Code of practice governing supervision of dissertations/final individual student projects

1. About this Code of Practice

This Code sets out the University’s minimum expectations on Schools for the supervision of undergraduate and postgraduate taught student dissertations/final individual projects. It incorporates University Policy on Supervision and specifies information that should be provided to students by Schools in a Dissertation / Project Supervision Handbook.

Of relevance is the Student Charter, which outlines a common set of principles that students and staff agree will result in an outstanding student experience. It includes an expectation that students will take responsibility for managing their own learning by being an active participant and positively engaging in their programme of study. This includes attending meetings with supervisors and ensuring they spend sufficient regular time in private study.

2. University Supervision Policy

The University has agreed the following minimum expectations that it requires Schools to meet in the supervision of undergraduate student dissertations / final individual student projects:

2.1 Supervision Contact Time

For each 10 credits of dissertation/final individual student project module weighting students should receive a minimum of one hour one to one supervision with the academic member of staff who is their named supervisor. While it is acknowledged that some Schools have dissertation related preparatory modules within Part B and that these are of great value in the disciplines where this occurs; the contact hours from this should not be counted towards the minimum supervision time outlined above. For postgraduate students, it may be appropriate for some of this supervision, but not all, to be delivered through group supervision.

2.2 Ethical Approval

All taught students undertaking a dissertation/final individual student project are required to complete an Ethical Awareness Form for Taught Student Projects in discussion with their supervisor. Schools are required to determine an appropriate process for storing the Ethical Awareness Form for Taught Student Projects as a formal record.

2.3 Dissertation/ Project Supervision Handbooks

Schools are expected to produce Supervision Handbooks which provide School-specific information about how supervision is delivered within the School. The Handbooks may be produced at School, Discipline, Programme or Module level. Students should be provided with a copy of the Handbook by the following deadlines:

Part undertaking Dissertation Deadline for providing the Handbook to students*
Part C (without Part I) By week 10 of Semester 2 of Part B
Part C (with Part I) By week 10 of Semester 2 Part I
Part D By week 10 of Semester 2 of Part C
Postgraduate Ahead of the relevant semester

* the timing of communication to direct entry students may differ.


The Handbook should be made available on Learn and communicated to students by appropriate means (for example, in briefing sessions, via Learn notifications etc.). Hard-copy versions should be made available on request for reference purposes and for students with additional needs.

3. Content of Dissertation / Project Supervision Handbooks

As a minimum, Handbooks should include the following information:

1. Module information

  • A link to where a student can access the assessment criteria and deadlines for all assessed work for the module (this should either be accessible to students via Learn or included in the Handbook).

 2. Supervisor appointment

  • A statement outlining how a student’s topic and supervisor will normally be confirmed, and the deadlines for this.

3. Timing of Supervision Meetings

  • The minimum number of contact hours a student can expect to have with their supervisor.
  • The mode of delivery of supervision hours.
  • The likely frequency and duration of meetings.
  • The Semester week by when the first meeting will normally be arranged.
  • A statement outlining who will take responsibility for arranging the supervision meetings.
  • Information relating to the availability of staff support over the Easter and summer vacation periods.

4. Content of Supervision Meetings and Support

  • A statement clarifying how a record of supervision meetings will be kept.
  • An outline of what a student can and cannot expect from their supervisor i.e. detailing whether a supervisor will look at a full draft, a draft of just one chapter etc. and any relevant information regarding when a supervisor will normally be no longer able to check written work.
  • An outline of what formative and summative feedback will be provided on work.
  • Any special considerations in relation to issues such as ethical approval and health and safety.

5. Other support

  • A link to the Student Charter to serve as a reminder regarding expectations of both staff and students.
  • A reminder of where a student can seek pastoral support.
  • A secondary point of contact should a student have any concerns regarding the supervision of their dissertation e.g. supervisor main contact; module leader secondary point of contact.
  • A statement covering the availability of specialist equipment and software.
  • Any additional Module specific information.