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Finding a supervisor

Your supervisory team are the most important people you'll work with during your research degree. Having the right supervisory team is crucial to your success.

Some faculties allow you to choose your supervisors, while others will assign one to you.

Supervisors chosen by faculty Supervisors chosen by student
Business Creative Industries
Education Health
Law Science and Engineering

The faculties that choose to assign supervisors are in a unique position as they are smaller and have the capacity to allocate the best matched supervisor or supervisory team to your project when they assess your application. The faculties assess a number of factors when assigning supervisors and will look for supervisors who have an interest in your topic and can guide you throughout your candidature. This practice also saves you time and effort and can expedite your application for admission.

What will your supervisory team do?

Your supervisory team are the most important people you'll work with while you're researching. A good relationship with your supervisors will ensure that you have a positive and successful research experience. You'll meet with them regularly, and they'll provide support and guidance through your project while you're:

  • refining your topic
  • finding relevant literature
  • answering ethical questions
  • meeting your milestones
  • writing your thesis.

Our supervisor accreditation scheme ensures that supervisors are prepared to give high-quality support to research students.

Your relationship with your supervisory team

Your supervisory team needs to be someone you can work with professionally, and have a good personal relationship with. You'll be working closely with them for an extended period of time, and a good relationship with your supervisors will help you have a positive research experience.

Irrespective of whether you are allocated a supervisory team or not, you will need to meet with your supervisors as early as possible to establish a good working relationship. Supervisors should:

  • encourage self-directed and independent research
  • be supportive and helpful
  • be interested in your project
  • motivate you to do your best work
  • help you work through any issues you have with your project.

Choosing a supervisory team to contact

If your faculty allows you to choose your own supervisory team, you'll need to find someone who works in your area of interest. You need to consider how many students an academic has supervised in the past and how many they're currently supervising. You need to also consider what research areas they're interested in, and the research areas that they have experience supervising in.

Once you've found a researcher you think you'd like to work with, you'll need to either contact the research students sections of their faculty, or contact them directly to arrange a meeting.

Meeting your supervisory team

You should use this meeting to find out if you can work together. So you'll need to ask questions, for example:

  • what their specialised teaching and research areas are
  • what their most recent publications are
  • who they're interested in supervising
  • how many students they're currently supervising
  • if they have time to supervise you, and how much time they can dedicate to you
  • how they prefer to work with their students
  • how many students they've successfully supervised in the past.

You should consider not only your expectations of your supervisors, but also what's expected of you as a student. Think about how much guidance you'll personally expect during the course of your study, and think about how you work most effectively. You'll need to find a supervisory team who suits your personal studying style.

What happens next?

The faculty are responsible for approving any supervisory arrangements. When considering your admission application, they will look at:

  • whether your supervisory team is the best fit for your proposed research project
  • if a supervisor or supervisory team indicates a willingness to support the student and project through candidature
  • confirm that all potential supervisors are accredited to supervise
  • whether the potential supervisors have the capacity to support the term of candidature in light of other existing commitments and contractual arrangements.

If the faculty can't find a suitable supervisory team for you and your research project your application cannot proceed. We'll let you know the outcome of these deliberations in our response to your application.


QUT Business School research office

Creative Industries research office

Education research office

Health Research Services

Law research office

Science and Engineering research office

  • Level Level 4, O Block
    Gardens Point

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