Responsibilities of Thesis Supervisors
To ensure high quality in both the student’s research and his/her learning experience, thesis supervisors should provide advice, guidance and support at every stage. Specifically, thesis supervisors are expected to:
- Provide guidance about the nature of research, the standard expected, the planning of the research program, the review of literature, the selection of coursework, and appropriate training in research techniques;
- Establish, at the beginning of the student’s research, a framework for supervision, including arrangements for regular meetings. The stages of progress the student is expected to have completed at various points should also be agreed on;
- Meet with the student regularly following the agreed schedules and with a clear agenda, and be accessible to the student at other appropriate times when he/she may need advice;
- Ensure that the student’s research:
- Falls within his/her own area of expertise;
- Can be completed with the resources available;
- Can be completed within the prescribed period of study; and
- Is suitable for the degree program the student aims to undertake.
- If applicable, discuss any potential physical hazards involved in the research work and how these can best be dealt with, ensuring that safety procedures are followed;
- Provide advice on the publication of research work, ensuring that attribution is discussed before publication;
- Deal promptly with any research problems the student may encounter;
- Adhere to the schedule for submission of the annual progress report;
- Advise the student promptly of unsatisfactory progress with regard to any aspect of his/her study, and put this advice in writing if such unsatisfactory progress is considered likely to interfere with satisfactory completion of the research by the agreed deadline;
- Guide the student in the preparation of the thesis and the thesis examination;
- Identify prospective examiners for the student’s Thesis Examination Committee;
- Treat the student professionally, ensuring proper credit for his/her work;
- Be on the lookout for signs of behavioral changes, stress and depression, including absence from classes, laboratory sessions or appointments with no prior notification, reclusion, or erratic behavior in the student being supervised. The Department Head and PG Coordinator should be notified if any of the above behavior has been observed or reported. If necessary, the student should be referred to the Counseling and Wellness Center of the Dean of Students' Office for professional advice; and
- Ensure that replacement supervision is available to the student during any significant period of absence.
Responsibilities of Students
RPg students are expected to:
- Discuss with the thesis supervisor and TSC the type and scope of guidance he/she needs, and agree on regular meeting times;
- Take the initiative in raising problems or difficulties with the thesis supervisor, however elementary they may seem, before they become serious;
- Attend supervisory meetings well prepared and with a clear agenda for the meeting;
- Be accessible to the thesis supervisor and/or TSC or during the course of study;
- Make satisfactory academic and research progress following the advice of the thesis supervisor and TSC;
- Discuss with and obtain the approval of the thesis supervisor regarding any changes in the direction of his/her research focus and its implications;
- Provide a brief self-evaluation summary report to be attached to the annual progress report for submission through the thesis supervisor as part of the annual review process;
- Ensure that the thesis is completed and submitted within the period stipulated by the University for assessment;
- Abide by the rules and regulations governing postgraduate studies of the University; and
- Ensure that all work done by others used in the thesis is properly.
Relationship between Thesis Supervisors and Students
- Mutual respect and open communication are the foundation of a good relationship between the thesis supervisor and the student. Both parties must strive to express respect and communicate clearly and honestly with each other.
- To avoid unnecessary disruption, the student and the thesis supervisor should inform the other party as soon as they are aware of a possible change in their status, e.g. a student plans to withdraw from the program of study, or a thesis supervisor may take sabbatical leave.
- If, after sincere effort, a good working relationship has failed to develop and the student and/or the thesis supervisor believe that, for this reason, satisfactory study progress cannot be made, either party may approach the PG Coordinator for advice. The PG Coordinator should, in consultation with the Department Head/Associate Dean of the relevant School responsible for postgraduate studies, consider the matter carefully. If appropriate, the PG Coordinator may recommend a change of the thesis supervisor.