Do PhD students automatically get two supervisors?


I'm officially starting my PhD in January 2020. I don't know whether it's typical to have two supervisors or just the one, but my topic spans two disciplines, so it would make sense to have two. I have only been in discussions with my main supervisor about my project, although other academics have shown interest.

Do I need to request a second supervisor, or should I wait to see if another is automatically provided?



When I was enrolled, I was told that I would get 2 supervisor but ended up with one when I started the course. However, I do recommend having 2 supervisors (or more) because sometimes your primary supervisor may not be suitable in some areas. You also get more support.

It's sort of a hassle with one as your work is one sided. It's best to have two heads instead of one.


At my uni it is required to have at least 2, but sometimes they wait until a student has started before assigning the second (it has to be done by the first 6-monthly progress report).

I would start first then have a chat with your supervisor about it - get to know other academics in the department and figure out where you think your PhD will go. Keep in mind though that it isn't a cure-all to have two or more; I have three supervisors from different disciplines and the way they approach everything - including supervising - is very different. It has been beneficial in that they are all experts in different fields though, and being inter-disciplinary myself it has helped me with my writing to have differing points of view to consider.