What happens if I stop engaging with my supervisor and/or my programme?

What happens if I stop engaging with my supervisor and/or my programme?

Although you have to be able work independently on a research programme, it is still critical that continue to engage with your supervisor and particularly if your progress has been hampered for your reasons beyond your control.  

It is important for you to note the following:

A.  Expectations

Although you have to be able work independently on a research programme, it is still critical that continue to engage with your supervisor and particularly if your progress has been hampered for your reasons beyond your control.   It is important for you to note the following:

Academic Regulation 7.2 defines a research degree  as ‘awarded following successful completion of a programme of supervised research and advanced education and training’ with sections 7.2 a) and b) of this regulation outlining the expected outcomes for Research Masters and Doctoral level degree (or sections 8.1 or 9.1 for Professional Doctorate degrees or the MD programme respectively).  

Information on the expectations of a research student can be found in the Code of Practice for Supervisors and Research Degrees as well as the UCD Student Code of Conduct and UCD Dignity and Respect policies.  

B.  Communications

It is critical that a research student and supervisor maintain regular contact during a degree.

At the outset of your programme, a student and supervisor will clarify their expectations of how they will work together, communicate and manage unforeseen circumstances. Guidance on refining these expectations can be found in the Graduate Research Student Handbook.  It is useful to maintain a written record of the agreed expectations but if you are unclear about these requirements, please raise this with your supervisor. 

C.  Research Studies Panel (RSP)

A Research Studies Panel (RSP) will be appointed as an independent support to the supervisory relationship for both you and your supervisor 

After the first meeting of the RSP, it is your responsibility to schedule subsequent meetings but you can also seek a meeting outside of their standard timeline if the circumstances arise.  

You should engage with the meetings of your RSP for the duration of your degree or if a challenge arises that is within their remit.    

If you encounter a problem during your programme, it is critical that you stay in contact with your supervisor(s) and/or your RSP.   

If there are circumstances beyond your control that are impacting your programme then you should engage with your supervisor and/or your RSP to identify a solution with outcomes ranging from adjusted milestones, a change in focus to your research, a period of leave,  or considering whether your current programme is the best fit for you.   

D. Conflict Resolution

If there is a breakdown in the relationship that you have with your supervisor, and it has not been possible to resolve the difficulties by engaging directly with each other, then please engage with your RSP and/or one of the other supports available to navigate these challenges. Details of this process are available in the Policy for Conflict Resolution for Supervisor(s) and Graduate Research Students.  

E.  Continued Non-Engagement/Lack of Progress

If communications, or attempts to engage with you, by your supervisor/RSP/Head of School  depending on how far a case has been escalated, do not receive a response over a continued period of time then the level of communications from any of these parties may become more formal and include deadlines that could impact your future progress

If there is a persistent failure to meet agreed milestones/deadlines/provide work of an appropriate standard and no explanation is provided, as well non-engagement with all attempts to enable you to continue and/or discuss the options available to you, then the School may ultimately be forced to consider whether you should continue in this programme.    

If non-engagement with your programme, with your supervisor(s) and your RSP continues, and you are in Stage 1 of the PhD, then this will be taken into account at the time of your Transfer Assessment.  

If non-engagement with your programme and/or failure to complete work to an appropriate standard, with your supervisor(s) and your RSP continues, and you are in Stage 2 of your PhD then the School may seek an additional meeting(s) to assess their progress, as outlined in section 7.48 of Academic Regulations (or 8.36 for Professional Doctorates), to assess your progress in your programme. 

There may be circumstances where, despite active engagement with your research programme, academic or research related reasons mean that it is not feasible for you to progress to Stage 2 of a PhD.   In those circumstances, a Transfer Assessment may result in a recommendation to change to a different programme.  If the chance of such a circumstance arises, you should engage with any efforts by your supervisor and RSP to support you academically.