A quarter of postgraduate students reported in 2019 that a bad relationship with their supervisor had caused mental health issues Lucas Maddalena

Cambridge Student Union published a report on Monday (22/11) called the Supervision Report, detailing recommendations to improve relationships between PhD students and their supervisors.

The report, which was presented by the Cambridge Centre for Teaching and Learning, uses feedback from students to determine the factors which helped create positive relationships for both students and supervisors.

Research from 2019 showed that a quarter of postgraduate students felt that their poor relationship with their supervisor had a negative impact on their mental health.his report prioritises developing positive relationships between supervisors and students.

20 recommendations arose from the report, of which Cambridge SU have taken three to campaign for this year.

The recommendations include: a clear, standardised process for changing supervisors; new supervisors being offered the option of co-supervising at least their first student with a more experienced supervisor; and ensuring each department has a member of staff responsible for supporting supervisors.


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Amelia Jabry, the Postgraduate Access, Education and Participation Officer, said the “report is the first step to creating positive change around improving relationships between PhD/postgraduate students and their supervisors.”

She continued: “We have been approached by many students and supervisors, including my friends, who had been having a hard time navigating the student-supervisory relationships...I am really excited to start implementing these changes as they will help to clear up ambiguity in these relationships and support staff and students more effectively!”