Creative Arts

Postgraduate research

Frequently asked questions

What should I expect from my supervisor?

The principal supervisor will be responsible for managing the student’s overall research programme. He/she will:

  • Ensure the student has access to appropriate facilities and advice to pursue their programme, agreeing with the secondary supervisor and the student how the programme will be conducted including how the responsibilities of students and supervisors listed below will be discharged.
  • Ensure the student understands the progression requirements and the format and standard of work which is required of them during each Part of the programme including the provisions of Regulation XXVI and this Code.
  • Take the lead in advising the student on their transferable skills training requirements.
  • Be responsible for signing off any requests from the student for periods of study away from the campus (full-time students), holidays, leave of absence, parental leave etc. and ensuring the impact of any such arrangements on the research programme are clarified and documented if required.
  • Take the lead in the academic supervision of the student, unless the secondary supervisor has particularly relevant subject knowledge but is still developing their experience of supervision, ensuring that at least the minimum of meeting reports from 12 regular meetings are recorded in Co-Tutor.

The secondary supervisor will normally provide additional academic expertise for the research degree programme and an alternative point of contact where the principal supervisor might be temporarily unavailable. Ideally, they should be willing to step in as principal supervisor should the original principal supervisor cease to be available for some reason but it is recognised that this will not always possible or appropriate. The relative academic input within the supervisory team may vary as the programme of study develops. Where the principal and secondary supervisor are not in the same School the student will be registered in the School of the principal supervisor.

What should I expect from my Director of Doctoral Programmes

The Dean of School shall nominate as Director of Doctoral Programmes, and where necessary Deputy Directors of Doctoral Programmes, whose role shall be:

2.5.1    Recruitment and overseeing the admissions process

  • Working proactively with the Dean, the ADR and others to support the recruitment of new PGR students across all disciplines and sub-disciplines in the School/Dept so as to build a thriving PGR community;
  • Receiving and reviewing applications for research degrees, and, in consultation with colleagues, confirming decisions on those applications;
  • Assisting in the dissemination of information concerning relevant PGR funding opportunities;
  • Ensuring that School PGR publicity materials, including relevant web pages, are up to date;
  • Raising the profile of PGR related matters across the School and encouraging colleagues to seek funding to support future students.

2.5.2 Overseeing PGR induction and training

  • Ensuring that all new Postgraduate Research Students are properly inducted and integrated into the research community of the School/Department either through a formal School induction event at the start of the academic year, or for those PGR students who join later in the year, through individual induction programmes at an appropriate time;
  • Identifying, in conjunction with supervisors, the learning needs of new students and helping them to decide on appropriate training courses; encouraging students to review their own changing learning needs during the course of their programme, and to participate in appropriate training sessions;
  • In conjunction with taught Programme Directors, to co-ordinate issues relating to Post Graduate Teaching Assistants, including their additional skills training and progress in relation to teaching duties. (Note this may not apply in all Schools.)

2.5.3 PGR progress monitoring

  • Ensuring that all PGR students are receiving appropriate supervision, that supervisors are employing best practice and to monitor supervisory loads;
  • To liaise with the Dean to ensure appropriate supervision arrangements are made whenever a supervisor leaves;
  • To be the point of contact for students where there are difficulties with supervision and to escalate these to the Dean or ADR in the first instance where necessary;
  • Overseeing progress reviews for all research degree students, including appointment of independent Reviewers, and ensuring that there is a robust progress monitoring and review system through a Progression Board;
  • Dealing with any issues (academic or personal) in conjunction with the Dean, ADR, or Supervisors arising from Progress Meetings that cannot be satisfactorily be dealt with by the progress reviewers, taking advice from professional services as necessary, and ensuring that appropriate records of progress meetings are kept;
  • Overseeing annual reports from PGR students and their supervisors on progress;
  • In conjunction with supervisors to encourage and/or arrange opportunities for postgraduate research students to make presentations of their research internally, and to seek publication opportunities, conference presentation opportunities, or practical work exhibition/production opportunities as appropriate;
  • In conjunction with supervisors to ensure that students working away from Loughborough are kept in touch with the School and its research culture;
  • To support PGR support staff in the School in ensuring attendance monitoring records are kept up to date and that the School PGR Handbook is up to date;
  • To report to the ADR on issues relating to the management and oversight of research degree programmes;
  • To represent PGR programmes at meetings of Progression Boards or School Committees;
  • To participate in Academic Misconduct or Student appeal hearings if required;
  • To contribute to the School Quadrennial Review process.

2.5.4  Other

  • Providing an initial point of contact where a student has a complaint and to resolve that complaint wherever possible informally as part of the University’s complaints procedure;
  • Providing guidance on the University Regulations or seeking further advice where appropriate;
  • With the ADR maintaining an overview of the allocation and distribution of studentships and dealing with issues arising in connection with PGR studentships in conjunction with the Doctoral College Office;
  • Preparing and delivering reports on PGR issues to relevant School and Doctoral College meetings;
  • Attending relevant School and University committee meetings concerned with PGR issues and raising any specific issues that require attention.

What is the Postgraduate Administrator?

The Postgraduate Administrator is there to support all Postgradaute Research Students with any administrative queries.

What kinds of research training can I (or must I) undertake?

As a PhD student, you are expected to complete 30 days of dedicated transferable skills training during your registered period of study. This may be spread evenly (say, 10 days per year for full-time students) or may be weighted so that up to 20 days are completed in the first year, with a minimum of 5 days completed in each subsequent year. For part-time students, the annual requirement is halved. Training sessions that contribute to your total requirement are run by the University's Professional Development unit, and training is also offered by the Creative Arts. Other options are through self-guided study, or by attendance at training sessions organised by nationally-recognised bodies, such as UK-Grad. You need to keep a record of these training days and present it in your annual Student Self Report that you submit to the office and that is read by the panel that meets to monitor your progression.

There's more detail on the Doctoral College website. 

What are the set points in the calendar I need to look out for?

You should meet with your supervisor(s) regularly, at least once a month. 

Full and part time students shall have an initial progress review after 6 months registration. The review will be based on a written report from the student of at least 2000 words outlining progress with the literature review, the thesis plan and the definition of the research question(s).  Part time students should prepare a report of at least 1000 words.

The progress of research students will be assessed during and at the end of each Part relevant to their programme of study. Attendance and engagement will also be monitored on an ongoing basis through supervisory meetings. Should major concerns arise between scheduled assessment points for the student’s Part, supervisors may refer a student to the Director of Doctoral Programmes or their nominee who, acting on behalf of the Dean of School, may invoke the procedures for Termination of Studies for Failure to Participate as set out in Paragraphs 22 to 25 of Regulation IX.

How long have I got to complete?

Normally 3 years full time or 6 years part time. An additional one year is allowable, although you have to present your reason for wanting it.

What should I do if there are any problems?

If you can't resolve a problem by talking with your supervisor, then you (alone or together with the supervisor) may consult your Director of Doctoral Programmes. If that doesn't produce a solution, you can speak to the Head of Creative Arts.