The Good Supervisory Practice Framework

The Good Supervisory Practice Framework acknowledges, for the first time at a national level, the wide-ranging, highly complex and demanding set of roles involved in modern research supervision.

The framework is designed to set expectations for all supervisors and to support supervisor development programmes. The framework is informed by the extensive body of academic research into research supervision and has been validated during a pilot study involving research supervisors across the UK.

The Criteria for Good Supervisory Practice

The criteria used to define good practice and associated guidance are authored by Professor Stan Taylor of Durham University.

There are numerous definitions of ‘supervisory practice’ in the literature (see, for example, Eley and Murray 2009, Wisker 2012, Grant et al 2014, Kearns and Finn 2017, Taylor et al 2018) but each contains all, or many, of the criteria in the Good Supervisory Practice Framework:

Good Supervisory Practice Criteria

  1. Recruitment and selection
  2. Supervisory relationships with candidates
  3. Supervisory relationships with co-supervisors
  4. Supporting candidates’ research projects
  5. Encouraging candidates to write and giving appropriate feedback
  6. Keeping the research on track and monitoring progress
  7. Supporting candidates’ personal, professional and career development
  8. Supporting candidates through completion and final examination
  9. Supporting candidates to disseminate their research
  10. Reflecting upon and enhancing practice.

Download the GSPF as PDF >

How to Use this Framework

Supervisors from all academic disciplines and levels of experience will find value in the framework. For some, it will reassure them that their practice already includes the activities of effective supervisors, for others it will set a standard of practice to work towards throughout their careers.

For institutions, the framework can be used to validate, complement and support their internal development programmes.

While the criteria are numbered one to ten, they do not need to be followed in order. Dip in and out of each as and when you need.


Expand the section below to view the academic literature defining Supervisory Practice:

Supervisory Practice

Eley, A. and Murray, R. (2009)

How to be an Effective Supervisor.

Maidenhead, Open University Press. [text in DDS]

Grant, K., Hackney, R. and Edgar, D. (2014)

Postgraduate Research Supervision. An ‘Agreed’ Conceputal View of Good Practice through Derived Metaphors.

International Journal of Doctoral Studies, 9: 43-60.

Kearns, H. and Finn, J. (2017)

Supervising PhD Students: A practical guide and toolkit.

Flinders, Adelaide: Thinkwell

Taylor, S. (2018)

Eligibility to Supervise: A Study of UK Institutions.

UK Council for Graduate Education.

Taylor, S., Kiley M. and Humphrey, R. (2018)

A Handbook for Doctoral Supervisors. 2nd Ed.

London, Routledge.

Wisker, G. (2012)

The Good Supervisor

Red Globe Press