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This section contains information about the role of supervisors and college advisers, and includes contact details for departmental Director of Graduate Studies, CDT Course Directors and the MPLS Graduate Office.

Your Supervisor(s)

Each graduate student is assigned a supervisor, who is your primary source of information and guidance. Usually, your supervisor will have been appointed some time before you arrive in Oxford, but in some departments and in some circumstances (e.g. if you are from an overseas country, and have not had an opportunity to visit the department beforehand or if your research programme has a significant taught element in the first year, such as the Doctoral Training Programmes) the appointment may be made later, once you have had the chance to meet members of staff to discuss possible project areas in more depth or until you have completed the taught components.

If you are unhappy with the arrangements for your supervision, particularly if you want to change your supervisor, you should first try to discuss the situation with your present supervisor. If, for any reason, you do not wish to do this, then you should contact the Director of Graduate Studies for your department. Your College Adviser or Tutor for Graduates may also be able to give informal advice.  It is the responsibility of the relevant Director of Graduate Studies to approve a change of supervisor.

Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) & Doctoral Training Programmes Course Directors

Each department (for Chemistry and Physics each sub-department), including the Doctoral Training Programmes, has a Director of Graduate Studies. The holder of this office has primary responsibility for graduate matters within the department concerned. The DGS is expected to formulate policy on graduate studies, and to exercise daily oversight of graduate business. As well as being involved in the planning of postgraduate lectures and training courses, the DGS is responsible for monitoring the progress of individual students and dealing with any problems as they arise, and for handling the administrative arrangements connected with, for example, supervision, probation, change of status, extensions of time, and the submission of theses.

Contacts for Director of Graduate Studies and Doctoral Training Programme Course Directors.

College Adviser

Each student is allocated a College Adviser by their college, from among its Senior Members, who will arrange to see you from time to time and whom you may contact throughout your studies for additional advice and support on academic and other matters.

The College Adviser: Principal Responsibilities

The role of the College Adviser is additional and complementary to that provided in the student’s department. The College Adviser is not expected to perform the role of the Department Supervisor(s), or to be responsible for directing students’ academic work. Rather, the intention is to provide a focal point for an individual student’s relationship with the College, and general academic or pastoral advice and assistance throughout the student’s course of study.

The College Adviser is expected to monitor a student’s progress, to discuss the University supervisor’s reports, and to be available for regular consultation on academic or other matters, including those issues that a student may feel unable to raise with their supervisor.  Advisers should, as appropriate, comment positively on students’ progress, and achievements; they are not only there to monitor students’ progress and pick up problems. The Adviser may wish to consult with the Tutor for Graduates (or Senior Tutor in Graduate colleges) about any students who appear to be experiencing difficulties in their academic work, or direct students to other appropriate persons for assistance with non-academic related difficulties.

College Advisees: Principal Responsibilities

You should not hesitate (or feel any way inhibited) to contact your college adviser outside their regular meetings and you should feel free to consult other college officers as necessary, including the Tutor for Graduates, the Senior Tutor or the College Secretary. College Advisees should be aware that the College Adviser is not expected to perform the academic role of the University supervisor. However, depending on your college adviser’s field of expertise, and intellectual interests, advisees may seek academic advice from the Adviser. In addition, advisees should feel free to seek advice from the College Adviser on academic-related matters including applications for research funding, conferences and seminar attendance, publication and career plans etc.

It is particularly important that advisees should consult their College Adviser if they experience any difficulty with their University supervisor. Any matters concerning examination procedures may be discussed with the College Adviser. If students wish to raise them formally, they should do so with the Tutor for Graduates/Senior Tutor.

MPLS Graduate Office

The Graduate Office supports the administration of the Graduate School, and is responsible for the management of all aspects of on-course graduate student administration, maintenance of graduate student records on the University’s student system, support for Graduate Supervision Reporting (GSR) and University Scholarships requiring a divisional competition (e.g. the Clarendon Scholarships). Contacts for the MPLS Graduate Office are:

Mrs Helen Beauchamp, Graduate Studies Manager

Mr Paul Seage, Graduate Studies Assistant

Ms Shona Murphy, Graduate Office Assistant

Mrs Lauren Wild, Graduate Funding Officer

All completed graduate studies forms and queries should be sent to the MPLS Graduate Office -

Should you need to visit the Graduate Office, please contact us to arrange a convenient time.

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