Choosing a second supervisor

03-Mar-19, 09:28
by ems11
Avatar for ems11
posted about 2 weeks ago
Hi all, I am applying for a self-funded PhD and I have a supervisor who has agreed in principal to supervise me, based on similarities in subject area. I have been told I need a second supervisor, which actually would be helpful as my methodology is likely to be different from my potential first supervisor's expertise.

Can anyone make any suggestions about what to look for in a second supervisor? Internal vs external? Or better to have first supervisor familiar with my methodology and second supervisor familiar with topic?

Thanks in advance!
04-Mar-19, 12:11
by rewt
Avatar for rewt
posted about 2 weeks ago
I would suggest that you chose an internal supervisor as there is less hassle with meetings and availability. I would also suggest that when you chose someone suggest it to your primary supervisor as you want your supervisors to get along. I know someone who has 2 supervisors that disagree on everything. you can have supervisor that knows nothing about your topic except the methods - as long as it is clear they are there to help with methodology.

Hope that helps
04-Mar-19, 12:29
edited a moment later
Avatar for Tudor_Queen
posted about 2 weeks ago
I don't know if you know your potential secondary supervisors who you are considering but I think that in addition to the things you are thinking of a secondary supervisor is a good back up for if things ever go awry with the main supervisor. So if possible, choose one who you know you get on with or have had some positive interactions with. Also this gives you an idea of how much input they might give. It's nice to have someone who is really invested - even if they are only a secondary supervisor. If your main one is not good at something (e.g., helping you with networking), the secondary one can help with that. That sort of thing. Those are additional thoughts - I think the things you are thinking about are important - methodology expertise etc. Internal can be easier, as rewt says. Good luck! :-)
16-Mar-19, 21:02
by ems11
Avatar for ems11
posted about 4 days ago
Thank you both - very helpful and much appreciated.


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