Section 5. Responsibilities of the student

5.1 Overriding responsibility

The University expects the student to accept his or her obligation to act as a responsible member of the University’s academic community. The student is also expected to take ultimate responsibility for his or her research programme and to develop an appropriate working relationship with his or her supervisor(s).

5.2 The research programme

In relation to the research programme, it is important for the student:

  • to programme and undertake work according to an agreed timetable, and to keep relevant records of all aspects of the work in such a way that they can be accessed and understood by anyone with a legitimate need to see them;
  • to take responsibility for the development of subject-specific research training and personal and professional skills, and to make positive use of the University’s teaching and learning facilities, and opportunities for this development;
  • to seek out and follow the regulations applying to the research programme, and to seek clarification, where necessary, and to be familiar with other regulations and policies relating to him or her, including health and safety, intellectual property, data handling and research integrity;
  • to raise problems or difficulties with the relevant authority so that appropriate guidance may be offered;
  • to carry out research with proper regard to good health and safety practices, and to be aware of the need for adequate health insurance and health precautions when travelling abroad;
  • to understand the demands of a research degree and to devote sufficient time to study to make satisfactory progress and to complete each stage of the degree by the deadlines set out in the Examination Regulations;
  • to work towards a suitable standard of written and spoken English for transfer and confirmation and for the final submission of the thesis.

It is for the student to ensure that competing demands on his or her time are minimised and to ensure that his or her supervisor is aware of, and approves, commitments (e.g. paid work, conferences) or time away that might impinge on the student’s work.

5.3 Working with the supervisor

In order to make the most effective use of supervision, the student should endeavour to develop an appropriate working pattern, including an agreed and professional relationship with the supervisor(s). To facilitate this, the student should discuss with the supervisor the type of guidance and comment which he or she finds most helpful, and agree a schedule of meetings. The student should also be aware of his or her joint responsibility with the supervisor to ensure that regular and frequent contact is maintained, and to be encouraged to take the initiative to maintain contact when necessary

In working with supervisors or other academic staff, students should also:

  • recognise the demands made on a supervisor’s time and the need to prepare adequately for meetings and to observe deadlines;
  • accept the importance of constructive criticism within the supervisory relationship, and seek a full assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of any work;
  • give full weight to any suggested guidance and corrective action proposed by the supervisor in the event of problems;
  • co-operate with the supervisor to produce detailed parallel reports on progress at the end of each term via the Graduate Supervision System;
  • discuss their skills training needs with the supervisor, both informally during regular supervisory contacts and formally at particular times as detailed in subject handbooks;
  • make appropriate use of any guidance available relating to the student’s career after successful completion of a research degree, for example, the Careers Service;
  • inform the supervisor as soon as possible of any circumstance which might lead to interruption of study;
  • where the student feels that there are good grounds for contemplating a change of supervision arrangements, discuss this with the existing supervisor, or, if this presents a difficulty, discuss this with the DGS or other appropriate officer or adviser, or with a college adviser.

5.4 Submission and completion

The requirements in relation to submission are set out in full in the Examination Regulations, however in particular it is essential for the student:

  • to ensure that his or her written English is of the necessary standard for the submission of a thesis;
  • to be prepared to defend the subject of the thesis in fluent English at the viva;
  • to allow sufficient time for writing up and to pay particular attention to final proof reading;
  • to decide when he or she wishes to submit the thesis for examination, having provided the supervisor with sufficient time to comment on the final draft and having taken account of the supervisor’s opinion;
  • to be aware of the necessary steps in the examination process and the timescales required.