Do PhD students automatically get two supervisors?

22-Dec-19, 17:50
edited about 2 seconds later
Avatar for PhoenixFortune
posted about 8 months ago
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?
22-Dec-19, 17:54
by azhan
Avatar for azhan
posted about 8 months ago

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.
22-Dec-19, 18:28
edited about 1 minute later
Avatar for kenziebob
posted about 8 months ago
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.


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