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Supervision

Registration of supervisors

The School of Graduate Research maintains a register of doctoral supervisors. These are checked before the appointment of a supervisor is approved. Staff of the University of Waikato and also staff from other institutions who are not already on the register as supervisors must be approved for registration by the Postgraduate Research Committee according to the criteria outlined below. Applications for registration must be endorsed by the Chair of Department/Head of School and the Associate Dean (Postgraduate) and accompanied by relevant documentation.

Restrictions on supervisors

  • Staff may not supervise or convene an examination for a candidate with whom they have a personal, professional or commercial relationship.
  • Supervisors should not be the candidate's family member, line manager or business partner.
  • Supervisors should not be personal partners of the candidate or of another member of the supervisory team.
  • Supervision requires close interaction between the candidate and the supervisor(s). If a close emotional or other relationship develops, which may interfere with the professional nature of the supervision, then the supervisor must initiate steps to change supervisors. The candidate may also make such a request at any time.

Requirements for Chief Supervision

In order to become a Chief Supervisor it is expected that the applicant will:

  • be an active researcher
  • have previously been co-supervisor for at least one successful doctoral candidate, or have been approved by the Postgraduate Research Committee to act as a Chief Supervisor, in which case the Committee will take account such experiences as examination of doctoral theses and the overseeing of major research projects
  • normally be a continuing academic staff member. A Faculty Dean may appoint a non-continuing academic staff member as Chief Supervisor if satisfied that the candidate will receive continuity of supervision through to the hard bound submission of the thesis
  • remain eligible to be a Chief Supervisor provided they attend a Chief Supervision workshop at least once every three years

Because postgraduate supervision, and especially doctoral supervision, does add to a staff member's workload, the University recommends that a Chief Supervisor have a maximum of six (6) doctoral candidates for whom they hold Chief Supervision responsibility. Exceptions to this recommendation are managed by Faculty Deans. This is to ensure that appropriate supervision is afforded to all candidates.

Requirements for supervision

A supervisor for a doctoral candidate will:

  • have a doctorate or equivalent qualification, and/or
  • be approved by the Postgraduate Research Committee as a supervisor on the basis of having expert knowledge/experience in the field
  • be an active researcher in the University of Waikato or other research-based organization
  • have participated in workshops and other opportunities provided by the University to enhance their supervision of postgraduate students, or be prepared to participate in such workshops within 6 months of the start of supervising a postgraduate student. Attendance at such workshops will occur at least once every three years in order to remain up to date with changes to policy and regulations
  • NOT be enrolled for a higher degree

Collaborating institutions

The supervisory panel for a doctoral candidate who is working in an external institution usually includes at least one member of the collaborating institution's staff. The nomination of the staff member from the collaborating institution is the responsibility of the Chief Supervisor, and this nomination will require the agreement of the Postgraduate Research Committee.

The University expects its supervisory staff to work actively in the field of the candidate's research and, where co-supervision is being provided by the staff of the collaborating institution, to share in joint publications with the candidate and other co-supervisors.

Formulation of formal contractual terms and conditions for a candidate to work within an external organisation, and to receive support by way of scholarship, study award, access to facilities and other benefits must be carried out through the Research & Enterprise Office. Such terms and conditions will also include agreements on publication rights, ownership of intellectual property (IP), progress reports, and submission of theses. The candidate will normally be required to sign an agreement with the University which sets out the rights and obligations of the candidate for the placement of contract with the external organisation and for the candidate's supervision arrangements while in the placement or contract.

Training for supervisors

The University encourages the sharing of best practice in supervision. Such opportunities are provided for supervisors on a university-wide basis by the School of Graduate Research, and may also provide for the sharing of expertise from other universities or organisations whose experiences are pertinent to postgraduate supervision.

The University expects that those staff who supervise research degrees will:

  • Undertake formal professional development in postgraduate supervision, and
  • Participate in workshops and other opportunities provided by the University to enhance their practices of supervision of postgraduate students.

It is expected that attendance at such workshops will occur at least once every three years in order to remain up to date with changes to policy and regulations.


Related documents

The Supervisor Register Application form should be completed by any academic staff member wishing to be considered for the Supervisor or Chief Supervisor Register held by the School of Graduate Research.