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Role of the supervisor

As supervisor, you are responsible for the supervision of your PhD candidate. Read here about your duties as supervisor and the procedures relating to this as well as which forms you will need.

Improving the quality of your PhD supervision

The quality of PhD supervision is important for the success and well-being of a PhD candidate. With this in mind, a group of Leiden academics have drawn up a number of best practices for supervising PhD candidates at Leiden University. These ‘rules of conduct’ emphasise the shared responsibility of you as a supervisor and of your PhD candidates. They also make clear what expectations may be held by both parties. You can use these rules of conduct to further improve your PhD supervision. For more information, see the document on ‘Golden rules for PhD supervision’ on this page.

Starting a PhD

If you have been asked to act as supervisor, you are responsible for the following at the start of a PhD:

  • If you have been asked in writing to act as supervisor and have agreed, you have to draw up a study and supervision plan in consultation with the PhD candidate within three months. Send a copy of this to the dean.
  • If there are two, or even three, supervisors, determine among yourselves who will do what and record this in writing, providing copies for the PhD candidate and the dean.

Completing the PhD

As supervisor, you are responsible for the quality of the dissertation. If the candidate has almost finished his or her dissertation, you will evaluate whether the manuscript meets the requirements for a PhD. You will evaluate any changes that you agree on.

Approval of the dissertation

If you believe that the manuscript is ‘proof of competency in independent conduct of scientific research’, you approve it. If there are other supervisor(s), this approval may only be issued once the other supervisor(s) have been consulted.

You must then send form 3 to the PhD candidate within six weeks of receipt of the manuscript. This states whether the manuscript has been approved. The dean and the Doctorate Board must receive a copy of this. Once the manuscript has been approved, the candidate will send you various propositions. If these meet the requirements, send them and your verdict on them to the dean.

The PhD committee

You must also ask the dean (using form 5a) to establish a PhD committee. This is accompanied by a proposal of who should sit on the committee. Also send sufficient copies of the dissertation for the members of the committee. As supervisor, you may not sit on the committee.

Within six weeks of receipt of the dissertation, the committee will inform you whether the candidate will be allowed to defend it.

The opposition committee

In the meantime, use form 8a to submit a written proposal to the dean on who should sit on the opposition committee. You may not sit on the opposition committee. The Rector and dean (or their appointed deputies) are the chair and secretary respectively.

The dean will inform you of who will sit on the opposition committee and will also inform the candidate and the beadle.

The beadle will determine the time and date of the PhD ceremony in consultation with you, the candidate and the dean.

Within 6 weeks of receipt of the dissertation, the committee will inform you whether the candidate will be allowed to defend it.

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