Finding the right programme & supervisor
Choosing a postgraduate research programme or department, and choosing a supervisor or supervisors to work with, is not a process that all prospective postgraduate students approach strategically, or with significant forethought. Often, students are assigned supervisors by the university department they register with, and this can create a ‘potluck’ situation, where the relationship may work out well or end in tears and frustration. Rather than waiting for a supervisor, especially, to be assigned to you, this video suggests a process, and guiding questions, for proactively researching prospective supervisors within your chosen research area. Using this guidance, we recommend that you think carefully about who you could work well with, whose research connects well with your own, and who has a sound reputation for constructive supervision. Although many students have to adjust their ideals to fit their financial and geographical reality, it is important for all prospective postgraduate students to carefully consider the place they want to study, and the people they want to be mentored by, as this relationship is one that can make or break a research degree process.
Who might find this useful?
This material is for prospective postgraduate students, to use before they register for an MA or PhD degree.
Explore these additional resources
- This video provides ideas on how to make the first contact with a supervisor:
- Choosing the right supervisor: http://wp.me/p3VNfn-C
- How to get a rock star supervisor: https://thesiswhisperer.com/2017/04/19/8195/
- Supervisor shopping: https://thesiswhisperer.com/2017/06/07/supervisor-shopping/
- Advice on choosing a PG course: http://www.jobs.ac.uk/careers-advice/studentships/1270/top-10-tips-for-choosing-a-postgraduate-course
- Secrets of postgrad success (Layla Cassim): https://mg.co.za/article/2011-04-27-secrets-of-postgrad-success/