Research Supervision Policy

Fact box


This policy outlines the expectations, roles and duties related to supervision of postgraduate research students at Alphacrucis College (AC).


All delivery sites of the College


All postgraduate research students require a supervisor (or supervisors) to guide them in independent research projects. The relationship between the student and supervisor(s) is expected to be professional and effective.

Principal Supervisor Roles and Responsibilities

The principal supervisor has the following duties:

  • provide constructive feedback and support to the student on formulating a research question, accessing appropriate resources, maintaining a schedule and acquiring necessary ethics approvals which will produce an examinable research work within the accepted time frame;
  • schedule regular meetings and provide timely feedback on the scope, quality, and presentation of work required;
  • keep clear and accurate records of all supervision meetings;
  • provide an annual progress report of the student to the Program Director;
  • advise the student on any additional skills training s/he may require (such as mechanics of writing);
  • assist the student in preparing for confirmation of candidature;
  • notify the Program Director if the student is not meeting expected progress goals;
  • assist the student in understanding the relevant AC policies and procedures;
  • organise alternate supervisory arrangements and inform the Program Director if absent for more than four weeks in a semester;
  • provide or recommend appropriate mentoring opportunities for the student, including advice on conference presentations and publishing;
  • where applicable, identify and recommend external markers to the Program Director;
  • where applicable, mark the completed project in a timely manner.

Associate Supervisor Roles and Responsibilities

Higher Degree Research (HDR) candidates must have a secondary associate supervisor in addition to the principal supervisor. The associate supervisor has the following duties:

  • assist the principal supervisor and student in progress toward the production of an examinable thesis within the normal period of candidature;
  • provide continuity of advice during periods of absence by the principal advisor;
  • provide input regarding application for confirmation of candidature and progress checks;
  • perform additional duties as negotiated with the Program Director, principal supervisor and/or student.

Eligibility Criteria for Principal Supervisor

Principal supervisors must:

  • be employed by AC;
  • for HDR students, hold a completed doctoral degree;
  • for coursework students, hold a completed N+1 degree or equivalent professional qualifications;
  • be research active in the field relevant to the student’s research topic;
  • have research supervision included in his/her workload;
  • have completed the required training in research supervision.

Eligibility Criteria for Associate Supervisor

Associate supervisors must:

  • have relevant qualification and/or experience to inform the student’s research;
  • have appropriate time availability to perform the duties as associate supervisor;
  • have completed the required training in research supervision.

First-Time HDR Supervisors

Academic staff members who have no prior experience with HDR supervision are expected to serve as under the mentorship of an experienced  supervisor at least once before they are eligible to be a principal supervisor on their own. At the end of the mentored supervision experience, the mentor is to provide a written report to the Deputy Vice President (DVP) - Research and Standards, detailing the activities undertaken with the mentee and his/her view on the mentee’s readiness to take on principal supervision. The DVP Research and Standards may also request feedback from the student involved. If the mentor is not confident of the first-time supervisor’s readiness, s/he would be expected to undergo another experience of mentored-supervision, perhaps with a different mentor, until s/he is ready for principal supervision. 

In the event that this is not possible (for example if a mentor is not available within the relevant discipline), a first-time supervisor may apply in writing to the DVP Research and Standards to be considered for eligibility as principal supervisor, stating reasons for this consideration. These reasons may include one or more of the following:

  • significant experience with principal supervision of research projects within coursework degrees;
  • substantive participation in supervision training;
  • demonstratable ongoing mentorship relationship with an internal or external senior academic (who can be outside of the person’s discipline).

Conflict of Interest

In the event of a conflict of interest, the Program Director will intervene to provide a satisfactory solution (such as appointing an alternative supervisor). The Program Director may consult with the DVP Research and Standards for HDR students. A conflict of interest may include:

  • supervisor and student have a working relationship;
  • supervisor is a family member of the student;
  • supervisor is in a romantic relationship with the student.

Student Roles and Responsibilities

The student undertaking HDR or other research has the following responsibilities:

  • read and understand the relevant AC policies and procedures;
  • communicate with and submit material to the principal supervisor within the mutually agreed timeframes;
  • participate in the process of keeping clear and accurate records of supervision meetings;
  • submit final research according to AC policies.

If the student wishes to discuss any concerns about progress of supervision in confidence, s/he may directly contact the Program Director (or Dean of Faculty if appropriate).

Responsible for implementation

Program Director

Key stakeholders

All staff and postgraduate research students


Research Supervision Appointment Procedure

Appointment of research supervisors

  1. Prior to subject enrolment, the student is to approach possible supervisor(s) based on the research topic and the supervisor’s area of expertise.
  2. Supervision arrangements for coursework research projects are confirmed by the Program Director at the time of approval of the research proposal by the Research Committee; HDR principal supervisors are confirmed at Confirmation of Candidature.
  3. A review of first time HDR principal supervisors will be conducted by the Program Director and reported to the Research Committee prior to confirming supervision.

The Dean of the relevant faculty is responsible for implementing allocation of supervision time in the staff member’s workload.