise a research degree.

External students normally have an additional External Supervisor who is responsible for their day-to-day supervision, provided a suitably experienced person is available to act in this capacity.

If a proposed Supervisor is not the holder of a Degree of Doctor of Philosophy or its equivalent at an approved University nor has had appropriate experience of supervision at doctoral level, a list of the proposed Supervisor's publications must be submitted to the Research Degrees Committee for approval of the supervision.

Moreover it is important to have at least one member of the supervisory team who has supervised a research student at doctoral level to completion before (preferably at the University of Bradford).  Ultimately it is the balance of supervision that matters - from subject specialism and supervisory experience between the supervisory team appointed.

For more detailed information please refer to the Regulations for Research Degrees .

Changes to Supervisory Team

The SRS (Research) team must be informed in writing of any changes to supervisory arrangements as soon as they arise.

The process for notification of this change comes from each Departmental Administrator who will have received approval of the change from the relevant Director for Postgraduate Research. 

Please email this request through to  Also confirm the previous supervision team (including the terms: Principal/Associate and relevant workload splits which are generally 50/50, 70/30 and 90/10) and the revised team (with terms and workload splits). 

Changes in supervisory arrangements often indicate a change in project area, if this is the case please clearly identify this in the request.  Moreover, if the student is in receipt of a external studentship or sponsorship (for example, Research Council, Embassy etc.), it might be applicable that the relevant funding body is notified. 

Please ensure any such permission of change is included with the request.  The SRS (Research) team will make a note of the change in supervisory arrangements on the student's record, notify Research Degrees Committee and ensure the student is notified of the change in writing.


Supervisor training

Supervisor Training is run throughout the academic year and it is aimed at both experienced and new supervisors. It is a requirement of the university that, in order to commence, or continue, as a supervisor you must attend this training and renew every three years. This training is now recorded by people development team on your staff training record.

A great deal has changed in recent times in the regulatory and practical frameworks for supervision so please don’t feel you have to wait for three years to renew your training. We welcome experienced supervisors to our development programme.

People development also provide management development training which can also be beneficial in assisting you with managing research student degree progress.

You are warmly welcomed to attend this training also. Information can be found here:

Dates for the current academic year are to be confirmed


Student responsibilities

Naturally, students have many responsibilities throughout the course of doing a research degree.

Here we summarize the important responsibilities which are set out in the Regulations for Research Degrees:

  • All students are required to attend regular meetings with their supervisors and to keep records of meetings which also details special arrangements for external students 
  • Students are expected to take responsibility for their own research activity and candidacy for a degree
  • They should keep their Supervisors informed of progress/problems
  • Make reasonable efforts to achieve satisfactory progress
  • Attend induction courses as prescribed by the Faculty/Department
  • Attend training provision at The Graduate School and/or in own Faculty/Department as prescribed by the Faculty/Department
  • Prepare periodic progress reports on their research as required by the Faculty/Department
  • Complete an Annual Progress Report
  • For PhD candidates complete the necessary documentation required for progression from MPhil to PhD
  • Students have a responsibility to ensure their thesis is submitted within the prescribed time period and to the required standard format for thesis submissions
  • Observe the University's policy on Intellectual Property Rights
  • Maintain high standards of academic conduct, especially avoid plagiarism or any other unfair practice
  • Observe the University's policy as set out in the General Health and Safety Manual which can be accessed from the Health and Safety webpage
  • Act as a responsible member of the University's academic community
  • External students should endeavour to attend induction and training sessions at the University. 

For more detailed information, see the Regulations for Research Degree (Section 8) which are available on the Academic Quality Unit website.


All students need to be aware from the very start of doing a research degree that plagiarism is a form of academic misconduct and as such is a breach of the University's assessment regulations as well as the Regulations for Research Degrees.  Key points to note from the University policy on breach of assessment regulations are:

  • The University reserves the right to use any fair and reasonable means to identify instances of academic misconduct
  • It is not acceptable for a student to claim that they do not know what academic misconduct is because they have never read any of the guidance
  • There are no mitigating circumstances which can excuse plagiarism

For further information please read the relevant section in the Regulations for Research Degrees which provides a link to the Breach of Assessment Regulations. Further information is available on the Student and Academic Services website.

When you submit your thesis you will be asked to sign a Thesis Submission Form which certifies the work is an original work produced by you.

If you have any difficulty understanding what constitutes plagiarism or how to improve your standard of writing then you should talk to your supervisors about this issue and try resolve any problems in the early stages of doing your research degree.

Student and Supervisor first meeting checklist

Here you will find a checklist of items for discussion at the first meeting between the student and the Supervisors: 

Meetings with supervisors

Supervisory meetings/hours

The Supervisors have a responsibility to provide regular and frequent support for the research student, including face to face meetings, informal meetings, email and telephone contact.

Students are required to attend meetings with their supervisors which will normally be a minimum of 6 times per year for a full-time candidate and 4 times per year for a part-time candidate.

A record of the meeting should be made by the student and this should be emailed to the department administrator and - this record should summarise the main outcomes of the meeting between the student and supervisors.  In the subject heading of the email please state "Student Meeting Record", date of meeting and UB number.  Students are also required to keep records of meetings with their Supervisors. 

Faculties/Departments are required to monitor attendance at supervisory meetings and inform Student Registry Services (Research) where students persistently fail to attend planned meetings or where they consider there to be an attendance problem that is adversely affecting the student's progression on their degree programme.  It is essential this is reported as soon as issues arise.

As a minimum a research student can expect to have, on average, the equivalent of four hours' support per month with their Supervisor(s) whilst registered on a Full-time internal basis (two hours in the case of a Part-time study).  The extent of support is likely to be high during the initial stages of the programme when design and preparation work are being undertaken and will vary subsequently. 

A research student can likewise expect, as a minimum, the equivalent of one hour's support per month with their Supervisor(s) when they have transferred to writing-up status.

Organisation of meetings

  • Schedule a series of meetings - these should be linked-up with the monitoring stages for the research, also planned in agreement with any collaborative partners
  • Meetings should be arranged so that they are free from interruption as far as practicable
  • Informal day-to-day contact is not a substitute for meetings
  • Student and Supervisor(s) should be accessible to each other at reasonable times

It is the student's responsibility to make contact to arrange meetings.  Supervisor(s) are responsible for working with students at times that are mutually convenient.

Agendas of scheduled meetings

  • Focus should be on key progression points and professional development of the student
  • A formal record should be kept of meetings in the form of a summary of progress to-date (linked to project plan) and actions/targets agreed.  This summary record should be prepared by the student and then agreed with the Supervisor(s).  This formal record should be clear and concise.
  • The agenda will depend on the stage reached in the research and progress made.  You may find it useful to use the meetings PROFORMA.
  • The following issues may serve as agenda items for meetings:
    • Planning and strategic thinking: ideas generation, viability, implementation strategy, hypotheses
    • Evaluation of work in progress: awareness of current literature and debate, relevance of other research, analysis of results, interpretation
    • Review of progress in relation to overall timetable
    • Dissemination:  presentations to others, other opportunities to communicate research output
    • Skills/training:  identification of needs

External supervisors

It is important that External students keep in regular contact with their University Supervisors throughout the year by email/telephone and they are required to attend the University at least once a year to report on and discuss the progress of the research.  It is expected that they will visit the University normally for a minimum of two weeks up to a maximum of four weeks in total per year or as determined by the Research Degrees Committee.

External students are required to keep records of all meetings with their Supervisors whether held face-to-face, by telephone, by email or video-conferences.  Meeting records should be emailed to the department administrator and - this record should summarise the main outcomes of the meeting between the student and Supervisor(s).  In the subject heading of the email please state "Student Meeting Record", date of the meeting and UB number.

Faculties/Departments are required to monitor attendance at supervisory meetings and inform Student Registry Services (Research) where students persistently fail to attend planned meetings or where they consider there to be an attendance problem that is adversely affecting the student's progression on their degree programme.  It is essential, that Supervisor(s) take action when an External student has failed to make contact over a three month period.

Annual review and monitoring

Please note:  this process is under review to move to a web-based process for 2016.  When this is finalised we will initiate training events in readiness for this. 


The Supervisor/s should carefully and regularly monitor the student's work and ensure that the student is made aware as to whether progress and standards of work, including written or oral presentations, are meeting expected levels.  

As part of this activity, a formal assessment of progress is undertaken, as a minimum, once per year of study. The assessment is generally called the Annual Progress Review.  Doctoral Review Board (DRB) Meetings every 6 months count as the Annual Review for students in the Faculty of Management and Law. 

The student and Supervisors should prepare a planning schedule with indicative deadlines and milestones for the completion of distinct stages of the research programme and completion of written work. 

In monitoring progress, the Supervisor/s should analyse and assess the student's progress against the objectives set out in the original plan of work.

It is crucial that we identify issues with a student’s progress as early as we can to step in and provide any support or intervention that is necessary. In the following circumstances you should involve the Faculty Director of Post Graduate Research Students:.

• late or non-submission of Annual Progress Report
• lack of progress reported by student / supervisor in Monthly Reports, or non-submission thereof
• Progression Point outcome not successful

Annual Review

  • Supervisor/s are required to submit an Annual Report on the progress of each research student (through the Director of Postgraduate Research or Dean's Nominee) to the Research Degrees Committee
  • There are currently separate forms for Students (A) and Supervisor/s (B), though they should always be completed and returned together
  • The University's standard Annual Progress Report forms are issued annually by the Hub-SRS (Research) team directly to Faculties via Departmental Administrators, but are available online to enable completion at any time of year
  • All PGR students please note: it is a requirement of your University registration that we have an Annual Report for each year of study up until formal thesis submission and this includes the writing-up stage and whether you study onsite with us or at a distance
  • As part of the Annual Review process students should be given the opportunity to comment, in the absence of the Supervisor/s, to the Director of Postgraduate Research (or Dean's Nominee) on any aspect of their registration
  • For doctoral students, one of the most important monitoring stages is the progression to PhD.

A key element of the monitoring process is if problems arise, corrective action is clearly identified and full guidance and assistance are given to the student. 

Where alteration to the original plan of work is necessary, this should be fully discussed and agreed, and approval sought as appropriate. In any instance where progression is in issue Faculties should initiate the Capability Procedure.

Meeting record proforma

Here you will find a proforma which you may find useful for preparing the agenda for meetings with your Supervisors and recording the action points.

Add in and take out columns as appropriate. This form is for your own record purposes - discuss with your Supervisors how you want to use it.

Concerns about Supervision

The need for changes to be made to the supervision arrangements can arise for a number of reasons: e.g. the departure or incapacity of a supervisor, or an irreconcilable breakdown in the relationship between the student and a member of the supervisory team.

The requirement for at least two supervisors means that there is always, at least, one other supervisor who has familiarity with the research and the student’s progress. This provides a safeguard and ensures continuity of support to the student.

We recognise that the relationship between the student and the supervisory team is critical to the student’s progress and success.   Because of the nature of the structured contact with students it is critical that students have support in the event that there are difficulties with the provision of supervisory support

 Make sure you keep a record of the meetings you attend

  • If your Principal Supervisor is absent your Associate Supervisor should be available
  • If the Principal Supervisor is anticipated to be absent for longer than 3 months a new Principal Supervisor will be appointed. This will usually be from within your current supervisory team.
  • It is the responsibility of your PGR Director for students to ensure continuity of support. 
  • It is your responsibility, as a student, to make sure that you draw to the attention of the Director of PGR any issues that you feel are likely to impact on your academic progress.
  • You can also raise with your Associate Dean and, ultimately, with your Dean of Faculty.
  • Help is also available from your Faculty PGR administrative support and the Registry Research Support Team.
  • Full and current contact details are available here