Doctoral Supervisors

Doctoral supervision is a challenging responsibility: completion rates are now becoming key data for applicants, the Doctorate itself is changing in nature, we are dealing with an audience who have diverse needs and expectations; along with those issues, Bangor has a policy of increasing numbers of PhD students.


The relationship between a student and supervisor can be particularly close; it usually starts as master and pupil and develops to the point where student and supervisor are equal colleagues. The importance of the supervisory relationship is crucial to the successful completion of research. The responsibilities of the supervisor will include:

  • help define and plan the research project
  • give guidance on the nature of research and the standard expected
  • confirm that the student has received information about registration
  • confirm that the student has received University, College and School documents relevant to their research
  • give guidance about published literature and other sources of information
  • give advice on legal and ethical implications of the research, and, where relevant, the procedures to obtain ethical or other approval
  • give advice on training for research and general skills
  • maintain contact with the student through regular formal recorded meetings
  • be accessible to the student at other appropriate times.
  • give advice on completion dates for each stage of the work
  • return written work with constructive criticism and in reasonable time
  • arrange, where appropriate, for the student to talk about their work and to lead undergraduate and postgraduate seminars
  • make sure that the student is informed if the standard of work is below that generally expected
  • make sure that the student has access to the facilities and resources required for the research work
  • oversee any arrangements for the student to conduct work away from Bangor, including completion of formal agreements with the hosting organisation
  • make sure that risk assessments are completed and that the student is informed about relevant Health and Safety procedures
  • provide progress reports to the University and external sponsors
  • make sure that the student understands the requirements of the examination process
  • to act as a mentor and provide pastoral care and advocacy where necessary
  • Some of the Supervisor’s roles may be assigned to designated individuals within Colleges and/or Schools.

A research student must have regular contact with the supervisor to assess progress. The supervisor will decide how often to meet the student, taking into account the research topic/area and the needs of the student. Supervisors are required to meet with their students at least once every two weeks. Where a meeting cannot be arranged, an alternate contact methods must be used in its place. The meetings, and all other alternative contact points, must enable the Supervisor to confirm that the student is committed to his/her programme of study. Each meeting/contact point must be recorded, as required by the University’s Attendance Monitoring Policy.

It is not the role of the supervisor to examine the thesis.

  1. It is possible that some students, particularly those from overseas, may need frequent contact in the early stages, and may need additional guidance, particularly regarding the first point as above
  2. Supervisors are, from time to time, required to write reports on their students’ progress to, for example, the Research Councils or other sponsors. Such reports should be produced within the required time frame to ensure that continuation of funding / sponsorship by the outside agencies is not compromised.
  3. Supervisors should advise on the timing, construction and format of the thesis, and should check that each student has received the appropriate documentation and guidelines from the Academic Registry.
  4. The supervisor should continue to offer supervision and support during the “writing up” period until completion of the thesis.
  5. In the event of the supervisor retiring or resigning from the University before the end of the period of registration, the Supervisory Committee or School Director of Postgraduate Study will appoint an additional or replacement supervisor who is a current member of University staff.

Workshops to support Supervisors

The Doctoral School arranges workshops led by John Wakeford, from the Missenden Centre is holding one day workshops to explore some of the above issues.

In 2018/19 the following workshops will be held:

Effective Supervision – Workshop for Doctoral Supervisors:

31 January  2019    – 9am – 4.30pm

10 July 2019           – 9am – 4.30pm

The Doctoral Examination - Workshop for examiners and candidates:

01 February 2019  -9am – 4.30pm

11 July 2019          -9am – 4.30pm

More information about John can be found here: If you want more information please contact Penny Dowdney: You can book a place HERE

Please find links to further information below: