Chapter 6: Supervision
6.3 Function of a Masters Candidate Supervisor
Research candidates for the Masters degree pursue research under the direction of a main supervisor and an associate supervisor, who report on the candidate's research and progress to the Graduate Coordinator of the relevant School. Supervisors also report whenever research candidates fail to make satisfactory progress in their research or fail to fulfil the conditions of their candidature, or appear unlikely to reach the standard of the degree for which they are enrolled.
The supervisory relationship can be idiosyncratic. The working relationship that the supervisor and research candidate negotiate will determine the degree to which a supervisor guides the research candidate and the degree to which the research candidate is autonomous. The Faculty recommends that early in the relationship the supervisor and the research candidate discuss their respective expectations and assumptions. The Faculty recommends research candidates and supervisors discuss:
the meeting schedule;
a research timeline;
responsibility for the selection of topic;
degree of supervisor direction in research and thesis writing;
responsibility for the standard of the thesis, and
responsibility for finishing within the minimum time period.
These issues need clarification and negotiation on an individual basis. The Faculty of Arts has guidelines and responsibilities for supervisors and research candidates. Candidates need to read the 'Code of Practice for Supervision of Masters Candidates' (See below).
If more than one supervisor is appointed candidates consult all such supervisors on all matters of general concern to their research and thesis.
If candidates believe the appointment of a particular supervisor is inappropriate, the candidate has the right and duty to consult the School Graduate Co-ordinator or the Head of section or School, or, if necessary, Associate Dean (Graduate Research).
When the thesis is complete the Faculty's Masters Regulations require that the supervisor submit a statement certifying:
The extent to which the work was carried
out by the candidate;
Whether the thesis is properly presented and prima facie worthy of examination; and
Whether the length of the thesis is appropriate to the topic and to the prescribed weighting of the thesis.
In certifying that the thesis is properly presented and prima facie worthy of examination, supervisors are not forecasting the result of the examination. They are stating that, in their opinion, an examiner who recommends the award of the degree would not necessarily be acting unreasonably. A certified thesis is expected to have minimal typographical and grammatical errors and to contain a properly presented bibliography. Supervisors need to emphasise to candidates the necessity of proof reading very carefully the typescript of the thesis before it is presented for examination. This practice reduces the need for amendments after examination.
If a supervisor does not certify that the thesis is properly presented and prima facie worthy of examination, the Faculty can still determine that the thesis can be examined. When a supervisor certifies that the thesis is not properly presented the options open to the candidate are to:
Request the Faculty to accept the thesis
for examination forthwith;
Seek the Faculty's permission to revise the thesis before submission; or
Withdraw from candidature for the Masters degree.