What Your Supervisor Should and Shouldn’t Do? A Quick Check

Do you really know what your dissertation supervisor should and shouldn’t do? Check your ideas against these lists.

Your Supervisor Should:

  • Approve your topic.

Only after your topic is approved by the supervisor, you may start writing the dissertation.

  • Approve your research method (or suggest a different method to use).

You will outline your research method in the dissertation proposal. After it is approved by your supervisor, you may proceed with the actual dissertation.

  • Read one chapter of your dissertation draft and provide feedback.

If allowed to choose the chapter, it is best to have the supervisor look at your Literature Review – this is the most challenging part for many students.

Your Supervisor Shouldn’t:

  • Select your topic.

The topic choice is your responsibility. The supervisor may only share ideas on how to tweak your topic better.

  • Read the full dissertation draft.

In many universities, it is directly prohibited that your supervisor reads the full dissertation before it is presented to the committee.

  • Help you locate sources.

The supervisor may point out some good books or articles for you to use, but he/she is not obliged to do that. If you are struggling to find enough sources for your dissertation, ask a librarian for help.

  • Make insulting, racist or sexist comments about your abilities.

Such conduct is strictly prohibited in all British universities. If you face inappropriate behaviour by your supervisor, do not hesitate to report it to the university authorities. It is better to have an audio recording of your supervisor’s words as proof.

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