What is the role of your second supervisor?

posted
06-Feb-20, 15:40
Avatar for PhoenixFortune
posted about 1 week ago
I've just been assigned my second supervisor, and will have my first meeting with her and my primary supervisor very soon. I was wondering what my expectations should be regarding the second supervisor's role, how often I should communicate with them, when it would be appropriate to defer to them etc.?

My second supervisor during my MA was in name only, as they were randomly assigned and were only meant to be contacted if our supervisor was unavailable/if we had a dispute.
posted
11-Feb-20, 13:37
Avatar for sciencegirl3456
posted about 5 days ago
Second supervisors vary greatly in their role and how much they help. Ideally, a second supervisor would take an active role in the progress of your PhD and have regular meetings. This is because if you have a dispute with your primary supervisor or they leave/get ill the other supervisor should be able to take over supervision with ease. My second supervisor only ever checked my progress reports, reports done every 9 months to continue with the PhD. I think it's best to ask them how much of a role they want to take. Them showing to a first meeting is a good sign, something my second supervisor never did.
posted
12-Feb-20, 12:13
by rewt
Avatar for rewt
posted about 4 days ago
Quote From PhoenixFortune:
My second supervisor during my MA was in name only, as they were randomly assigned and were only meant to be contacted if our supervisor was unavailable/if we had a dispute.


That sounds like my second PhD supervisor! I think the second supervisor roles varies drastically depending on circumstances, nearly as much as the main supervisor role. It all depends how much you need them, how interested they are or if they are just a placeholder etc. There is no way to predict the relationship beforehand but you could try and set your expectations early in the process. Ie meet at least once every 1-3 months, they are going to help with certain things. The more involved they are at the start the better.
posted
14-Feb-20, 13:34
by pm133
Avatar for pm133
posted about 2 days ago
My second supervisor had no active role in my PhD as far as general supervision was concerned.
I published with him and he reviewed the papers that I had written but the nature of my work meant he didn't really have the ability to check the details.
Fortunately my relationship with my primary supervisor was very good throughout so I didn't need him for anything else.

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