Supervision of your UK doctorate

A doctoral supervisor is a combination of guide, mentor, source of information, coach and inspiration.

Whether a doctorate would be the first major project of your professional career or you have decades of experience working in your field, your relationships with your main supervisor and other mentors will be key to your successful development as a researcher. You will need to be reasonably assertive and proactive if you want to get the most out of your supervisor/s.

In order to develop an effective working relationships you need to understand what the supervisory team is (and isn't) there to do, and also how much time they are likely to have for you. Doing a doctorate requires that you work independently to a large extent but you can expect regular meetings and support. An international research superstar might be attractive in theory as a supervisor, but if they are away a lot this could impact on how much they could support you.

There's lots more information on our website about supervisor and researcher responsibilities and how to get the best from the relationship. Talk to a potential supervisor in advance of accepting a studentship to ensure that your respective ways of working would match up. You could also look at some of the guidance given to supervisors and advice for doctoral researchers with disabilities.

For hints about choosing your supervisor see how to apply.