Supervisors' responsibilities

Learn about your supervisor's responsibilities.

It is the responsibility of your supervisors to guide you through the academic and administrative requirements of your degree. Supervisors will meet with you regularly and as well as being an academic mentor they will act as guides to Victoria University of Wellington facilities and help to ensure you comply with the University’s administrative regulations.

Providing a framework

Your supervisors will provide a framework within which your academic work can take place. This framework will be established by:

  • Clarifying expectations regarding responsibility for initiating and managing meetings, formulating and focusing the topic, selecting appropriate methodology, planning project stages, participating in conferences, publishing during candidature, taking action if/when supervision-related issues arise etc;
  • setting up a regular schedule of meetings with students (not less than one per month) to allow for regular interaction and information flow; reaching agreement with students on indicators of progress being made and dates for submission of interim and final reports; and
  • providing regular, constructive and prompt feedback on progress to students

Academic guidance

Your supervisors will provide academic guidance on a range of academic matters. These include:

  • the standards required for a doctorate
  • planning your research
  • skills you will need to acquire
  • research resources
  • methodology
  • undertaking a literature review
  • ethical, legal, professional and safety issues
  • the criteria you must meet to progress from provisional to full registration
  • the development and refinement of your research proposal and, later, your thesis (supervisors should advise on matters of style and presentation).

Throughout, your supervisors will bear in mind the expectations of examiners.

Assessing your progress

Supervisors will assess your progress and provide you with constructive feedback throughout your doctorate. They will need to ensure that you possess the understanding and abilities to:

  • advance from provisional to full registration
  • carry out your research
  • complete your thesis on time.

Help developing your career

Supervisors will encourage you to participate in academic life, both within the University and beyond. They should:

  • help you make contact with other scholars
  • encourage both attendance and presentation at seminars and conferences
  • encourage you to publish
  • provide information where appropriate on scholarships and financial support
  • provide advice to help you in your career.

Encouraging publication

Supervisors should discuss with you the possibilities for publication. In most disciplines, you’ll need to publish if you are serious about a career as an academic or researcher.

Publication should be seen as part of doctoral study rather than a barrier to timely completion of the thesis.

Important issues supervisors should advise you on include:

  • the difference between writing a thesis and publishing articles or a book
  • how any publications might relate to your thesis
  • managing your time
  • appropriate journals or other forums in which to publish
  • the possible exploitation of intellectual property arising from your research
  • recognition of authorship in cases where you are contemplating joint publication with your supervisor.