Supervisor Development

There is a new programme to support the training of those involved in the supervision of postgraduate research.

  • Previously, new supervisors were invited to take the Postgraduate Diploma in Higher and Professional Education: Research Supervision.
  • From now on there will be an annual programme of professional development seminars. This programme is not an award: there is no formal enrolment process, and no formal assessment.
  • The programme is intended to support everyone involved in the supervision of postgraduate research, including experienced supervisors. The regulatory framework for postgraduate research has changed substantially. In addition, the wider expectations around postgraduate research supervision are also changing, and we can all benefit from reviewing and refreshing our practice.

Those New to Supervision

In order to act as a Principal Supervisor, you must either have completed this programme of professional development, or have been part of a team that supervised a PhD student through to successful completion.

To complete this programme, you are required to:

  • register your intention to participate by booking on IRIS or emailing
  • attend four ‘core’ seminars on aspects of postgraduate research supervision
  • submit a short plan outlining how you would present a professional development seminar on an aspect of postgraduate research supervision of your own choosing.

More Experienced Supervisors

You are strongly encouraged to attend at least one of the seminars offered in each academic year. In 2015, the University introduced a new set of regulations for postgraduate research degrees. You may therefore find it useful to attend the seminar addressed to the regulations and procedures – most especially those regarding the stages of progression review.

The Programme

The programme for 2016-17 includes eight seminars. For of these are ‘core’ and must be attended by new supervisors wishing to become eligible to act as Principal Supervisor.

All the seminars are open to all members of staff.

Core Seminars

What is PhD supervision and why should I do it?

David Webb

Cadman Conference Room, 12.00 – 14.00, Wednesday 26th October

Approaches to supervision

David Webb

Cadman Conference Room, 12.00 – 14.00, Wednesday 9th November

Regulations and procedures – what you need to know

Douglas Burnham

Cadman Conference Room, 12.00 – 14.00, Thursday 8th December

The viva examination – preparation, on the day, and what happens next?  


Cadman Conference Room, 12.00 – 14.00, Thursday 12th January.



Meeting everyone’s needs in the supervision relation                         

Louise Harrison

Cadman Conference Room, 13.00 – 15.00, Wednesday 15th February


Supervising by distance learning                                                     

Rachel Bolton-King

Cadman Conference Room, 13.00 – 15.00, Wednesday 8th March



Doug Burnham and Alan Eardley

BG046 Brindley Building, 13.00 – 14.30, Wednesday 26th April


The following seminars are planned and details will be announced in due course:

Using Vitae in postgraduate supervision

Supervising Ethically Sensitive Research

Creating Communities among Postgraduate Researchers.

 If you have any queries about this programme, please contact Prof David Webb (