Doing the PhD

a PORT for Modern Languages tutorial

1 Supervision

1.3 communication

Once you’ve chosen a supervisor, been accepted as their student, and settled down to work, make sure you keep in touch with them! They will probably want to see you and your written work fairly regularly. This is something for you to agree with each other, although it may be regulated by university or departmental policy. Students' needs can vary, and you should be clear what yours are: do you need regular meetings to keep your morale going, or do you like to be left alone until you have something to submit, confident that it will be good? If you wish to deviate from the prescribed pattern because of preparing a particularly prolonged piece of work, or because of other commitments, let them know. Never put them to the trouble of chasing you up. When you come to a supervision, either make sure you have given them enough time to read and think about your piece (is 30 minutes enough? not really), or be very clear about what you are coming to talk to them about. This is the best way to make use of their time, and not to waste yours either. And if you are having problems of any sort – major or minor – make sure you let them know quickly so that they know what’s happening and can help if help is called for. Do not be afraid to ask for some encouragement if you are getting overwhelmed – they will be very happy to help you. And make sure you know what they want from you.