Help & Advice

Providing independent, confidential, and impartial advice to all University of Worcester students


The information below is based on the Research Degree Handbook and students should refer to this for more information.
Supervisory Teams
  • You can expect a team of two or more supervisors, each member of the team will be expected to bring a specific strength to the project.
  • Supervisors are normally assigned to students at the time an offer of admission is made, although it is possible that supervisors will be added or removed from a team as your studies progress or if staff leave the University.
  • All doctoral supervisors hold a doctorate or appropriate and equivalent professional experience and are active in research.
  • Usually there are 2 University of Worcester supervisors on a supervisory team, even if an external supervisor is also being used.
  • The lead internal supervisor is called the Director of Studies.
  • All University of Worcester supervisors are expected to attend the University’s Research Supervisor Training Programme and must be added to the Register of Approved Supervisors.
  • It is the responsibility of the Director of Studies to initiate and develop contact with the other supervisors.
  • It is the responsibility of the student to maintain regular contact with all their supervisors to ensure that the fullest advice on the research project is maintained.
  • Students will normally receive supervision with the DoS (and/or any other supervisor) as below.
  • Supervison includes face to face meetings, reading and feedback on drafts of work and adminsitration etc.
  • Contact may be in the form of face-to-face meetings (in person or by Microsoft Teams, Skype or alternative), e-mail or telephone. Frequency and methods of contact should be agreed at an early stage of the research degree.

Contact with DoS

(and/or any other internal supervisor)

Formal Supervisory Meetings

Whole supervisory team meetings

(including external supervisors)

Full-time students 30 hours per year (or equivalent) 6 times a year At least once and normally twice a year
Part-time students 20 hours per year (or equivalent) 3 times a year Once per year


My Supervisor is on Long-term Sick Leave

If your Director of Studies will be absent for longer than 8 weeks, (and sometimes for shorter periods where there is a need) the MPhil/PhD Course Leader is responsible for appointing an acting Director of Studies.

Where the supervisory team has a second University of Worcester supervisor with appropriate experience, it is expected that they will take on this role until the DoS returns to work. If the team does not have an appropriate supervisor, then a member of University of Worcester staff with the necessary supervisory experience will be brought on to the team for the period of illness.

When your supervisor returns to work normally the arrangements in place before the supervisor went on sick leave will resume, however, if a significant time has elapsed it is possible that this will be reviewed and the roles within the team changed

My Supervisor is Leaving the University of Worcester

Self-funded students - students may decide to follow their supervisor to another University and transfer their registration or reamain registered at the University of Worcester.

Funded studentship - students may decide to follow their supervisor to another University but this depends on funsing arrangments for the project. Funding from a University of Worcester project will not be transferred to another University.

A staff member leaving the University will not automatically remain on the supervisory team. This only happens when they bring specialist expertise to a project that can't be provided by another University of Worcester staff member. They should also evidence they have time to carry out the role. In some cases it's possible for the supervisor to become an external supervisor.

It is the responsibility of the Head of School to appoint, where possible, a new Director of Studies. Every effort will be made to find a new Director of Studies. However, if a suitable replacement cannot be found, it may then be necessary to terminate your research degree. In these cases, it is expected that the existing DoS and colleagues will identify other institutions to which you could apply for a transfer of registration.

Can I Change My Supervisor?
  • You are able to request changes to your supervisory team at any time during the programme. Common reasons include suprvisors leaving the University (see above) or a shift in focus of your project. 
  • If a students requests a change in supervision it may not always be possible to provide a replacement.
  • Students might be asked to continue with a new supervisor and slightly different topic.
  • All changes to the supervisory team must be requested via a RDB6 ‘Change of Supervisor’ form abd approved by the Research Degrees Baord.


  • Students and supevisors inevitably diasgree, this is a normal part of academic discourse. 
  • Disagreements is not normally a valid reason to request a change in supervisor.
  • If a disagreement cannot be resolved by the people concerned then this should be discussed initially with the MPhil/PhD Course Leader or nominee.
  • It is good practice for the Course Leader to meet the student and supervisor individually and in turn in order to find out more about the difficulties being experienced, and to then hold a meeting with all parties to discuss the way forward.
  • This meeting should include the whole supervisory team and is usually chaired by the Course Leader.  In most cases, disagreements can be resolved. However if after an agreed period of time differences cannot be resolved, then a request to change the team can be submitted to RDB for consideration.

The Help & Advice Service can offer confidential advice and support to students with any disagreements regarding supervision or the supervisory relationship.