Supervision

Find out about supervision, why it is important, how to do it well, and how to resolve problems.

Supervision is the distinctive teaching and learning process used for graduate research education at the University of Auckland and most universities worldwide.

On this page, you'll find practical guidance and resources to support supervision for supervisors and students.

You can find our policies and guidelines for postgraduate and doctoral supervision here: Doctoral Supervision Policies and Procedures

On this page:

  • A note about supervision
  • Deciding to get into supervision
  • Getting started with supervision
  • Research planning resources
  • Resolving supervision problems
  • Supervisor accreditation
  • Supervisor News

A note about supervision

Supervision can be challenging for both supervisors and students.

During your supervision experience, it is helpful to review your practice and try new techniques. Reflecting on what happens during the supervision process may help bring to the surface differences between supervisor and student understandings and expectations or to clarify thinking at critical moments in the process.

Research literature indicates that good communication is fundamental to supervision. It plays an important role in building trust and goodwill, preventing misunderstandings between supervisor and student. It benefits the effectiveness and enjoyment of supervision as well as the progress of the student’s research. Particularly in the early stages of supervision, regular meetings will help to establish effective communication.

Many of the resources below can help facilitate good communication between student and supervisor.

Find out more by reading University of Auckland research into doctoral supervision, here: Supporting doctoral writing

Deciding to get into supervision

In doctoral supervision particularly, the supervisory working relationship will go on for a long time. It is crucial to think carefully about your choices early on.

These checklists will help you to think through your decision, whether that's as a supervisor, a research masters student or a PhD candidate:

Getting started with supervision

Students and supervisors will likely have different expectations of supervision, so it is essential to discuss these early on and record decisions for how you will work together.

The person or people you are working with may have quite different understandings of how the research process works and the time it takes to achieve certain work phases. Raising these items for discussion as part of regular conversations throughout candidature will help both of you, but especially for the student as a novice researcher.

Remember, you are encouraged to revisit these conversations regularly and make changes in response to the candidates needs as they emerge.

Supervision conversations

Other useful documents

Research planning resources

Resolving supervision problems

Problems can arise in supervision for all sorts of reasons. The resource below will help you with informal and formal processes for resolving problems.

Supervisor accreditation

Current University of Auckland staff can read the requirements for supervision accreditation on the staff intranet at Supervision.

Find the policy at Doctoral Supervision Policy and Procedures.

Supervisor News

If you are an academic with research supervision responsibilities and have completed ORIDOC, you can sign up for Supervisor News. It's a monthly e-newsletter bringing you information, updates, resources and opportunities to support your supervision experience. You can also find details about upcoming supervision workshops.

If you are eligible, you can sign up here: Supervisor News sign-up