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Supervisor Eligibility

Update: The Division has decided that all DPhil students need two supervisors. This is important to ensure resilience in the supervisory team and improved support for students.

We will be requiring all students admitted this year to have secondary supervisors identified by the end of Michaelmas term. We are asking all projects advertised to have at least one other supervisor identified, whether a secondary supervisor or a co-supervisor.

There are three categories of supervisor:

  • The primary supervisor takes the lead.
  • The secondary supervisor provides important back up.
  • A co-supervisor might be a fellow PI with an equal or near equal input to the project compared to the primary supervisor, e.g. because it is interdisciplinary or collaborative. A co-supervisor might also be a senior post-doc who provides day-to-day supervision.

Every student must have a primary and a secondary supervisor. They may also have a co-supervisor. If a co-supervisor is a PI then they can count as the secondary supervisor. If a co-supervisor is a post-doc or an early-career fellow then another senior secondary supervisor is needed.

To be eligible to be the a supervisor of a research student, supervisors must meet the following criteria:

1. Have own grant income or the ability to cover the project costs

2. Have previously supervised a student to completion successfully (either at Oxford or elsewhere)

3. Have a record of recent publications (i.e. within the last 5 years)

4. Have a contract of employment to the completion of the student’s studies, or work with a co- supervisor whose contract lasts to the completion of the student's studies. This ensures that the student would have a continuity of supervision should one supervisor's contract end.

  • The DGS will also take into account submission rates when appointing supervisors. 
  • First-time primary supervisors should not take on a second student until the first student has successfully passed transfer of status within the timeframe set out by regulations. 
  • Divisional policy is that no individual may supervise more than six students at any one time. Co-supervision of a student is counted as half, regardless of the total number of supervisors.