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DPhil Students - Supervisors and Advisors


When you arrive in Oxford you should already know the name of the supervisor provisionally allocated to you (on the basis of interest and previous experience). It is up to you to make contact soon after you arrive. If, as your first year progresses, it becomes clear that your interests are converging on a research topic which can be supervised more appropriately by another member of staff it will be necessary for your supervision arrangements to change. In some cases joint supervision is arranged. The close working relationship with your supervisor is likely to be the most important element during your research life in the department, and much of the first year will be spent on arriving at a good working relationship. The nature of this relationship will depend to a large extent on individual work patterns, but some useful guidelines can be found online here

In spite of the range of styles of interaction between supervisor and research student, it is important that you meet on a regular basis. We advise that you should meet with your supervisor at least 4 times per term. A more typical pattern is meeting on a fortnightly basis, at least until you reach the stage of writing up your dissertation.

Academic advisor

You have also been allocated an advisor: a member of staff of the Department of Computer Science with whom you may talk, as an alternative to your supervisor, about research or problems unrelated to work. Your advisor may be involved in monitoring your progress and may stand in if your supervisor is absent. Thus you should keep your advisor informed of your interests and progress and meet with your advisor each term to discuss your progress. Nearly everyone finds that the process of explaining their work clarifies it, and your explanation will benefit by your having to assume less background knowledge when explaining to your advisor.

College advisor

The role of the College Advisor is additional and complementary to that provided in the student’s department or faculty. The College Advisor is not expected to perform the role of the Department or Faculty Supervisor(s), or to be responsible for directing students’ academic work. Rather, the intention is to provide a focal point for an individual student’s relationship with the College, and general academic or pastoral advice and assistance throughout the student’s course of study. You will be given information about the role of the College Advisor in your induction packs from college.

If something goes wrong

If you find any aspect of your supervision unsatisfactory and you feel unable to discuss it with your supervisor, you should contact your advisor, the Director of Graduate Studies, the Graduate Studies Administrator, or the Head of Department.

Progress Reports

All students are invited to report on their progress once a term using the

Graduate Supervision System

and you will be sent reminders about this. You should use this opportunity but do not wait to report a problem here - problems should be dealt with as they happen. It is essential that students here on a Tier 4 visa complete these reports as part of the monitoring process.