Guidance, Feedback and Support

During the research journey, there will inevitably be times when something unexpected happens that gets in the way of you making progress with your PhD.

This might be a difficulty relating to the research, such as equipment breaking down or problems recruiting research participants, or it might be a problem with the support and guidance you receive from your supervisor. It is always better to address problems early on and the following people within your Faculty can help you:

  • As a first step you should discuss your concerns informally with your supervisor. Remember that you can seek support and help in doing this from other members of the supervisory team.
  • If this does not bring about the desired improvements, as a next step, you should arrange to meet with the PGR Director for your School, Department or Research Centre to discuss the problem and how to address it.
  • If the problem persists, you should bring it to the attention of the Associated Dean (Doctoral College) who will talk you through the options available to you.

It is recognised that raising an issue about your supervision can be very difficult and you may not feel comfortable doing this independently through your Faculty. To help you understand any problems and to get a neutral input to help you to decide the best course of action you can also seek confidential advice, at any stage, from the Doctoral College (including the Researcher Development Team and the Research Degrees Team) and the Students’ Union.

For Health and Wellbeing issues, please contact the Wellbeing Centre


The Doctoral College values your feedback. There are a number of ways PGRs and ECRs to give feedback:

Student Engagement Forum

In addition to the committees mentioned above, students also have access to a Faculty Postgraduate Research Student Engagement Forum. The purpose of the Forum is to discuss with postgraduate researchers feedback on their learning experience. This enables the Faculty and, where appropriate, the University to make changes to better support you in your research degree. You are very much encouraged to use these meetings, or your local student representative, to voice any issues or concerns you may have. The outcomes of discussions at these fora are reported to the Faculty Research Degrees Committee.

Campus Life Forum

The Doctoral College hosts regular fora on a specific theme chosen by postgraduate researchers. Each forum provides an opportunity for you to speak directly to the people who run the services you use. This is a great way of ensuring the right people hear your views.

Postgraduate Research Experience Survey (PRES)

PRES is the national survey of postgraduate research students in the UK which gives students the opportunity to share their experiences of doing a research degree.

As the UK’s primary national survey of postgraduate research students, it is the only way for the University to benchmark how we are doing against other universities. The survey has led to changes and improvements in the postgraduate student experience at Surrey so it is important that you make your voice heard.

Early Career Researcher Forum

The Early Career Researcher Forum provides a space for early career researcher representatives and other staff from the University to discuss support and development needs of early career researchers.

Careers in Research Online Survey

The Careers in Research Online Survey (CROS) gathers the anonymous views of early career researchers UK higher education institutions about their experiences, career aspirations and career development opportunities.

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