Wednesday, September 26, 2012

What your supervisor will expect from you

Whilst, in previous blogs, I have outlined the things a doctoral student can expect from their supervisor it is important to remember that your supervisor has the right to expect certain things in return. For example;

  • If you want your supervisor to review and comment on written work they will probably expect you to send it to them at least three weeks before your supervision session. It is pointless sending your supervisor the first 20,000 of your methods chapter the day before you are due to met and expecting them to have read it...or be happy about it.

  • If you have an appointment with your supervisor - turn up! (pretty obvious I know but you would be surprised how often it happens)

  • They will expect you to be prepared to present to peers, within and external to the university.

  • If you are going to publish something with their name on it, make sure they see it before you submit. Academics are only as good as their last paper so it's important they have the opportunity to provide input.

  • Some supervisors will expect you to be the one to keep in touch, so if you drift or drop off of the radar they won't chase you up. It is a good idea to find out at the beginning of the relationship if they are expecting you to instigate contact.

Of course the easiest thing to find out what your supervisor expects from you is to simply ask them. Your relationship will, ideally be mutually supportive and most supervisors will be pleased and touched if you show them this level of consideration - it will probably be the first time any one has!


  1. great points!
    I think establishing "communication strategies" from the very beginning is key.

    I also like to give myself, and agree with my supervisor, deadlines for submission of work. It keeps me focused; it keeps on track actually! :-)

  2. Salutory suggestions and excellent reminders for new and old PhD students.