Guidance and support

Academic support and guidance

phd support

We’re committed to helping you prepare for what’s ahead in your research degree and future career.

Helping you to settle in

Whatever your motivation for undertaking a PhD, it’ll be a journey which will stimulate your passion for your subject and push the boundaries of your own and current knowledge. At times the work will be challenging, but we’re on hand from the outset to help you succeed. From Day One, you’ll benefit from a strong support network to guide you through your research degree.

In your first week, you’ll attend a number of inductions and events to help you settle in. These events include the Welcome to the Faculty and Starting Your Research Degree events.

Within one month of starting your degree, you’ll be required to complete a training plan to help identify your training and development needs with your supervisor. This is a great opportunity to create a personalised plan, aligned to your research.

You’ll work closely with a lead supervisor and one or more co-supervisors, who are experts in their field, providing guidance and support to your research project.

Your supervisors are your most important contact and are responsible for:

  • agreeing a research project that is original and is feasible within the standard period of study
  • conducting a training needs analysis and ensuring that you receive appropriate research training
  • undertaking a minimum of 10 supervision sessions (5 for part-time postgraduate researchers) per year
  • advising on all aspects of the research and thesis preparation
  • commenting on all your written work
  • ensuring you receive written feedback on the assessment of progress.

Supervisors will also assist you in publishing your research. Over 80% of the Faculty’s top-rated journal papers published in the last five years have a postgraduate researcher as first or second author.

Your postgraduate community

When you come to Leeds, you’ll join a friendly, supportive and diverse community of over 500 engineering and computing postgraduate researchers who come from all around the world. You’ll be directly associated with one of our world-leading research institutes, working alongside like-minded researchers and academics. This fairly small-scale community with whom you’ll interact on a day-to-day basis will quickly become your ‘home base’. You will have the opportunity to take part in coffee sessions, providing a relaxed way of networking and sharing ideas related to your research with academic colleagues. The school also holds an annual Sport Day and School Walk, which are managed by staff and students, providing you with plenty of opportunity to spend time with colleagues in a more relaxed and social environment outside of your research.

Postgraduate researcher facilities

All full-time researchers are provided with their own desk and a suitable computer, typically in an office shared with postgraduate researchers from the same discipline area. 

You’ll benefit from the University’s extensive IT facilities including:

  • free wi-fi across campus
  • free downloadable Office Professional Plus
  • subject-specialist software.

You can discover information resources through the Engineering Librarian, who can provide one-to-one training and support, as well as our Researcher@Library scheme, which offers a wide range of workshops throughout the year. Access to a wide range of journals is available online.

You’ll also be able to access appropriate laboratory facilities for your research. A rolling investment programme ensures the School of Mechanical Engineering has state-of-the-art, high-quality equipment and laboratories.

As a postgraduate researcher, you’ll maintain a Postgraduate Development Record (PDR) – an important and useful tool in managing your research degree. This University-wide web-based application will allow you to manage your training plan, upload files and reports, track your own milestones, request and record supervisory meetings, record training and view any feedback you may have received. This is an easy way for you to keep on top of your work while reflecting on what you’ve already achieved.