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Students’ Expectations and Responsibilities

This section sets out what the University expects from its research degree students and the students’ responsibilities.

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Student Responsibilities PDF

Student Expectations PDF

Section contents:


132. The University’s Code Practice for Research Degrees describes the academic provision for its research students, in setting out the principles by which they are managed and in defining the responsibilities of Schools and supervisors.

133. The following are reasonable expectations for a student to have in relation to support for their research degree programme:

.1 access to induction and information that promote an understanding of the academic environment in which their research studies will be undertaken;

.2 access to a learning infrastructure and research environment that supports the progress of their research studies: this may sometimes be provided through collaboration with other institutions or partners;

.3 a challenging and realistic project, with high-quality research training;

.4 a supervisory team with the necessary expertise and experience, that will provide appropriate direction and guidance;

.5 an adequate schedule of formal contacts and meetings with their main supervisor and their supervisory team;

.6 honest and constructive feedback from supervisors and reviewers, and effective monitoring of academic progress;

.7 the return of written work, with appropriately detailed feedback, within an agreed time scale;

.8 responses to queries they raise with their supervisors within a reasonable time scale;

.9 opportunities to develop broader research and professional skills;

.10 opportunities and encouragement to engage with other researchers, and to present and discuss their research;

.11 where feasible, opportunities to participate in teaching activities and access to appropriate training and mentoring arrangements;

.12 an understanding of the roles and responsibilities of their supervisory team and the support structures in their School, including:

i. the level of support available after the period of fee-paying registration;

ii. the role of the Director of Postgraduate Research Studies;

iii. the mechanisms by which to provide feedback and to raise any concerns.


134. Research students are required to ensure that they are aware of the terms of their research degree programmes, including any particular requirements stipulated by their sponsors, and of their responsibilities towards the successful completion of their work.

135. Supervisors provide advice and guidance, but the student is expected to take the initiative, and has responsibility for the progress of their research, the preparation and submission of their thesis, the quality and integrity of their work, and for their personal and professional development.

136. Students are expected to pursue their research goals with diligence, and endeavour to present a completed thesis for examination by the end of their period of fee-paying registration (by their ‘expected thesis submission date’).

137. Responsibilities are highlighted to research degree applicants when they are offered admission to the University and to new research students at induction.

138. The responsibilities of the research student include:

.1 agreeing with their supervisors the goals and scope of the research project, an overall timescale for its completion and the key stages of work (recorded in the Research Plan);

.2 setting and keeping to timetables and deadlines, including undertaking and submitting work as and when required and generally maintaining satisfactory progress with the research programme;

.3 ensuring that other activities do not adversely affect the progress of their studies;

.4 complying with the review and reporting requirements of the University’s Research Student Progress Monitoring Procedure;

.5 maintaining regular contact with their supervisors, including when the student is away from the University;

.6 agreeing a schedule of meetings and formal contacts with their supervisors at which detailed planning and progress can be discussed, and adhering to the agreed schedule;

.7 preparing adequately for meetings with their supervisors;

.8 taking account of guidance and feedback from supervisors;

.9 being open and honest about progress, and alerting their supervisor to any specific needs or factors likely to affect their work or progress, including any circumstances which may require application for an interruption of study or an extension to the submission deadline;

.10 reporting planned absences such as holiday arrangements in advance to the supervisor, and reporting any circumstances that prevent or impede attendance or engagement as soon as is practicable;

.11 attending any interview requested by the School or University;

.12 making appropriate use of the study and research facilities provided and if required to share facilities to do so with due regard for fellow students/workers;

.13 participating in training and development opportunities agreed with their supervisor;

.14 taking advantages of opportunities to engage in the research environment and to discuss their research;

.15 submitting the thesis for examination within the required timescale, taking due heed of the supervisor’s advice;

.16 reporting in writing any specific provision requests that should be made known to the research degree examiners to the Convenor of the Examining Board;

.17 maintaining a proper and professional relationship with their supervisors and other University staff and students;

.18 complying with relevant regulations, policies, procedures and codes of behaviour, and with terms of studentship funding, including those relating to academic matters; research governance; intellectual property; research integrity and ethics; enrolment; payment; health and safety; and student data maintenance;

.19 keeping appropriate records of their research, of their research and professional development and of formal meetings with supervisors. 

139. Research students should also refer to Cardiff University’s Student Charter which has been developed through a partnership between students, the Students’ Union and the University.  It outlines the roles, responsibilities and expectations of all students to support a high-quality experience whilst studying at the University.