All research students in Physics have a designated Supervisor. This is a member of academic staff who will guide the research programme and provide the necessary instruction to the student to complete their research safely and to the required standard.
Usually this supervision will mean regular meetings between student and supervisor, but the exact format will vary according to individual circumstances. For example, in an experimental project you might expect to talk informally with your supervisor several times a day. In other cases there might be a more formal weekly meeting.
If, as a result of these meetings or the regular progress monitoring excercises, it becomes clear that either a student's progress or the standard of their work is unsatisfactory, the Supervisor will initially arrange an agreed plan of supportive action. If this does not resolve the issues within a reasonable time the matter will be referred to the Graduate Progress Committee.
Your Supervisor may also be able to offer advice on academic or personal problems if required. In this role they are acting as your Personal Tutor. Even if they can not solve these problems they can point you towards other sources of help within the University.
When the time for thesis writing arrives, your Supervisor will provide advice on writing up the work, read through a complete draft of the thesis and provide detailed comments. However, it is up to the student to finally decide what goes in the thesis. The supervisor will also arrange examiners and be able to advise on any corrections that are required after examination.
The University publishes the full Guidelines on the Supervision and Monitoring of Research Degree Students which includes all the obligations of University, Department, Supervisor and Student. As this is quite a long document you may like to just read the section entitled Responsibilities of Research Students on the last two pages, noting what you are personnaly expected to take responsibility for!
Contact with part-time students will typically be less frequent than that with full-time students. Supervisors are expected to ensure that part-time students are aware of the frequency of supervisory contact and feedback that they can expect during their period of study.
Second Supervisor (sometimes “co-supervisor”)
A minority of students may be assigned a second supervisor. This will be a member of staff internal to Warwick or from an external organisation who has a substantial role in co-supervising the research project. Such supervisors can be appointed by request to the DGS. Members of academic staff who give occasional guidance to a student will not usually be nominated as a second supervisor. Second supervisors, if appointed, will usually (but not necessarily) act as reserve supervisors (see below).
All students must have a reserve supervisor. This is a local member of staff, usually with related research interests, who has agreed to take over in exceptional circumstances, should the primary supervisor no longer be able to continue to supervise the student.
This is a member of staff other than the primary supervisor, but usually with related research interests, who is responsible for providing feedback on the exercises listed under the Doctoral Skills pages on Moodle that make up the progression requirements. In particular, this includes providing feedback on the project outline, and progress report in year one and the research poster and oral presentations in year 2 [In some case research groups will make separate arrangements for providing feedback on the year 2 oral presentation]. The consolidated feedback supervisor will also attend the first year upgrade viva that takes place in May.
Industrial CASE sudents and those spending significant periods working abroad will in addition have designated supervisors in the host laboratories who will take responsibility for their day to day supervision while away from Warwick.
Change of Supervisor
A change of supervisor may be possible should a student and/or supervisor feel this is necessary for academic or personal reasons. Requests should be made to the Director of Graduates (or Head of Department). It must however be recognised that each member of academic staff has different expertise, so a change of supervisor may either not be possible or result in redirection of the research.