Guidance to help supervisors support the personal and professional career development of their doctoral students, including expectations of the supervisor, training resources available to students, and advice from experienced supervisors.

Expectations and responsibilities

As supervisor, you are responsible for:

  • discussing skills training and development with your student, at Candidature, Confirmation (for PhDs) and regularly throughout their studies
  • where necessary, identifying additional subject-specific development and careers opportunities, both from within the University, and where appropriate, outside the University
  • ensuring that compulsory training such as Academic Integrity, Research Integrityand in some cases Research Ethics and Governance, as well as a range of optional training..

Details of responsibilities can also be found at QA7  Sections 9.6 and 9.7 Skills & Careers responsibilities of the supervisor and supervisory team and QA7 Appendix 1 Responsibilities of the Supervisory team.

You should also direct your student to QA7 Appendix 2, which sets out the responsibilities of doctoral students.


Student comments
I didn’t know anything about publishing and the expectations on PhD students when I started so I didn’t end up thinking about things like that until really late on. It would have been helpful to have more guidance there as I didn’t know to ask.

“I would prefer it if they [the supervisor] actively engaged in my work by brainstorming ideas with me and helping write manuscripts. It would also be preferable to have a supervisor who put me in contact with other researchers doing related things to help build a sense of community.

“.. enables the student to really develop themselves, provides advice and feedback with the students’ character and style of working in mind.”


UK Research Councils and other funders expect doctoral students to demonstrate a commitment to Professional Development. Students are expected to develop a broad range of skills during their doctorate, that will not only enable them to more effectively manage their research but also enhance their future career prospects. By assessing, reviewing and recording their development needs from day one, and throughout their doctorate, they will be more able to identify their strengths, as well as areas for improvement.

Research Council UK

“Doctoral training develops strong transferable skills in problem solving, research and analysis, as well as the ability to communicate complex information. These attributes were all frequently mentioned by employer interviewees as strengths of doctoral graduates”

Times Higher Education

“Very few PhD students do themselves justice in the job market, often under-selling themselves to prospective employers because they fail to appreciate the value of the special skills they have honed during their research”

Skills and career development


Skills development
Career planning

For more information contact Anne Cameron, the University’s Researcher Career Development Adviser.

Pure and The University's Research Portal

Pure is the University's system for managing information about research publications, projects, activities and impacts. Most of the information held in Pure is displayed in the University's Research Portal. All doctoral students are automatically set up with a Pure account and a personal profile page on the Research portal. Please encourage your students to use the system to keep an up-to-date record of all of their research activity at Bath.

Go back to home menu


Advice from supervisors
“Take the generic training offered by the Faculty for your new students seriously.  It benefits the students while studying and in subsequent employment. It will also make your job easier.

“Encourage your students to teach. The experience of explaining things to others will help them better to understand how to write clearly.

Further resources and support

Go back to home menu