Starting Supervision

All new academics to UCD will be required to undertake a Research Supervisor Induction Session. Information regarding these sessions will normally be communicated to new staff by HR or via their respective Colleges.

Steps For Developing Good Working Relationships:

 Research supervision is a complex form of teaching which involves a supervisor taking on a number of roles and responsibilities, often requiring adaptation over the life cycle of the doctorate. An important first step with new doctoral students is to engage in open discussion about working styles, practices, roles, responsibilities and expectations that you have of them and they have of you. As the doctorate progresses, this discussion should be revisited and practices adopted. UCD’s guide to roles and responsibilities is highlighted in the Academic Regulations.

 Clarifying Expectations:

 One of the most important roles as a supervisor, warranting particular attention, is the clarification of expectations, roles and responsibilities. Mismanagement in this area is a common stumbling block for student progression, an issue which is almost entirely avoidable. As supervisor, it is important that you highlight the expectations that you and the university have of the student and facilitate an open discussion where they can discuss their expectations of you as their supervisor.

Policy for Supervision of Research Degree Students

Some of the areas which require clarification of mutual expectations include:

  • Supervisor’s style / approach to supervision
  • Format and frequency of supervision meetings
  • Provision of feedback (written or oral/ frequency)
  • Roles of RSP members
  • Monitoring of progress
  • Transfer Assessment formats and requirements
  • Progression milestones
  • Preferred forms of communication
  • Methods of dissemination of research
  • Ethics

Supervisors should also highlight that expectations may / will change between parties as the candidature progresses and that this topic should be revisited at key stages in the doctoral life cycle.

Checklists for Starting Research in UCD (Staff and Student):

Checklist for Starting Supervision at UCD

Checklist for Starting as a Research Student in UCD


Sample Discussion Points Between Supervisor & Student:

  • What is a doctoral thesis?
  • How will the doctorate be examined?
  • What is meant by original contribution?
  • Are there any good examples of doctoral theses in this discipline that the student could look at?
  • Clarification of - programme, student and supervisor expectations and responsibilities
  • Are ethical considerations required in this research project?
  • What is the UCD structured PhD?
  • Who are the other members of the Research Studies Panel (RSP), what role does each member play and how often should the student meet the RSP?
  • How will meetings be conducted (frequency, structure etc.)?
  • What is the supervisor, student and university’s roles and responsibilities?
  • What is the supervisors working style? (what can the student expect, limits of contribution or direction given by supervisor or required from student)
  • How will progress of the research be monitored?
  • How will written work be managed? (submitted in draft or completed form? frequency of feedback (in writing or not) etc).
  • How will the research be disseminated?
  • Authorship and Intellectual Property
  • How is the TA (Transfer Assessment) structured, when will it take place and what will be assessed?
  • What is the membership of the TAP (Transfer Assessment Panel)?
  • What supports are available to Doctoral students in UCD?
  • What training is required to support the student’s research and professional development?
  • Where can administrative issues be resolved?
  • Who is the Graduate Research Contact for this School?
  • Academic misconduct
  • Conflict resolution-processes at UCD
  • Social, cultural activities for doctoral students in UCD