Two supervisors are appointed to supervise the student’s research and writing. Supervisors have the following duties:
- Encourage and accept only those students whose research interests fall within their area of expertise.
- Have regular contact with students. The amount of contact will vary with the project and background of a student. An average amount of contact is approximately one hour a week.
- Help students define a specific research problem. The thesis is required to be an original piece of research and students are expected to have a major role in defining the research topic and the methods of research.
- Chair a thesis committee. A thesis committee should be appointed for each student. The supervisor is the Chairperson of the committee which should comprise at least two other staff members with interests relating to the student's research area. The staff members may come from other Disciplines or Colleges (e.g., Medicine, Sociology, Biology). The supervisor should ensure that the following functions are performed by the committee:
• Approval of the student's research proposal. Students are required to submit a Concise Outline of their project area (on a pro-forma) to the College Registrar within six months of commencing their candidature. They are also expected to develop a detailed proposal for approval by their thesis committee. The committee would then comment on the proposal and make suggestions on how it could be improved. When the proposal is considered satisfactory it can be formally approved and the student informed that he or she can proceed with implementation of the research design.
• Consultation. Members of the committee should be available for continuing consultation. If the supervisor is absent on leave a member of the committee may be appointed as acting supervisor.
- Submit an annual report of a student's progress to the Social Sciences Higher Degrees Committee. This is normally done in September.
- Ensure that the financial resources required for execution of the thesis are available. Applications to the College of Education, Psychology and Social Work or the University Research Committee can be made on behalf of the student for legitimate maintenance, travel and equipment costs. Where costs are great, application to an external funding body may be necessary.
- Provide regular, clear and constructive feedback to the student.
- Nominate an alternative supervisor during absences of three months or more.
- Recommend changes to a student's program of studies, e.g, extension or intermission. Recommendations are made to the Social Sciences Higher Degree Committee, which will be responsible for approval of such changes.
- At the appropriate time select two external examiners. The supervisor cannot be an examiner, although he or she is expected to help the Higher Degrees Committee of the College in assessing examiners' reports. The names of the examiners should be forwarded to the Higher Degrees Committee of the College with a brief justification of the choice. Normally it is sufficient to cite each examiner's position and a selection of their research publications - references are sufficient. A form for this purpose is available from the Secretary of the College Higher Degrees Committee.
The duties of supervision are also outlined on a more formal basis by Flinders University.