Quality Manual

Responsibilities of the School

This page explains the role and responsibilities of all Schools as regards postgraduate research students, including supervision arrangements and monitoring progress. Its content is relevant to staff and students across all of the UK, China and Malaysia campuses.

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Please be aware that during academic year 2020/21, the University introduced additional guidance in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. This page was previously affected by these arrangements and has been documented accordingly. 

Further details can be found in the "Additional guidance in 2020/21 due to Covid-19" section below.

1. Policy

Includes: responsibilities

The University intends that Academic Schools will provide a study environment which will facilitate the successful completion of research studies undertaken by students.

These matters are the responsibility of the Head of School, or person with suitable designated authority, who is expected to action the following matters.


2. Ensure adequate supervision arrangements

Ensure that, before accepting a student to read for a higher degree by research, there is a suitably-qualified member of staff in the School to act as lead supervisor and the essential facilities and resources which the student requires to carry out their research are available and (as far as can reasonably be foreseen) that this supervision and these facilities and resources will continue to be available for the duration of the student's registered period of study; for part-time students studying at a distance it is the responsibility of the School to ensure that the student has access to necessary facilities and resources at their place of study.

3. Implement equal opportunities policy

Implement the University's statement on equal opportunities insofar as it relates to admission for and pursuance of research study.

4. Establish Safety Officer and Safety Committee

Appoint, as necessary, a Safety Officer and a Safety Committee, and demand rigorous attention to all safety matters related to the student's research activity.

The School should organise safety instruction for students as appropriate and may wish to appoint a Safety Adviser for special purposes. Such Advisers may be any member of staff suitably qualified for the purpose.


5. Designate a School Postgraduate Student Adviser

Includes: responsibilities of the postgraduate student advisor

Designate a full-time member of staff to act as an independent School Postgraduate Student Adviser (SPSA). For more information, please consult the following:

Responsibilities of the Postgraduate Student Advisor


6. Allocate supervisor(s)

Includes: expectations of supervisors; duration of supervision

Ensure that prior to or, exceptionally, within 4 weeks of their initial registration, every research student is allocated a supervisory team, containing at least two supervisors who:

  • have suitable academic qualifications and appropriate expertise in the agreed area of the student's research topic;
  • have an acceptable level of supervision experience;
  • are willing and able to undertake the job of supervisor;
  • are aware of the roles and responsibilities of a supervisor and;
  • have been suitably trained in supervision skills.

Supervision should continue for the duration of the student's registered period of research.


7. Provide School Handbook

Ensure that a School Handbook is written and distributed for their School.

This should supplement University documentation with information on special School facilities, services and local procedures, including information relevant to postgraduate study, such as research ethics and approval procedures, etc.

Note: The School Handbook should reflect any School information or guidance for PGRs with relation to Covid-19 ways of working, etc.

8. Monitor Supervision Records

Put in place a system for storing and monitoring supervision records to ensure that the requisite number of supervisions has occurred and with appropriate regularity.

9. Make arrangements for seminars etc.

Organise and invite research students to colloquia, seminars and meetings relevant to their research work.

10. Monitor progress

Monitor, from time to time, the supervision and progress of students in their Schools with particular reference to the completion of theses and provide the University with such information if requested to do so.

11. Approve upgrading

The Head of School should receive, consider and approve as appropriate recommendations from supervisors and Internal Assessors that students' registration on MPhil or doctoral programmes be confirmed or amended and shall make recommendations accordingly to the University.

12. Allocate Internal Assessors

Allocate Internal Assessors to research students specifically for the purpose of the Annual Reviews.


13. Nominate External Examiners

Submit the names of suitable individuals to the University for approval as Internal and External Examiners for research degrees.

Additional guidance in 2020/21 due to Covid-19   Flag of United Kingdom   Flag of China   Flag of Malaysia

Please be aware that the following guidance was developed and applied during academic year 2020/21 in response to the coronavirus pandemic. These additional responsibilities were specific to Heads of School, Supervisors and Directors of PGR Programmes and should be read in conjunction with all other content on this page:

Responsibilities of the Head of School, Supervisor and Director of PGR Programme - Additional guidance for the 2020-21 academic year in response to Covid-19

This guidance appeared alongside the University's Exceptional Regulations that were developed and applied in response to the coronavirus pandemic. 

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

UNNC students Flag of China

Graduate School - PGR GS-PGR@nottingham.edu.cn Email

This content was last modified on 23 June 2023

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