Appointment of the Principal Supervisor and Other Supervisors

Pursuant to the PhD Order, the University must appoint a principal supervisor to be in charge of the overall PhD programme.

The principal supervisor must be a recognised researcher in the relevant academic field, be employed by the University and be associated with the PhD School under the Faculty of Engineering. The Faculty of Engineering has the following rules for the appointment of supervisors for PhD students.

Each PhD student is to be assigned a principal supervisor by the head of the PhD school, and the principal supervisor is responsible for guiding the individual student through the overall PhD programme. The principal supervisor must be employed at the Faculty of Engineering as an associate professor or professor and be actively conducting research in the field within which the PhD student in question intends to complete his/her project.

A PhD student may have up to three co-supervisors and/or project supervisors. Project supervisors and co-supervisors are not required to be employed by the Faculty or to be associate professors or professors. Project supervisors and co-supervisors may be lecturers with a doctorate or possess qualifications equivalent to the level of a senior researcher. They must provide supervision in a specific aspect of the project where they have special expertise. In special cases and on the basis of a request citing the reasons for this, the head of the PhD School may grant permission to assign more than three project supervisors or co-supervisors to a given project.

If the PhD programme is carried out in collaboration with another institution or at a business, a project supervisor will usually be designated at the venue in question.

For enrolment under the industrial PhD scheme, a supervisor must be appointed at the business which employs the PhD student. This supervisor must be qualified within the appropriate academic field.

Pursuant to the PhD Order, the Faculty may of its own volition or pursuant to an application from the PhD student:

  • Designate additional supervisors who must be qualified in the appropriate academic field. If during the course of the programme, the principal supervisor and the PhD student assess that special expertise is required for the project, they may obtain this, for example, by associating an additional supervisor with the project – or by having a new supervisor take the place of an already designated supervisor. This may be applied for using a special form which is submitted to the PhD administration office. The adding or replacing of supervisors must be approved by the PhD committee. 
  • Replace the principal supervisor or other supervisors.

The Faculty of Engineering has the following internal rules for this process:

Problems relating to the working relationship between the principal supervisor and the student. In order to successfully complete the programme, it is crucial for the principal supervisor and the PhD student to be able to get along well together. A poorly functioning working relationship can cause both academic and financial problems. If this occurs, the head of the PhD School will be brought in for the purpose of trying to find a solution. In some instances, it may be necessary to designate a new principal supervisor.

Termination of the principal supervisor’s employment. If the employment relationship of a designated principal supervisor with the Faculty ends, normally he/she will not be able to continue as the principal supervisor, but can become a co-supervisor instead, and a new principal supervisor will be designated. The head of the PhD School must be notified of the principal supervisor’s termination of employment at the Faculty with a view to designating and approving a new principal supervisor for the PhD student. If the PhD student has completed most of his/her study programme, he/she can apply for permission to allow the supervisor in question to continue as the principal supervisor. In these instances, the request must be addressed to the head of the PhD School.

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