skip to content

Graduate students, Department of Engineering


The Code of Practice for Reseach Students sets out the responsibilities of students and others involved in graduate education, in detail. Please ensure that you read this through, so that you are aware of its contents. The information below is a brief summary of some of the main responsibilities of the key parties.

Students' responsibilities

As a student, you are required to:

  • Abide by the University's regulations and Statutes and Ordinances.
  • Be proactive and self-directed in all aspects of your study, and take full advantage of the facilities, teaching and supervision offered.
  • Meet regularly with your supervisor and keep them informed of your progress. Any problems you experience with your work should be discussed with your supervisor without delay.
  • Follow University processes to apply for any necessary changes to your student status (eg course or supervisor change, absence from Cambridge, etc).
  • Reside in Cambridge full-time (unless you are a part-time student) and apply for permission to work away or intermit for absences of greater than two weeks.
  • Devote around 40 hours per week to your course of study. Holidays may be taken at times agreed with your supervisor, up to a maximum of 8 weeks in a calendar year.
  • Be aware of your thesis submission deadline and ensure that you submit on time.

Supervisors' responsibilities

Supervisors are expected to:

  • Meet with students on a regular basis; at least twice a term.
  • Provide academic advice and monitor students' progress.
  • Write a progress report via CamSIS on a termly basis.
  • Write an ad hoc progress report if any concerns arise outside of the regular reporting window.
  • Review and comment on applications for changes to student status.
  • Read drafts of written work, particularly the fist year report and the thesis, and provide feedback.
  • Ensure that students are aware of their deadline and submit on time.
  • Nominate examiners for the thesis.

Role of your adviser

Your adviser is nominated by your supervisor and approved by your Head of Division. Your adviser should be assigned within two months of your arrival in the department. If you do not have an adviser within this time, please discuss this with your supervisor and ask them to nominate someone. If you still have no success, contact your Divisional Administrator and/or the GSO.

The adviser:

  • Acts as a second point of contact for academic advice.
  • May be asked to provide supervisory cover in the absence of your supervisor.
  • Is often an assessor of the first year report.
  • Is expected to participate in the second year review
  • Is not required to provide regular, formal supervision; write supervision reports; nor provide pastoral support.

Responsibilities of the Director of Graduate Education and Degree Committee

Most of the responsibilities of the Director of Graduate Education and Degree Committee, as referred to in the Code of Practice, are delegated on a day-to-day basis to staff in the Graduate Studies Office (including the Secretary of the Degree Committee), who work in close collaboration with the Deputy Head of Department (Graduates)/Chair of the Degree Committee, Prof Joan Lasenby.

Departmental/Director of Graduate Education responsibilities

  • Ensures that you are assigned a supervisory team (supervisor and adviser) and that necessary academic and administrative support is provided to you.
  • Ensures that you are provided with necessary information, via the course handbook and website.
  • Ensures that students have the chance to offer feedback on their course.
  • Is a source of advice if you experience difficulties that cannot be resolved directly, and acting as an intermediary between you and your supervisor if difficulties arise.

Degree Committee responsibilities

  • Responsible for formally appointing your supervisory team, and checking that all parties are eligible.
  • Exercises academic oversight of students and supervisors, including being response for resolution of academic problems if they cannot be resolved at a local level.
  • Responsible for monitoring students' progress and taking action if concerns are raised.
  • Recommends to the Board of Graduate Studies whether probationary PhD students can be registered for the PhD, on the basis of the First Year Assessment.
  • Comments and makes recommendations on applications for changes to student status.
  • Awards MPhil Degrees and Certificates of Postgraduate Study, and recommends to the Board of Graduate Studies the result of other degrees (including the PhD).
  • Appoints examiners and provides whem with advice and documentation.