Grad Coach

Dissertation Advisor 101

How to get the most from the student-supervisor relationship

By: Derek Jansen (MBA) | Expert Reviewer: Dr Eunice Rautenbach | January 2024

Many students feel a little intimidated by the idea of having to work with a research advisor (or supervisor) to complete their dissertation or thesis. Similarly, many students struggle to “connect” with their advisor and feel that the relationship is somewhat strained or awkward. But this doesn’t need to be the case!

In this post, we’ll share five tried and tested tips to help you get the most from this relationship and pave the way for a smoother dissertation writing process.

Overview: Working With Your Advisor

  • Clarify everyone’s roles on day one
  • Establish (and stick to) a regular communication cycle
  • Develop a clear project plan upfront
  • Be proactive in engaging with problems
  • Navigate conflict like a diplomat

1. Clarify roles on day one

Each university will have slightly different expectations, rules and norms in terms of the research advisor’s role. Similarly, each advisor will have their own unique way of doing things. So, it’s always a good idea to begin the engagement process by clearly defining the roles and expectations in your relationship.

In practical terms, we suggest that you initiate a conversation at the very start of the engagement to discuss your goals, their expectations, and how they would like to work with you. Of course, you might not like what you hear in this conversation. However, this sort of candid conversation will help you get on the same page as early as possible and set the stage for a successful partnership.

To help you get started, here are some questions that you might consider asking in your initial conversation:

  • How often would you like to meet and for how long?
  • What should I do to prepare for each meeting?
  • What aspects of my work will you comment on (and what won’t you cover)?
  • Which key decisions should I seek your approval for beforehand?
  • What common mistakes should I try to avoid from the outset?
  • How can I help make this partnership as effective as possible?
  • My academic goals are… Do you have any suggestions at this stage to help me achieve this?

As you can see, these types of questions help you get a clear idea of how you’ll work together and how to get the most from the relatively limited face time you’ll have.

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masters dissertation supervisor

2. Establish a regular communication cycle

Just like in any relationship, effective communication is crucial to making the student-supervisor relationship work. So, you should aim to establish a regular meeting schedule and stick to it. Don’t cancel or reschedule appointments with your advisor at short notice, or do anything that suggests you don’t value their time. Fragile egos are not uncommon in the academic world, so it’s important to clearly demonstrate that you value and respect your supervisor’s time and effort .

Practically speaking, be sure to prepare for each meeting with a clear agenda , including your progress, challenges, and any questions you have. Be open and honest in your communication, but most importantly, be receptive to your supervisor’s feedback . Ultimately, part of their role is to tell you when you’re missing the mark. So, don’t become upset or defensive when they criticise a specific aspect of your work.

Always remember that your research advisor is criticising your work, not you personally . It’s never easy to take negative feedback, but this is all part of the learning journey that takes place alongside the research journey.

Fragile egos are not uncommon in the academic world, so it’s important to demonstrate that you value and respect your advisor’s time.

3. Have a clear project plan

Few things will impress your supervisor more than a well-articulated, realistic plan of action (aka, a project plan). Investing the time to develop this shows that you take your project (and by extension, the relationship) seriously. It also helps your supervisor understand your intended timeline, which allows the two of you to better align your schedules .

In practical terms, you need to develop a project plan with achievable goals . A detailed Gantt chart can be a great way to do this. Importantly, you’ll need to break down your thesis or dissertation into a collection of practical, manageable steps , and set clear timelines and milestones for each. Once you’ve done that, you should regularly review and adjust this plan with your supervisor to ensure that you remain on track.

Of course, it’s unlikely that you’ll stick to your plan 100% of the time (there are always unexpected twists and turns in a research project. However, this plan will lay a foundation for effective collaboration between yourself and your supervisor. An imperfect plan beats no plan at all.

Gantt chart for a dissertation

4. Engage with problems proactively

One surefire way to quickly annoy your advisor is to pester them every time you run into a problem in your dissertation or thesis. Unexpected challenges are par for the course when it comes to research – how you deal with them is what makes the difference.

When you encounter a problem, resist the urge to immediately send a panicked email to your supervisor – no matter how massive the issue may seem (at the time). Instead, take a step back and assess the situation as holistically as possible. Force yourself to sit with the issue for at least a few hours to ensure that you have a clear, accurate assessment of the issue at hand. In most cases, a little time, distance and deep breathing will reveal that the problem is not the existential threat it initially seemed to be.

When contacting your supervisor, you should ideally present both the problem and one or two potential solutions . The latter is the most important part here. In other words, you need to show that you’ve engaged with the issue and applied your mind to finding potential solutions. Granted, your solutions may miss the mark. However, providing some sort of solution beats impulsively throwing the problem at your supervisor and hoping that they’ll save the day.

Simply put, mishaps and mini-crises in your research journey present an opportunity to demonstrate your initiative and problem-solving skills – not a reason to lose your cool and outsource the problem to your supervisor.

5. Navigate conflict like a diplomat 

As with any partnership, there’s always the possibility of some level of disagreement or conflict arising within the student-supervisor relationship. Of course, you can drastically reduce the likelihood of this happening by implementing some of the points we mentioned earlier. Neverthless, if a serious disagreement does arise between you and your supervisor, it’s absolutely essential that you approach it with professionalism and respect . Never let it escalate into a shouting contest.

In practical terms, it’s important to communicate your concerns as they arise (don’t let things simmer for too long). Simultaneously, it’s essential that you remain open to understanding your supervisor’s perspective – don’t become entrenched in your position. After all, you are the less experienced researcher within this duo.

Keep in mind that a lot of context is lost in text-based communication , so it can often be a good idea to schedule a short call to discuss your concerns or points of contention, rather than sending a 3000-word email essay. When going this route, be sure to take the time to prepare a clear, cohesive argument beforehand – don’t just “thought vomit” on your supervisor.

In the event that you do have a significant disagreement with your advisor, remember that the goal is to find a solution that serves your project (not your ego). This often requires compromise and flexibility. A “win at all costs” mindset is definitely not suitable here. Ultimately, you need to solve the problem, while still maintaining the relationship .

If you feel that you have already exhausted all possible avenues and still can’t find an acceptable middle ground, you can of course reach out to your university to ask for their assistance. However, this should be the very last resort . Running to your university every time there’s a small disagreement will not serve you well.

Communicate your concerns as they arise and remain open to understanding your supervisor's perspective. They are the expert, after all.

Recap: Key Takeaways

To sum up, a fruitful student-supervisor relationship hinges on clear role definition , effective and regular communication , strategic planning , proactive engagement , and professional conflict resolution .

Remember, your dissertation supervisor is there to help you, but you still need to put in the work . In many cases, they’ll also be the first marker of your work, so it really pays to put in the effort and build a strong, functional relationship with them.

masters dissertation supervisor

Psst... there’s more!

This post was based on one of our popular Research Bootcamps . If you're working on a research project, you'll definitely want to check this out ...

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  • Introduction

masters dissertation supervisor

Getting to the main article

Choosing your route

Setting research questions/ hypotheses

Assessment point

Building the theoretical case

Setting your research strategy

Data collection

Data analysis


Things to discuss with your supervisor.

From your supervisor's point of view, this may only be the second time you have met to discuss your dissertation, and it could have been a few weeks or a couple of months since you first discussed your dissertation with them (i.e., STAGE FOUR: Assessment point may have been your first meeting). Therefore, start by briefly recapping what your dissertation is about, including the research questions/hypotheses that you are going to answer.

Next, if you developed a theoretical model for your dissertation (i.e., during STEP FOUR: Set the theoretical model for your dissertation in STAGE FIVE: Building the theoretical case ), it is worth showing this to your supervisor. After all, theoretical models are useful frameworks to describe what you are studying in a clear, succinct, and visual way. More specifically, your theoretical model should: (a) set the boundaries/scope of the research project in terms of the theories and constructs that will be studied and measured; and (b) illustrate the research hypotheses to be tested, and the predictions that are being made (if any) about the relationship between the constructs under study.

If you didn't develop a theoretical model, you should focus on explaining the main constructs you will be studying, and the potential relationships between those constructs. This will help your supervisor to understand the theoretical case for your dissertation upon which your research strategy is based. It will also allow you to spend the majority of the meeting discussing your research strategy, which is the main thing you need to discuss with your supervisor. When you discuss your research strategy, remember to focus on the major aspects of your research strategy rather than the detail and justifications behind all of your decisions. You just won't have time to do this unless your supervisor has given you a long meeting.

During this meeting, we would suggest that you: (a) determine whether your research design, research method and sampling strategy are sufficient; (b) get advice on whether your research strategy is likely to be achievable in the time you have available; (c) check that your research strategy meets your dissertation and university's ethical guidelines; (d) present your measurement procedure, if you have time; and (e) defend the choice that you have made. Each of these considerations is discussed in turn:

Determine whether your research design, research method and sampling strategy are sufficient

The research strategy that you set determines how you are going to carry out (i.e., operationalize) your dissertation. In this respect, your research design, research methods and sampling strategy need to fit with the research hypotheses you have set and the theoretical case you have built for your dissertation. This is important for achieve a good mark. However, these components of your research strategy also have a significant impact on the effort that is required to complete a dissertation. By effort , we mean the practical aspects of going out and collecting your data, which includes everything from setting up your research design, to building a representative sample of your population, gaining access to such data, collecting the data using the research methods you have set, before analysing that data. Whilst effort is not going to get you a good mark by itself, there is a minimum amount of effort that will be expected of you when it comes to carrying out your dissertation. For example, the use of secondary research is often criticised because there is a general expectation that you will go out and collect data in the field (i.e., primary research ), unless the secondary research, and the statistical analysis of that research is substantial. Similarly, the effort of putting together a probability sample can clearly be recognized over a non-probability sample due to the time and care that this takes. A third example would be your sample size , with the effort of collecting larger samples, for the most part, providing you with the ability to carry out more rigorous and extensive data analysis that is not possible with smaller samples.

By examining you research design, research methods and sampling strategy, your supervisor should be able to tell you, often from experience, whether the research you plan to carry out is sufficient for a good grade. There is nothing worse than meeting your supervisor too late when you are getting close to the end of the dissertation process, and finding out that you have not done enough. It is often too late to recover at this stage because you simply run out of time to analyse your data and write up your dissertation.

Get advice on whether your research strategy is likely to be achievable in the time you have available

Just as you don't want your research strategy to be insufficient, you also have to be careful that you don't take on too much, especially when it comes to the data collection phase. There are a number of factors that can affect the achievability of your dissertation, including issues of access (i.e., to people, organisations, data, facilities, and information), the size of the sample that you want, the length of the data collection process, whether you can receive help collecting your data, and what skills you may have to learn. If you are an undergraduate student, some of these factors can be difficult to judge because this will be your first dissertation, but even amongst master's students, this can be difficult. When you explain the research strategy you are using, it's a good idea to ask your supervisor whether they think it will be achievable in the time you have available.

Check that your research strategy meets your dissertation and university's ethical guidelines

Having worked through STEP SIX: Research ethics of STAGE SEVEN: Setting the research strategy , you should understand the ethical requirements arising from your choice of research strategy. However, if you do not know whether your choice of research strategy means that you need to write an Ethics Proposal , complete an Ethics Consent Form , or get permission from an Ethics Committee , we would suggest that you pass your ethical design by your supervisor. By ethical design , we simply mean those components of your research strategy that could undermine the five basic ethical principles you should abide by (i.e., minimising the risk of harm, obtaining informed consent, protecting anonymity and confidentiality, avoiding deceptive practices, and providing the right to withdraw). For example, if the research design involves exposing some participants to situations that may be psychological challenging or invasive, if the research methods involve some form of covert or deceptive aspect, or if the population that you are studying involves collecting data from minors or vulnerable groups, these are the kinds of things you should discuss with your supervisor. Since there is a danger that such ethical designs could undermine one or more of the five basic ethical principles, your dissertation may have to receive either informal or formal ethical approval . If your supervisor feels that you will not be able to get ethical approval, or that such ethical approval could severely delay your dissertation (i.e., since you cannot start collecting data until you have it), your supervisor may be able to advise you how to make small changes to your research strategy and ethical design to reduce the potential problems you could face.

Present your measurement procedure, if you have time

You'll not always have enough time to discuss your measurement procedure, but if there's one thing of detail that's worth asking your supervisor to look over, it's the measurement procedure you've used. This is important because the quality of your data is highly contingent on the quality of your measurement procedure (i.e., the reliability and construct validity of your measurement procedure).

If you've followed Route A: Duplication or Route B: Generalisation , this is not so much of an issue because (a) the measurement procedure you are drawing on in the main journal article should have been shown to be reliable and (b) you will not have made many (if any) changes. However, if you have followed Route C: Extension , especially a method or measurement-based extension , there may have been many changes to the measurement procedure used in the main journal article. Therefore, it is worth asking your supervisor to look over these changes. Unless your supervisor is a subject matter expert, they may only be able to help you with the face validity of the measurement procedure, but this can still be useful to avoid glaring mistakes. Your supervisor may be able to give you advice on things like the statement you read out to research participants to tell them what the research it about, what their ethical rights are, and so forth. They may also be able to offer advice on things like survey length or the number of data points you are trying to record in a structured observation, but for the most part, you should look to the main journal article and literature to determine such things.

Defend the choices that you have made

You don't want to defend your choices for the sake of it. If your supervisor strongly suggests that you change a major component of your research strategy, it would be advisable to seriously consider this. At the same time, unless your supervisor is an expert in your area of interest, you will know the contents of your dissertation far better than your supervisor: the research hypotheses you want to answer, the background literature to your dissertation, the research strategy that you plan to follow, and the justifications for all these choices. Making major changes to the theoretical case or research strategy you have set could require a lot of work, and you don't want to make these changes without being sure they are correct. it's worth remembering that you may have only spent 20 minutes with your supervisor, so some of the judgements your supervisor is making may be based solely of the main points you've put across in a short space of time, rather than a detailed assessment of the theoretical case or research strategy you have built. Therefore, if your supervisor does strongly suggest that you make any major changes, it is worth taking the time to defend the choices you have made in case these changes are unnecessary.


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Writing your dissertation - working with your supervisor

Posted in: dissertations

masters dissertation supervisor

Your supervisor

Before you begin your dissertation, it is highly likely you will be assigned a supervisor to oversee your progress from first steps to completion. Your supervisor will help you formulate ideas and give you guidance on how best to develop your research topic and course of action. But you need to always remember that this is your project, and your supervisor will not provide you with content or additional lessons on a particular topic. Their role is to help you work out your own pathways to success.

Get organised

Lecturers are very busy people, and your dissertation is only a small part of the duties and responsibilities they have to carry out during the summer months. So in order to get the most out of your supervisor and maintain a positive and productive professional relationship with them, you need to get organised.

Here are some important guidelines to follow:

  • Agree a timetable of meetings at the start of your project and stick to it.
  • Ensure that each meeting has a focus e.g. “setting a research problem”, “analysing the data”, with a clear set of questions to ask.
  • your research plan
  • early results of your data collection
  • draft chapters.
  • Arrive on time to each meeting you have arranged. At the end of each supervision meeting agree some action points for you to focus on before the next time you meet.
  • Keep a record of what you decide in supervision sessions.
  • Don't bug your supervisor with emails in between your meetings. Save up your questions for your next scheduled appointment.

If you are not happy with an aspect of your supervision, discuss this with your supervisor. If this is too difficult or awkward, your personal tutor may also be able to offer advice.

See also Communicating with your tutor

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  • Roles and responsibilities of supervisors


  • Knowledge of regulations, policies and procedures
  • Advice on program of study, research and professional development
  • Meetings/consultation
  • Financial assistance
  • Intellectual property
  • Publications
  • Withdrawal of supervisory duties
  • Accommodation


Effective graduate student supervision requires complex interactions between graduate students and their supervisors. The role of a supervisor is threefold: to advise graduate students, monitor their academic progress, and act as a mentor. Supervisors not only provide guidance, instruction and encouragement in the research activities of their students, but also take part in the evaluation and examination of their students’ progress, performance and navigation through the requirements of their academic program with the goal to ensure that their students are successful.

Supervisors are responsible for fostering the intellectual and scholarly development of their students. They also play an important role in providing advice about professional development and both academic and non-academic career opportunities, as they are able, and based upon the student’s career interests. 

While these expectations apply to all graduate students, supervising PhD students reflects a longer-term, more substantive commitment.  The privilege to supervise PhD students requires that the supervisor hold Approved Doctoral Dissertation Supervisor (ADDS) status. The intent of ADDS policy is to ensure that faculty have the appropriate knowledge to facilitate excellence in PhD supervision.

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  Knowledge of regulations, policies and procedures

Effective graduate student supervision requires a knowledge and understanding of the University’s requirements and expectations.  To this end, supervisors should:

2.1    Be knowledgeable and remain updated on department, Faculty and University regulations, policies and procedures, and have these protocols guide the supervisors’ decision-making and behaviour as they interact with graduate students. Supervisors are encouraged to take the necessary steps to be well-informed with those Policies identified in section 1.2 .

2.2    Be familiar with the support services available to students and faculty at the University including those articulated in section 1.2 . This information is normally available through department graduate co-ordinators, Faculty Graduate Studies Offices, Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs (GSPA), the Graduate Student Association (GSA) or the University Secretariat.

2.3   Be informed about University of Waterloo policies and procedures that inform academic integrity  (Office of Research).

2.4    Be aware of the University of Waterloo and Tri-Agency policies and procedures associated with the conduct of research.   Where appropriate, supervisors should be prepared to provide guidance to students on:

  • The responsible conduct of research, with particular emphasis on the Tri-Agency Framework as defined in the Faculty Association of University of Waterloo (FAUW) /University of Waterloo memorandum of Agreement (Section 14).
  • The ethical conduct of research  (Office of Research) involving animals, animal or human tissues, and human participants

2.5   Have knowledge of the policies and procedures that govern international travel and security that can be found at Waterloo International.

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  Advice on program of study, research and professional development

As noted above, supervisors are expected to serve as mentors to their graduate students.  To this end, supervisors should be prepared to provide well-informed advice on academics and professional development.  More specifically, supervisors should be prepared to advise students on:

2.6    An academic program that is challenging, at the appropriate level for the degree being sought, and that can be accomplished within commonly understood and desirable time and resource expectations of the student and the supervisor.

2.7    The choice of courses and seminars needed to fulfil the degree requirements.

2.8    The development and construct of a research topic and proposal.

2.9    The development of a communication plan with the supervisory/advisory committee as to how the student’s progress will be assessed (including during thesis writing and completion), and the role of advisory committee members in the assessment.

2.10    The availability of internships, practica, co-op or other experiential learning opportunities as part of the program.

2.11    The availability of professional development resources for Waterloo graduate students to help advance the students’ career objectives.


The establishment and communication of common expectations are critical elements to positive experiences for both graduate students and their supervisors.  Achieving these outcomes can be facilitated by regular meetings and/or consultation between students, their supervisors, and where appropriate advisory committees. Especially important is timely feedback on students’ written submissions. 

The University encourages supervisors to:

2.12    Ensure, especially important in the case of doctoral students, that the student has:

  • An advisory committee as required.
  • A program of study consistent with department and Faculty requirements that has been approved by the advisory committee as required.
  • A research plan that is appropriate in breadth, depth and time to completion (see  Milestones in master's and doctoral programs ).

2.13    Arrange for regular (as agreed by the student and supervisor) meetings (which may involve the advisory committee) with students for consultation to ensure steady progress. The frequency of such meetings will depend on the discipline/field of study, type of program, and the student’s progress. At least two, preferably more, meetings should be arranged in each academic term. Supervisors should also be reasonably accessible for meetings requested by their students. The approach to these student meetings should be individualized to reflect the needs of the student. For example, some students may need more support while other may need less.

2.14    Communicate their evaluation of student progress to the department once a year or more often if required. The report should clearly indicate the status of the student’s progress (i.e., satisfactory or unsatisfactory).  In the latter case, the report must include a clearly articulated set of conditions that if satisfied will restore the student’s status to satisfactory. Where the supervisor feels that the student will have serious difficulties finishing the program, the supervisor, in consultation with the advisory committee as appropriate, will inform in writing, both the student and the graduate officer of the nature of the problem(s), suggested remedies and may recommend withdrawal from the program.  More information on assessing students’ progress can be found in the Graduate Studies Academic Calendar.

2.15    Thoroughly review and provide constructive feedback on all written materials relevant to the thesis or research paper submitted by their students. The supervisor and the student are encouraged to establish in writing expectations on what constitutes timely feedback; a timeframe of two to three weeks depending on the complexity of the document is commonly applied. However, this can vary depending on various circumstances such as travel or vacation.  These circumstances should be discussed between the supervisor and student.

2.16   Have knowledge of the guidelines for evaluating students’ progress in a research program  (Graduate Studies Academic Calendar).

2.17   Inform students about the broad spectrum of resources available  (Writing and Communication Centre) to facilitate development of oral communication and writing skills.

2.18    Be active and supportive in promoting students’ well-being.  This may include:

  • Inquiring about a student’s well-being, as appropriate.
  • Directing students to appropriate support services , including Mental Health and Wellness resources  (Campus Wellness).
  • Displaying empathy towards the student.

2.19    Complete as appropriate the University requirements for Sexual violence awareness, referral and support training  (Human Rights, Equity and Inclusion Office) to understand how to respond to disclosures of sexual violence and refer students to the appropriate supports.

The University recognizes that supervisors will be away from the University for extended periods of time (e.g., sabbatical, satellite campus, visiting professorship).  Being physically away from the University does not preclude a supervisor from remaining engaged with their graduate students.  In cases where the supervisor will not be available either in person or via electronic communications, the supervisor should:

2.20    Inform students, prospective students and the department of any anticipated extended period where communication will not be occurring. In cases when the absence is for a period of two months or more, supervisors should arrange for suitable communication methods. Interim supervision also must be arranged, for example, using members of advisory committees. Supervisors must inform the student’s department (chair/graduate officer) of the arrangements made for the period of absence, including supervision of laboratory or field work where graduate students continue to work during the absence.

2.21    Ensure students know that in situations where a supervisor works away from campus for two months or more and where their students can accompany the supervisor, the decision to remain on campus or to follow the supervisor rests entirely with the student. Students shall face no pressure (explicit or implicit) or consequences when making this choice and are not required to provide any reason.

As with the departmental representatives, supervisors have responsibility to advance safety.  More specifically, supervisors should:

2.22    Ensure a safe working environment both on and off campus (working alone, field work) by assessing hazards and implementing appropriate controls. This must be in accordance with the Occupational Health and Safety Act, Policy 34  (Secretariat) and department and Faculty regulations.  All supervisors must complete mandatory health and safety supervisor awareness training  (Safety Office) and must ensure that graduate students complete both mandatory and work-specific safety training.  More information can be found on the Safety Office website.

2.23    Ensure that students obtain additional training when new safety risks arise and ensure training is kept up to date.

Inherent to graduate education are the dissemination of knowledge and the participation in scholarly activities away from the University campus.  Travel (domestic and international) can include fieldwork, conferences, course work and other work related to the thesis. Supervisors are encouraged to support students’ travel to accomplish these important objectives.  Supervisors should:

2.24    Follow or encourage students to follow Policy 31  (Secretariat) that governs University-sanctioned travel.

2.25    Categorize and report risk associated with travel. Low risk  (Safety Office) are activities for which it is expected that participants will encounter hazards that are no greater than what they encounter in their everyday lives. Examples of significant risk (e.g. industrial sites, remote regions etc.) are noted on the Safety Office website .  Travel or field work that involves significant risk must be documented using the Fieldwork Risk Management Form from the Safety Office .  For low risk activities off campus, supervisors should:

  • Provide advice on preparation for pre-departure orientation and planning for any travel and including associated risk, as they are able;

2.26    Document the student(s) location and duration of travel, including personal and emergency contact information. Review the material provided by Waterloo International to understand how to best mitigate risk and ensure safety for international travel.

2.27    Encourage students to register using the Pre-departure Travel Form at Waterloo International .

2.28    Consult the Government of Canada Travel Advice and Advisories web page for the international destination and discuss the mitigation of risk with the students to the destination.

 Financial assistance

Supervisors regularly provide financial support for their graduate students.  Both the supervisor and the student benefit when a clear understanding exists of the value of funding, and the academic outcomes that should occur from the supported activities.  Specifically, supervisors should:

2.29    Be informed about the spectrum of funding opportunities available through the department, Faculty and Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs (GSPA) for students in financial need and to communicate these sources to student.

2.30   Communicate clearly and in writing to their students the terms (e.g., amounts, length of time, conditions) of the financial commitment being made when financial assistance is to be provided from research grants or contracts under the supervisor’s direction.

2.31    Support students’ understanding of their funding, including a consideration of student expenses (primarily tuition and housing) and taxation, if appropriate.  

Intellectual property 

Increasingly, students and supervisors enter into their academic relationships with previously established intellectual property (IP).  Moreover, students and supervisors may have an expectation that their collective work may produce new IP.  Best practices include the articulation of students’ and supervisors’ understanding of IP relationships at regular intervals throughout the students’ academic program.  More specifically, supervisors should: 

2.32    Discuss issues related to intellectual property such as patents, software, copyright, and income from sales and royalties, and inform students of University policies about intellectual property and the conduct of research. It should be recognized that, in accordance with Policy 73  (Secretariat), intellectual property normally is owned by the creators. However, the University retains a royalty-free right to use, for educational and research purposes, any intellectual property created by faculty, staff and students. Ideally, supervisors and students should enter into a written agreement that expresses IP owned by either party prior to beginning the research relationship and the default way in which IP created by the researchers’ joint activities will be owned.  A common example is an assumption in the absence of an explicit agreement of joint IP ownership, with each researcher owning an equal share.

2.33    Ensure that students are aware of implications and/or obligations regarding intellectual property of research conducted under contract. If appropriate, discuss with their students and any research partners the protection of intellectual property by patent or copyright. Any significant intellectual contribution by a student must be recognized in the form of co-authorship. Supervisors must convey to students, in advance of publication, whether they intend to recognize the student as co-author for work under contract.


Academic outputs – in various forms – document and demonstrate ownership of creative research and other scholarly activities.  These outputs are important for advancing knowledge and catalyzing additional scholarly activity in these areas and should be encouraged.  When supervisors and graduate students work collectively on these academic works, it is important for both that their relative contributions are represented appropriately.  To achieve these goals, supervisors should:

2.34    Discuss with their students, at an early stage of their program, authorship practices within the discipline and University policies about publications ( Policy 73  on the Secretariat website). 

2.35    Discuss and reach agreement with students, well in advance of publication and ideally at the outset of collaboration, the way in which authorship will be shared, if appropriate, between the supervisor, the student and other contributors for work conducted under contract.

2.36    Encourage the dissemination of students’ research results by publication in scholarly and research journals, presentation at conferences (domestic or international) and seminars;

2.37    Motivate the dissemination of research through non-traditional or non-academic avenues (e.g. Open Access resources, public presentations, and popular media).

Withdrawal of supervisory duties 

In rare cases supervisors may determine that they are not prepared or able to continue in a supervisory capacity.  When this occurs, the supervisor is required to:

2.38    Follow the guidelines in the Graduate Studies Academic Calendar regarding University Responsibilities Regarding Supervisory Relationships that outlines the steps for dissolution of the supervisory relationship.

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The University is eager to establish conditions that maximize graduate students’ likelihood of success.  To this end, supervisors:

2.39    Have a duty to engage in accommodations processes with AccessAbility Services , as requested, and to provide appropriate accommodation to the point of undue hardship.

2.40    Remain informed of their roles and responsibilities with respect to accommodations.

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The University of Waterloo acknowledges that much of our work takes place on the traditional territory of the Neutral, Anishinaabeg and Haudenosaunee peoples. Our main campus is situated on the Haldimand Tract, the land granted to the Six Nations that includes six miles on each side of the Grand River. Our active work toward reconciliation takes place across our campuses through research, learning, teaching, and community building, and is co-ordinated within the Office of Indigenous Relations .

Eight tips to effectively supervise students during their Master's thesis

Jul 30, 2021 PhD

I am a fan of knowledge transfer between peers, teaching what I know to others and learning back from them. At University I frequently helped my fellow course mates with the material, so I was very interested in formally mentoring students when I started my PhD. Luckily my supervisor, who is really talented at this, agreed to let me help him with supervising some Master’s theses. In this article, also published as a Nature Career Column , I present eight lessons that I learned by watching him at work and trying on my own.

I supervised three Master’s students in the past year. One of them was quite good and independent, did not need a lot of guidance and could take care of most things on his own, while the other two required a fair amount of help from us, one of them even coming close to not graduating successfully. Dealing with the difficult situations is when I learned the most important lessons, but regardless of the ability of the students a common thread soon appeared.

But first, here’s a brief digression on how that happened. While I was writing a draft for this blog, I noticed an interesting article on Nature’s newsletter. While I was reading it, I felt its style was quite similar to what I usually aim for in this blog: use headlines to highlight the important points, and elaborate on those with a few paragraphs. I then noticed the author of that column was a PhD student, and I thought: “how comes she has an article there? Why can she do that? Can I do that?”. I quickly found how to do it , finished the draft and sent it to them, and, after eight rounds of review in the course of two months, the article was finally up! The editor was very responsive and we could iterate quickly on the manuscript, and the quality of the writing is so much better than what I had originally sent in. On the other hand, I sometimes felt the message was being warped a bit too much. After the editing process was finished I had to agree to an Embargo Period of six months during which Nature had the exclusive right of publishing the final version on their website. As those six months are now over, I am finally allowed to publish the final version here, too. Enjoy!

This is a post-peer-review, pre-copyedit version of an article published in Nature Career Column . The final authenticated version is available online at: .

The lessons I learnt supervising master’s students for the first time

PhD student Emilio Dorigatti supported three junior colleagues during their degrees.

I started my PhD wanting to improve not only my scientific abilities, but also ‘soft skills’ such as communication, mentoring and project management. To this end, I joined as many social academic activities as I could find, including journal clubs, seminars, teaching assistance, hackathons, presentations and collaborations.

I am a bioinformatics PhD student at the Munich School for Data Science in Germany, jointly supervised by Bernd Bischl at the Ludwig Maximilian University Munich and Benjamin Schubert at the Helmholtz Centre Munich, the German Research Center for Environmental Health. When I went to them asking to gain some experience in communication and mentoring soft skills, they suggested that I co-supervise three of Benjamin’s master’s students.

At first, I felt out of my depth, so I simply sat in on their meetings and listened. After a few months, I began offering technical advice on programming. I then started proposing new analyses and contributions. Eventually I became comfortable enough to propose a new master’s project based on part of my PhD research; Benjamin and I are now interviewing candidates.

I gained a great deal from this experience and I am grateful to both of my supervisors for supporting me, as well as to the students for staying motivated, determined and friendly throughout. Here are some of the things I learnt about how to ensure smooth collaboration and a happy outcome for all of us.

Draft a project plan

With Benjamin and Bernd, I put together a project plan for each of the master’s students. Drafting a two-page plan that ended up resembling an extended abstract for a conference forced us to consider each project in detail and helped to ensure that it was feasible for a student to carry out in their last semester of study.

If you’re a PhD student supervising others, sit down with your own supervisor and agree on your respective responsibilities as part of the project plan. At first, you might want your supervisor to follow you closely to help keep the project on the right path, but as you gain more experience and trust, you might request more autonomy and independence.

Use the project plan to advertise the position and find a suitable student: share it online on the group’s website or on Twitter, as well as on the job board at your department. Advertise it to your students if you are teaching a related topic, and sit back and wait for applicants.

We structured the plans to include a general introduction to the research subject as well as a few key publications. We described the gap in the literature that the project aimed to close, with the proposed methodology and a breakdown of four or five tasks to be achieved during the project. My supervisors and I also agreed on and included specific qualifications that candidates should have, and formalities such as contact information, starting dates and whether a publication was expected at the end.

Benjamin and I decided to propose publishable projects, sometimes as part of a larger paper. We always list the student as one of the authors.

Meet your student regularly

I found that I met with most students for less than an hour per week, but some might require more attention. Most of the time, Benjamin joined the meeting, too. We started with the students summarizing what they had done the previous week and any issues they had encountered. We then had a discussion and brainstorming session, and agreed on possible next steps. I learnt that I do not need to solve all the student’s problems (it is their thesis, after all). Instead, Benjamin and I tried to focus on suggesting a couple of things they could try out. At the end of the meeting, we made sure it was clear what was expected for the next week.

We used the first few weeks to get the students up to speed with the topic, encouraging them to read publications listed in the plan, and a few others, to familiarize themselves with the specific methods that they would be working with. We also addressed administrative matters such as making sure that the students had accounts to access computational resources: networks, e-mail, Wi-Fi, private GitHub repositories and so on.

Encourage regular writing

Good writing takes time, especially for students who are not used to it, or who are writing in a foreign language. It is important to encourage them to write regularly, and to keep detailed notes of what should be included in the manuscript, to avoid missing key details later on. We tried to remind our students frequently how the manuscript should be structured, what chapters should be included, how long each should be, what writing style was expected, what template to use, and other specifics. We used our meetings to provide continuous feedback on the manuscript.

The first two to four weeks of the project are a good time to start writing the first chapters, including an introduction to the topic and the background knowledge. We suggested allocating the last three or four weeks to writing the remaining chapters — results and conclusions — ensuring that the manuscript forms a coherent whole, and preparing and rehearsing the presentation for the oral examination.

Probe for correct understanding

In our weekly meetings, or at other times when I was teaching, I quickly realized that asking ‘did you understand?’ or ‘is that OK?’ every five minutes is not enough. It can even be counterproductive, scaring away less-assertive students.

I learnt to relax a little and take a different approach: when I explained something, I encouraged the students to explain it back in their own words, providing detailed breakdowns of a certain task, anticipating possible problems, and so on.

Ultimately, this came down to probing for understanding of the science, rather than delivering a lecture or grilling an interviewee. Sometimes this approach helps when a student thinks they fully understand something but actually don’t. For example, one of our students was less experienced in programming than others, so for more difficult tasks, we broke the problem down and wrote a sketch of the computer code that they would fill in on their own during the week.

Adapt supervision to the student

Each student requires a different type of supervision, and we tried to adapt our styles to accommodate that. That could mean using Trello project-management boards or a shared Google Doc to record tasks; defining tasks in detail and walking through them carefully; or taking extra time to explain and to fill knowledge gaps. I tried to be supportive by reminding students that they could always send an e-mail if they were stuck on a problem for too long. One of the students found it very helpful to text brief updates outside of scheduled meetings, as a way to hold themselves accountable.

Sometimes, if we felt a student needed to be challenged, we proposed new tasks that were not in the original plan or encouraged them to follow their interest, be it diving into the literature or coming up with further experiments and research questions.

One student conducted a literature review and summarized the pros and cons of the state-of-the-art technology for a follow-up idea we had. That saved some time when we picked up the project after the student left; they learnt lots of interesting things; and the discussion section of the manuscript was much more interesting as a result.

When things go badly, make another plan

Not all projects can be successful, despite your (and your student’s) best efforts. So, as part of each project, my supervisors and I prepared a plan B (and C), working out which tasks were essential and which were just a nice addition. This included a simpler research question that required less work than the original. The initial plan for one of our projects was to compare a newly proposed method with the usual way of doing things, but the new method turned out to be much more difficult than anticipated, so we decided not to do the comparison, and just showed how the new method performed.

Halfway through the project is a good time to evaluate how likely it is that the thesis will be handed in on time and as originally planned. The top priority is to help the student graduate. That might entail either forgoing some of the tasks planned at the beginning, or obtaining an extension of a few months if possible.

Have a final feedback round

After the oral examinations, Benjamin and I met to decide the students’ final grades on the basis of the university’s rubric. We then met the students one last time to tell them our decision, going through each item in the rubric and explaining the motivation for the score we had given. We tried to recall relevant events from the past months to make each student feel the grading was fair.

We also remembered to ask the student for feedback on our supervision and to suggest things they thought we could do better.

Lastly, I encouraged those students to apply for open positions in our lab, and offered to write recommendation letters for them.

  • How it works

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How to Deal with an Unhelpful Dissertation Supervisor

Published by Alvin Nicolas at August 13th, 2021 , Revised On August 22, 2023

A dissertation supervisor  helps students with their dissertation , advises them about the project’s requirements and aids them throughout their research. Supervisors support us through our hard times and make sure that we overcome the academic challenges thrown at us.

However, there may be times when things might get heated between students and supervisors – when both are under pressure and looking to solve a lot of problems in little time. And at that very moment, you might want to learn more about how to deal with the unhelpful dissertation supervisor.

Expect to face many problems if you come across a dissertation supervisor who is not willing to help; is rude at times and does not seem to understand you as a student and the  challenging phase you’re going through.

If you find it difficult to impress your dissertation supervisor and maintain a good relationship with them, some rules will get you through this challenging time. See below for some tips on ‘How to Deal with an Unhelpful Dissertation Supervisor’.

Also Read:  How to write a dissertation – Step by step guide .

Tips to Deal with an Unhelpful Supervisor

Rule # 1: communicate effectively with unhelpful dissertation supervisor .

Communication is the key. Even if your dissertation supervisor is unhelpful and does not offer any guidance, clearly mention all your dissertation-related concerns.

For example, there might be an instance when your unhelpful dissertation supervisor is in a perfect, understanding mood and could offer a workable solution to any problem you are facing despite their unhelpful nature. Keep the door of communication open at all times, and make sure to attend all meetings.

Stay determined, and you’ll be able to complete your dissertation successfully.

Rule # 2: Be Patient and Persistent with your Unhelpful Dissertation Supervisor 

Getting help from a dissertation supervisor who isn’t very accommodating can be daunting. There may be times when your supervisor might not help you at all, even if you’re badly stuck with your dissertation. In times like these, try to be patient and continue with your research.

Though it might be pretty tricky for you to continue in such a situation, there is nothing much that you can do about it. Changing an unhelpful dissertation supervisor or submitting an application for a supervisor change would take up a lot of your time. You could instead invest in focusing on your dissertation.

Stay determined, and you’ll be able to  complete your dissertation successfully .

Looking for dissertation help?

Researchprospect to the rescue then.

We have expert writers on our team who are skilled at helping students with dissertations across a variety of disciplines. Guaranteeing 100% satisfaction!

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Also read: How to Write a Dissertation in a Week

Rule # 3: Seek Help from Peers

When you’re finding it hard to seek guidance from your academic supervisor, get in touch with your peers. This may not sound like a great idea, but there is a chance that some of them might be in the same boat as yours.

Talk to them about the issues you’re facing in completing your dissertation and see how they can help you. Organising a group session once a week or two will help to address your dissertation-related concerns.

Discuss complicated aspects and sections of your dissertations and see how this works out for you.

If you cannot find answers to your questions, you can contact us via email – [email protected] or telecom –  +44 141 628 7786. At ResearchProspect, we have Master’s to PhD qualified writers for all academic subjects so you can be confident of having your dissertation project completed to a First Class quality  promptly.  Click here to learn more about our ordering process .

Rule # 4: Don’t Get Emotional

When you’re  stressed and tensed about your dissertation , there are chances that you’d also get emotional. You might find no one to assist and guide you in times of need. However, to emerge successfully out of this situation, you need to make sure you keep your emotions in control and not let them get the best of you.

Emotions will further ruin your situation, and you’ll gain nothing from them. Stay strong and believe in yourself. In the case where you’re working on a PhD thesis, dealing with an unhelpful dissertation supervisor becomes even more difficult.

The situation intensifies because there’s a lot at stake, and you might be left scratching your head over how to deal with an unhelpful dissertation supervisor. Regardless of the situation, do not let the emotions get the better of you.

Keep the  door of communication  open at all times, and make sure to attend all meetings.

Rule # 5: Stay Assertive

Staying positive during difficult times is never easy, and you need to overcome this challenge. When working on your dissertation, make sure you’re confident of the elements you’ve included in your dissertation, and be sure that you’re working in the right direction.

Staying positive and assertive will help you learn a new perspective on how you can work without help and guidance. Thus, this way, even without a supervisor, you’ll be able to  produce a flawless dissertation .

Dealing with an unhelpful dissertation supervisor is a nightmare but can be managed by following the tips we have shared with you. As a student, you should focus on your work and stay determined to complete your dissertation on time .

Your main goal should be to  produce a dissertation that is perfect, as well as authentic and reliable . Thus, keep your focus on writing a dissertation to help you achieve an ‘A’ grade.

Here are some comprehensive guidelines for you to understand  How to Write a Great Dissertation Paper.

How can ResearchProspect Help?

ResearchProspect academics can provide much-needed academic guidance if you have not been able to get help from your dissertation supervisor.  Our writers can either solve your problem or provide guidelines on how you should be approaching a certain problem so you don’t get stuck.

Stuck with complicated elements of a dissertation paper such as  Dissertation Methodology ,  Dissertation Statistical Analysis , and  Dissertation Findings & Discussion ? Our writers have years of experience in developing high-class dissertation papers. Please sit back and relax while our experts do the hard work for you.  Click here to fill out our simple order form to get instant quotes .

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you do a dissertation without a supervisor.

While possible, it’s highly recommended to have a supervisor for a dissertation. A supervisor provides guidance, expertise, and feedback crucial for successful research and writing, enhancing the quality and validity of your work.

You May Also Like

Anyone who supports you in your research should be acknowledged in dissertation acknowledgments. Learn more on how to write dissertation acknowledgements.

Dissertation Methodology is the crux of dissertation project. In this article, we will provide tips for you to write an amazing dissertation methodology.

Here are the steps to make a theoretical framework for dissertation. You can define, discuss and evaluate theories relevant to the research problem.






  • How It Works

Sample emails to your thesis supervisor

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A good thesis requires good communication between you and your thesis supervisor. This includes emails! Yet, even a simple email can lead to stress and overthinking. If you struggle to communicate with your thesis supervisor via email, have a look at six sample emails for inspiration.

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may earn a small commission if you make a purchase using the links below at  no additional cost to you.  I only recommend products or services that I truly believe can benefit my audience. As always, my opinions are my own.

General tips for emailing your thesis supervisor

Sample email to thesis supervisor inquiring about potential supervision, sample email to thesis supervisor setting up a meeting, sample email to thesis supervisor sharing post-meeting action points, sample email to thesis supervisor asking for feedback, sample email to thesis supervisor asking for support, sample email to thesis supervisor when not meeting a deadline.

Every relationship between student and thesis supervisor is unique. And everyone has a unique (email) writing style.

Nonetheless, there are a few general tips for emailing your thesis supervisor:

  • Properly address your supervisor. In some contexts, it is acceptable that students address their supervisors on a first-name basis. In others, it would be completely unthinkable! So make sure to follow context-specific standards, and learn how to address your supervisor depending on their position and rank in the university hierarchy . When in doubt, always go for the more formal option (Dr. x, Professor x, Prof. Dr. x, Mr. x, Ms. x).
  • Keep your emails short. No one wants to read an email of the length of a novel. Too much text can bury your main request. Always state clearly what you want. Don’t expect your thesis supervisor to read between the lines.
  • Create accompanying calendar invites to your emails. Once you and your thesis supervisor/s agree on a meeting date via email, make sure that you send everyone involved a calendar invite via email. It will be greatly appreciated.
  • Don’t overthink your emails too much. You may obsess about formulating a certain sentence or making sure no word is missing and no grammatical mistake is made. While emails to your supervisor should not read like a jotted-down text message, overthinking your emails is also a waste of time. Your supervisor will not judge you if your email includes one whacky sentence or a single spelling mistake.

The first email to a potential thesis supervisor tends to be very formal. If you have never met the potential thesis supervisor in person before, make sure to check out tips on how to cold-email professors. In the following sample email, however, we assume that the student and the potential thesis supervisor met before.

masters dissertation supervisor

Successful (postgraduate) students are proactive and take matters into their own hands. Reaching out to their thesis supervisors to set up a meeting is one part of it. The following sample email contains a simple request from a student to meet with her thesis supervisor.

To get the most out of thesis supervision meetings , it is highly recommended that the student takes notes during the meeting. Based on these notes, the student then summarises the key takeaways from the meeting, or action points, so to speak. These action points will guide the student’s work until the next meeting, and provide a written record of agreements.

Sometimes, it does not make sense to wait for feedback until the next supervision meeting. Of course, students should not bombard their supervisors with constant questions via email. However, a kind request once in a while is usually accepted and appreciated. The following sample email showcases a student asking for feedback.

As a student, it can also happen that you get stuck. Often, it is better to reach out and ask your thesis supervisor for support, both in terms of content or any other challenges you experience. Don’t suffer in silence. The following sample email shows an example of a student asking for support.

And lastly, there are the unfortunate occasions where you made agreements with your thesis supervisor, which you cannot meet. Pulling an all-nighter is generally a bad idea, as sleep is crucial for efficient thesis writing . It might be smarter, to be honest, and open about it and to inform your thesis advisor in advance. In the following sample email, the student informs the supervisor that he cannot meet the agreed deadline.

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Theoretical vs. conceptual frameworks: Simple definitions and an overview of key differences

  • Masters Thesis and Supervisor

[Part of the Policies of the CHD, August 2019]

Master’s Thesis

A candidate for a terminal Master's degree, with the prior approval of a faculty supervisor and of the CHD, may undertake an extended reading and research project resulting in what amounts to a Master's thesis.  The thesis is optional for the S.M. degree and required for the M.E. degree.  In connection with this project, an S.M. candidate may take no more than two SEAS letter-graded reading and research courses (299r), no more than one in any given semester.  M.E. candidates may take up to one 299r course as part of the eight letter-graded courses and are required to take eight 300-level reading and research courses. 

Second Reader

When a thesis project is pursued in connection with a terminal Master’s degree, the thesis supervisor, in consultation with the student, shall nominate an outside reader who is a member of the SEAS faculty for approval by the CHD by course-enrollment day of their second semester in the case of SM students, or by course-enrollment day of their third semester for M.E. students.  Ordinarily, both the supervisor and reader must be members of the SEAS faculty; exceptions must be approved by the CHD.

An initial draft of the thesis must be transmitted to the supervisor before Spring Recess of the student’s final semester (or Thanksgiving Recess if the student’s final semester is the fall). The final draft of the thesis, incorporating any revisions given on prior drafts by the thesis supervisor and outside reader, must be transmitted to the thesis supervisor and outside reader by the first day of Reading Period, and the student should simultaneously submit a one- or two-page abstract to the Office of Academic Programs. The thesis supervisor and outside reader should each submit to the Office of Academic Programs by the last day of Reading Period a letter giving their evaluation of the thesis.

It is expected that such a thesis will represent a more substantial contribution than is customary for an undergraduate senior thesis, but less so than a doctoral dissertation. The thesis will follow a similar format to a Ph.D. dissertation, and satisfy similar criteria. The main difference is in the volume of original work expected of a master’s thesis, which might have the content of roughly 25% of original research as in the Ph.D. dissertation. No part of a master’s thesis may be included in a subsequent Ph.D. dissertation. The student should note that the following four points should be covered in a master’s thesis: introduction, stating the question being asked, or hypothesis being tested, or design challenge being addressed; literature review, summarizing pertinent prior work; original research or design; and conclusions, stating what was learned.

The thesis abstract and evaluations will be made part of the student's permanent record. When an S.M. or M.E. program plan approved by the CHD provides for or requires the preparation of a thesis, awarding of the degree will not be recommended until the abstract and satisfactory evaluations have been received by the Office of Academic Programs.   Unsatisfactory evaluations of the thesis will be reflected as unsatisfactory grades given by the supervisor in the student’s 300-level and/or 299r courses and will preclude the awarding of the M.E. degree; M.E. students who otherwise have met the requirements for the S.M. may apply for that degree to be conferred on the next degree date.

M.E. students who are in-between supervisors

M.E. students who do not remain with their initial supervisor are expected to secure a new supervisor by the end of the second semester.  Students who cannot identify a new supervisor by that time will be expected to withdraw from the program based on a lack of progress to degree, receiving the S.M. if they have met the requirements for that degree.  Such students may petition to remain for a third semester in order to satisfy the S.M. requirements.

The new supervisor will normally be a member of the SEAS faculty.  Permission for a student to have a non-SEAS supervisor may be given by the Director of Graduate Studies; such students must also have a SEAS faculty member as co-advisor.

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  1. Effective master's thesis supervision

    In working on their thesis, students are guided by a master's thesis supervisor (or advisor) who is responsible for fostering the required skills and competences through one-on-one or small-group teaching over an extended period of time, making master's thesis supervision a key teaching role for student development, as well as an increasingly ...

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    A better relationship often results in better and timely completion of a dissertation. This finding is backed up by science. This study, for instance, points out that student-supervisor relationships strongly influence the quality, success or failure of completing a PhD (on time).. Good communication with a dissertation supervisor is key to advancing your research, discussing roadblocks, and ...

  3. Sample emails to your dissertation supervisor

    Sample emails to your dissertation supervisor. Published on October 13, 2015 by Sarah Vinz. Revised on March 24, 2017. Sending good emails to your supervisor can sometimes be a challenge. We have created sample emails for different situations that you can use when writing to him or her.

  4. Email contact with your dissertation supervisor

    Email contact with your dissertation supervisor. Published on October 13, 2015 by Sarah Vinz. Revised on August 24, 2018. How to best approach your dissertation supervisor via email can vary by supervisor. ... Sarah's academic background includes a Master of Arts in English, a Master of International Affairs degree, and a Bachelor of Arts in ...

  5. How should I deal with challenging master thesis students as a supervisor?

    27. You are trying to be helpful, but there is such a thing as too much handholding. The more helpful you are, the more likely students are to exploit this and to become a help vampire. You do not owe your students any success. You owe them a fair chance at succeeding.

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    Establish (and stick to) a regular communication cycle. Develop a clear project plan upfront. Be proactive in engaging with problems. Navigate conflict like a diplomat. 1. Clarify roles on day one. Each university will have slightly different expectations, rules and norms in terms of the research advisor's role.

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    Five supportive roles. of a supervisor involving the supervision system are specific technical support, broader intellectual support, administrative support, management, and personal support brings about the output of the study. A supervisor's roles. for successful thesis and dissertation is reported by using the survey on graduate students ...

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    Before you start writing your master's dissertation it is extremely important to find the best possible supervisor to help and guide you through the dissertation writing process. When asking how to write a dissertation, many students forget that all highly graded dissertation examples have in common a strong and productive student-supervisor relationship.

  14. Eight tips to effectively supervise students during their Master's thesis

    Draft a project plan. With Benjamin and Bernd, I put together a project plan for each of the master's students. Drafting a two-page plan that ended up resembling an extended abstract for a conference forced us to consider each project in detail and helped to ensure that it was feasible for a student to carry out in their last semester of study.

  15. PDF Understanding the Needs of Masters Dissertation Supervisors: Supporting

    Challenges for students and supervisors may also be similar, particularly in relation to cultural differences and expectations, and the focus on a lengthy, often one-to-one, student-supervisor relationship. However, there are a number of factors that distinguish the Masters setting. These emerge from both sides of the relationship.

  16. How to Deal with an Unhelpful Dissertation Supervisor

    Rule # 2: Be Patient and Persistent with your Unhelpful Dissertation Supervisor. Getting help from a dissertation supervisor who isn't very accommodating can be daunting. There may be times when your supervisor might not help you at all, even if you're badly stuck with your dissertation. In times like these, try to be patient and continue ...

  17. Sample emails to your thesis supervisor

    A good thesis requires good communication between you and your thesis supervisor. This includes emails! Yet, even a simple email can lead to stress and overthinking. If you struggle to communicate with your thesis supervisor via email, have a look at six sample emails for inspiration. Contents General tips for emailing your thesis supervisorSample email

  18. Thesis & Dissertation Acknowledgements

    The dissertation acknowledgements are where you thank the people who helped you during your thesis and dissertation process. ... such as your supervisor, funders, and other academics. Then you can include personal thanks to friends, family members, or anyone else who supported you during the process. ... with master's degrees in political ...

  19. Masters Thesis and Supervisor

    Master's Thesis. A candidate for a terminal Master's degree, with the prior approval of a faculty supervisor and of the CHD, may undertake an extended reading and research project resulting in what amounts to a Master's thesis. The thesis is optional for the S.M. degree and required for the M.E. degree.

  20. Dissertation handbook for taught Masters programmes 2023/24

    Changing dissertation topics Once the Master's Dissertation Title and Ethics Statement form has been signed by your supervisor, a change of dissertation topic requires written approval from your supervisor. You must complete again the online "Ethics Decision Tool", whose result must be signed by your supervisor.

  21. PDF Guidelines for Master Dissertation

    GUIDELINES FOR MASTER DISSERTATION . 18 January 2019 . This document presents the guidelines of the Master (MA) dissertation for students enrolled in ... Students may choose a supervisor among any of the Graduate Institute's faculty members. Faculty members are free to accept or decline the supervision request. In the case that students

  22. Masters Thesis

    The thesis presents a major piece of guided independent research on a topic agreed between the student and their supervisor. It typically involves a literature review and an appropriate form of critical analysis of sources of primary and /or secondary data; it may involve field and/or laboratory work. The thesis must show evidence of wide ...

  23. Dissertation Supervision Work, jobs (with Salaries)

    Salary: Lecturer (UH7): £37,099 to £44,263 pa dependent on skills and experience, Senior Lecturer (UH8): £44, 263 to £56,021 pa dependent on skills and experience. Location: de Havilland Campus, Hatfield. Hertfordshire Business School are pleased to be able to offer various opportunities to join their expanding team in the role of Lecturer ...