Quality Manual

Personal tutoring

This page provides guidance on the role and responsibilities of personal tutors, including about effective delivery. Its contents are primarily directed at tutors but may also be of interest to staff and students across all of the UK, China and Malaysia campuses.

Search the manual

In the academic year 2023/24, first-year undergraduate students in the Schools of Psychology (UK & UNM) and Law will be allocated to small interdisciplinary tutoring teams consisting of both staff and student representatives, instead of individual personal tutors.

Please be aware that during academic year 2019/20, the University introduced exceptional regulations in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. These were campus specific and meant to be read in conjunction with all pre-existing content.

From the beginning of academic year 2021/22, the active application of the exceptional regulations affecting this page has now ceased.

Any outcomes from the application of these regulations during academic years 2019/20 and 2020/21 will, however, continue to be honoured and used in all decisions regarding those affected.

Further details can be found in the "Exceptional regulations applied in response to Covid-19" section below.

Personal tutoring

Includes: expectations; personal tutor meetings; goal setting and action planning; School responsibility regarding Senior Tutors; evaluation of personal tutoring; programme monitoring and review


Undergraduate (UG) students
  • Every undergraduate student should be allocated a personal tutor by their school to unit at the start of their course. For Joint Honours students the personal tutor should be appointed by the lead school or unit. However, these students should also have a Joint Honours advisor in the other school who meets with the student at least twice per year (individually or in a group), particularly to assist with subject specific module choice and feedback.
  • Personal tutors must be academic/clinical academic members of staff (or, with the approval of the University Senior Tutor, members of the Administrative, Professional and Management (APM) job family at Level 4 or above). Note that in the UK, clinical lecturers, practitioner health lecturers, NHS mentors and social work practice learning tutors or equivalent can be personal tutors.
  • Schools should ensure that appropriate allowance is made in the Work Load Plan (WLP) for the staff-time necessary for effective personal tutoring and the administration involved in being an effective personal tutor.
  • Schools should ensure that students are informed of where they can seek assistance if their personal tutor is unavailable. In most cases, this would be the Senior Tutor.
Postgraduate taught (PGT) students

Every taught postgraduate student (whether full or part time, on a professional course, or on a distance learning course) should be allocated a personal tutor and informed of this at the start of their course. In particular, schools should ensure that PGT personal tutoring programmes provide:

  • Review of feedback from early progress checks and advice and guidance on how to support the tutee’s development
  • Opportunity to participate in the personal and professional developmental opportunities available at Nottingham
Postgraduate research (PGR) students

PGR students should receive personal and academic support from their supervisor and from their School Postgraduate Student Adviser.

For more information about the role and responsibilities of the School Postgraduate Student Advisor, please consult the following:

Responsibilities of the Postgraduate Student Advisor

Responsibilities of the School (PGR)



Personal Tutor meetings

There should be a clear stage appropriate developmental agenda for every personal tutor meeting, with appropriate time for reflection and action planning/goal setting around the following areas, in addition to discipline specific activity:

  • Wellbeing
  • Health
  • Interests and hobbies
  • Academic development and progress
  • Planning and organisation
  • Finance
  • Careers/employability
  • Skills acquisition

Goal setting and action planning

Personal, professional and employability developmental goals may relate to any area of potential achievement other than those for which students are explicitly provided with an assessment grade or academic award. 

By setting, achieving and reflecting on their academic performance and their personal, professional and employability developmental goals with their personal tutor, students may be assisted in maximising their experience in their time at the University of Nottingham, and should improve both their employability prospects and their general wellbeing. 

It is suggested that the best goals will be simple, tangible, memorable and achievable.

Examples of some goals include:

  • Participation in the Nottingham Advantage Award (NAA)
  • Investigating work placement or final employment options and identifying possible companies to apply to
  • Undertaking a volunteering activity
  • Helping to run a student society
  • Becoming a member of a hall of residence committee or team
  • Learning about another society or culture
  • Improving writing or research skills
  • Increasing levels of tutorial academic contribution
  • Identifying and applying for study abroad or campus mobility options
  • Developing ideas for a dissertation topic

In addition personal wellbeing goals may include:

  • Seeking help – for example, attending a counselling service workshop, meeting with the welfare team, or seeing a General Practitioner (GP)
  • Exploring online support apps such as Headspace and other wellbeing resources
  • Doing some exercise and re-engaging with an activity previously enjoyed
  • Increasing social activity and keeping up with family and friends

School's responsibility regarding Senior Tutors

  • Each school should appoint an appropriately experienced academic member of staff to act as a Senior Tutor and should keep the University Senior Tutor and the Deputy University Senior Tutor informed of the role holder. If they wish, schools may decide to appoint multiple Senior Tutors with responsibility for different groups of students (for example, undergraduates or postgraduates) or different units or divisions within their school if they feel that this will improve their overall delivery of student support and development.
  • Appropriate Work Load Planning (WLP) time should be allocated to effectively perform this role.

For more information about the role and responsibilities of Senior Tutors, please consult the following:

Role and responsibilities of Senior Tutors

Evaluation of personal tutoring

Each school should take steps to monitor the effectiveness of its arrangements for the provision of student support and development. The Senior Tutor(s) should take a lead role in undertaking this monitoring.

It is the responsibility of the University Senior Tutor to monitor the operation of student support and development across the University and to bring issues of concern to relevant University committees.

Programme monitoring and review

One aspect of the University's Educational Enhancement and Assurance Reviews (EEARs) is to determine whether adequate overall provision is made for student support and development support. Central support services providing student support and development are also subject to periodic reviews by the University.

For more information about these processes, please consult the following:

Programme monitoring and review


Role and responsibilities of personal tutors

As part of their school’s student support, development and personal tutoring programme, all personal tutors in the University of Nottingham are expected to support, encourage and guide their tutees’ development so that all students are supported in maximising their academic potential, personal development, and professional and employability skills acquisition throughout their time at the University.

Personal tutors can enable their tutees to achieve this by helping them to review their progress regularly by encouraging self-appraisal and self-development strategies, by helping them to identify learning needs or goals and monitor their progress towards achieving their goals, as well as by exploring developmental opportunities available both within and outside the University. The personal tutor will also act as a gateway to the wider support and development provision at the University.

Personal tutor responsibilities

Personal tutors are not expected to be able to advise on all matters of personal and professional development and support. They are, however, expected to have sufficient knowledge of their school and the wider University so that they can help students to find the assistance they require. Such information will be made available to them, either by way of training or through their Senior Tutor.

  • Upon appointment as a personal tutor, they are expected to undertake appropriate induction and training and thereafter attend refresher training on a biennial basis (either by way of Professional Development events or something which has been organised by the school or unit Senior Tutor).
  • Where personal tutor meetings are not timetabled, personal tutors are expected to be available to meet/make contact for a developmental and personal tutoring meeting with their tutees at least three times per academic year (once per term). In addition to this, for first year undergraduate students, an additional introductory meeting/contact should be arranged, ordinarily within the first two weeks of the first term. For postgraduate taught (PGT) students, or students on placement or exchange, this contact need not be face-to-face and can be completed by way of email, Skype, telephone or other.
  • In addition to these scheduled meetings or contact, personal tutors should ensure that their tutees are able to contact them for additional guidance and support.
  • Personal tutors should inform the Senior Tutor if their students are not participating in the personal tutoring programme and are not meeting or contacting them
  • Personal tutoring meetings or contact should provide an opportunity for the personal tutor to encourage their student’s developmental action planning/goal setting and reflection on performance, skills acquisition and employability
  • Personal tutors are expected to challenge their students to make the most of their experience at the University of Nottingham. In part, if appropriate, they will do this by pointing out the wide range of opportunities made available by the University (for example, through the Nottingham Advantage Award (NAA), Careers and Employability Service and the Students' Union) 
  • All personal tutors are expected to be familiar with the University’s guidance for personal tutors, as well as their own school or unit’s supplementary guidance, and to keep informed of any updates to this material
  • Personal tutors are expected to provide their tutees with references for employment and further studies
  • Personal tutors should record and share relevant notes and information with their tutees, in due course this will be via the advisory note facility on campus solutions student record system

Student engagement with personal tutoring

Includes: student responsibilities

All students need to appreciate that a successful undergraduate or postgraduate career will involve more than passing assessments to achieve a University award. The University (both centrally and at a School level) provides a wide range of support and development services to assist students in difficulty, as well as to improve the wellbeing, personal and academic development, understanding of University practices, employability and sense of community of every student. However, it is the responsibility of every student to gain an adequate knowledge of what services are available to and appropriate for them, and to make use of these services as their individual needs and circumstances require.

In particular, students should make all reasonable efforts to prepare for and attend all scheduled meetings with their personal tutor, and to keep their personal tutor informed of their personal development progress.

Students are reminded that they are likely to require references for employment or further study from their personal tutor, and that it is unreasonable to expect their personal tutor to be able to supply an adequate reference if they have not engaged in a reasonable level of interaction with them.

Students must keep their school informed of circumstances that may impact on their progress and which may require personal support at either a School or University level.

Exceptional regulations applied in response to Covid-19   Flag of United Kingdom   Flag of China   Flag of Malaysia

Please be aware that the following Exceptional Regulations were developed and applied during academic years 2019/20 and 2020/21 in response to the coronavirus pandemic. These records are campus specific and should be read in conjunction with all other content on this page.

For more information about the exceptional regulations as a whole, please consult the following:

Exceptional Regulations: Covid-19 - 2019/20 - 2020/21

If you have any problems or queries relating to this page, please contact:

UNUK students Flag of United Kingdom 

Student Services

This content was last modified on 19 October 2023

Student Services

Portland Building, University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

Contact us