Taught Master's Schemes: Good Practice Guidelines for the Supervision of Dissertations

Responsibilities of the University

1.
  1. Dissertation proposals to be feasible in terms of the timescale and resources available and to be allocated to supervisors with suitable expertise.
  2. Supervisors to be allowed sufficient time to discharge their duties, particularly where the cohort is large.
  3. Research Council guidance to be followed, when appropriate, in respect of facilities to be made available (study space, library, appropriate research environment, etc).
  4. Written guidelines to be issued with regard to attendance, frameworks for meetings and general expectations.
  5. The implementation of all such guidelines to be monitored on a regular basis.
  6. Where candidates require additional help with language skills, this advice to be provided as a service separate from the duties of the supervisor.
  7. A mechanism to be in place whereby a student is able to request a change of supervisor, and whereby an alternative member of staff is made available should any supervisor be absent for a prolonged period of time.
  8. The number of students allocated to a supervisor to be such that he/she will have the capacity to fulfil the responsibilities noted below.

Responsibilities of the Supervisor

2.
  1. Advice and guidance to be provided to the student with the aim of facilitating the production of a dissertation of the requisite standard for a Taught Master's degree.
  2. The dissertation proposal to be within the supervisor's field of expertise, the selected topic to be defined in consultation with the student.
  3. The dissertation proposal to be suitable for completion within the allotted time span.
  4. A timetable to be agreed for the submission of work and the scheduling of regular meetings.
  5. A careful record to be kept, agreed between supervisor and student, of all such formal meetings, including dates, action agreed and deadlines set.
  6. Work to be returned according to specified deadlines and accompanied by constructive comment.

Responsibilities of the Student

3.
  1. The dissertation produced to be first and foremost the student's own work, albeit achieved with benefit of advice and guidance from the supervisor.
  2. A timetable to be agreed for the submission of work and the scheduling of regular meetings.
  3. A careful record to be kept, agreed between supervisor and student, of all such formal meetings, including dates, action agreed and deadlines set.
  4. Supervisors to be contacted should additional meetings be considered necessary.
  5. Work to be completed within the agreed framework, with any problems relating to submission to be brought to the supervisor's attention in writing as soon as possible.