Getting started

With so much to do in the first weeks, it can be difficult to know what to do first to start your research. These pages will guide you through the process, giving you the information, contacts and advice to make sure you have the best start

Induction checklist

There are many things you will need to organise and check at the start of your PhD. The induction checklist will help you make sure you have covered everything. The postgraduate researcher guidance section of this website also has all the links to relevant sections you will need to start your research. 

Training needs analysis

Having an effective training plan will help you to complete your PhD on time and with minimum stress. It is worth taking time to plan, review and revisit your plan. Postgraduate researchers arrive with us with different levels of experience so our training and development activity is tailored to your needs. Please discuss your needs with your supervisor(s) and agree a training plan within one month of starting your studies. Having an effective training plan will help you to complete your PhD on time and with minimum stress. It is worth taking time to plan, review and revisit your plan. Your supervisor will monitor your progress regularly. 

Training and other support

The University of Leed's primary training and development provider is the Staff and Department Development Unit, who provide training and development to support academic, professional and organisational development, both centrally and on a bespoke basis for individual faculties, schools and services.  This includes support for staff and postgraduate researchers through short courses, longer programmes and credit-bearing programmes, networks, one-to-one advice, coaching, mentoring, personal development planning and online resources.

There are other levels of support within the Faculty/School available to you. You will be offered the opportunity to meet annually with the Postgraduate Research Tutor to review progress and any matters of concern.

Selection of subject/research project

You should seek the advice of your school and your supervisor(s) about the selection of your research. The research must not be so large that it cannot be mastered within the standard period of study for the degree and should not be so limited that it gives you insufficient scope for the necessary originality and aptitude for research which you will be required to demonstrate during your period of study. 

When undertaking your research, you should guard against the danger of becoming so engrossed in the detail of one aspect of your research that you neglect the wider aspects of the topic and the discipline as a whole, so losing a sense of proportion. If, as your work proceeds, you contemplate a change in its scope or emphasis, you should seek the opinion of your supervisor(s) at an early stage.

Supervision team

The University has two main models of supervision. Most postgraduate researchers will have a supervision team, or you may have a single supervisor together with a mentor/advisor.

When you begin your research degree you should discuss your research in detail with your supervisor(s) to clarify such matters as the experimental design, methodology, research ethics and the resources needed as well as undertaking a training needs analysis.

Change of supervisor

Your supervision team will normally be the same throughout your research. But for some there may changes to the supervision team for reasons outside of the University’s control. This could include your supervisor becoming ill or leaving the University. Graduate Schools must put alternative arrangements in place as soon as possible 

Routine circumstances when alternative arrangements should be put in place include:

• The main supervisor has research leave and is unable to continue supervision during this period

• The supervisor leaves the University

• The supervisor is on long term sick leave