You should also familiarise yourself with the PG Handbook 2017-18 and the University Examination Regulations.

Supervisors and College Advisers

If you are reading for a research degree, you will have a Supervisor who will provide advice and guidance during your course. A graduate Supervisor is responsible for directing a student’s academic work. If you are studying on a taught course, you may have a Supervisor, Course Director, or Course Organiser. Every term, your Supervisor or Course Director will write a report on your work, and you will also be invited to submit a self-assessment commenting on your progress. Further information about the reporting process is on the University website at

Every graduate student has a College Adviser, who is usually an academic member of the College, working in a field related to your own, or otherwise especially qualified or willing to help you. At the start of each term, you will receive an email from the Academic Office telling you who your College Adviser is for that term. While the aim is that you should have the same College Adviser throughout your course, changes may be necessary if, for example, your Adviser goes on leave. The role of College Advisers is to provide personal support and advice on academic-related matters. They are not, however, expected to perform the academic role of a University Supervisor or Course Director. They may be able to advise on areas including applications for research funding, conferences, and publications. You may also consult them if you are experiencing difficulties with your University Supervisor or Course Director, or having other problems. Your College Adviser will have access to your academic reports. The University has an agreed Memorandum of Guidance on the role of College Advisers, which is available on the College website. College Advisers will not wish to force themselves on you in any way, so please take the initiative in approaching him or her at any time when you need help or advice. If you were at the College as an undergraduate, your College Adviser may be your former Tutor. Somerville organizes a dinner once a year for graduate students, to which you may invite your Supervisor or Course Director, and College Adviser. This dinner is free of charge. It is usually held in the middle of the second term of the year.

Graduate reports

You will each term be asked to write a report on your work. Your Supervisor or Course Director will also each term write a report on your work with them. This reporting cycle enables you and those responsible for your studies to monitor your progress and identify any problems which have arisen. The University’s online Graduate Supervision System (GSS) is used across the collegiate University to capture and store all reports. The information about you is available only to you, your Supervisor or Course Director, your Director of Graduate Studies, your College Adviser, and College administrators. Towards the end of each term, you will be invited to log on using your Oxford Single Sign On username and password, to write a self-assessment report. You will also be able to set a flag if you have concerns with your progress, and this will be highlighted to all those who can access your records. Your Supervisor or Course Director will then complete a report on your progress, and this will be available for you to view. While it is not mandatory for you to complete a self-assessment report, it is a useful tool to reflect on your achievements.

Graduate support

If you would like to raise any queries or concerns or would just like to talk to the Principal about how you are getting on then you are welcome to make an appointment to see her in private at any point during the year. You can make an appointment with Principal by emailing The Tutor for Graduates is also always happy to meet our graduate students and you can contact him directly to arrange a meeting by emailing The Tutor for Graduates represents the College on the intercollegiate Committee of Tutors for Graduates, which seeks to promote the interests of graduates, especially in academic matters. You are also welcome to contact any Fellows (academics) in the College whom you think may be able to help you. Details of their research interests are on the College website at The Tutorial and Graduate Officer is available to discuss any administrative or urgent issues you may have. You can visit her in House 4 during office hours or contact her at

Residence requirements

In order to be deemed eligible for an Oxford degree, students must usually reside within 25 miles of Carfax, which is a particular tower in the centre of the city, for a prescribed number of academic terms. The number of terms varies according to the degree being pursued. The number of terms, and the distance from Carfax, together constitute the University’s residence requirements for completion of a degree. The University Examination Regulations state the number of terms’ residence required for each type of degree. In certain personal circumstances, you may apply for exemption from residence requirements. The Academic Office at Somerville can advise.


Oxford students are required to attend a Matriculation ceremony at the start of their Oxford studies although there are exceptions as explained below. At this ceremony, you formally become a member of the University of Oxford. You must attend the Matriculation ceremony on Saturday 14th October 2017 at the Sheldonian Theatre in Oxford. If you have not previously matriculated at Oxford, the College will automatically register you for this ceremony. Details of the proceedings will be available when you arrive at Somerville. A group photograph will be taken of students beginning a new course at Somerville. You will need to wear academic dress and sub fusc for this ceremony and photo. Unfortunately, due to limited space at the Sheldonian Theatre, guests are not permitted at the ceremony, which is in any case very brief. If you have already matriculated at Oxford, you will not need to matriculate again. If you hold a degree from the University of Cambridge or Trinity College Dublin you may, if you wish, incorporate that degree instead of matriculating in Oxford. Incorporation means converting your Cambridge or Trinity degree into an Oxford one. You would still retain your original degree. If you would like to incorporate a degree, please contact the Academic Office Administrator ( Even if you do not need to attend the Matriculation ceremony on 14th October, we ask that you attend the Matriculation group photograph wearing academic dress and sub fusc.

Academic dress and sub fusc

All members of the University are required to wear academic dress with sub fusc clothing on certain occasions:

  • Matriculation ceremony
  • University examinations
  • Graduation ceremony

Academic dress consists of a Postgraduate Student Gown and mortarboard or soft cap. Gowns and caps may be bought at any Oxford tailor’s shop, and may also be available from Oxford University Student Union. Second-hand gowns are likely to be available. It is unnecessary to buy a gown immediately on arrival in Oxford, although academic dress is required for the Matriculation ceremony. Sub fusc clothing consists of the following:

  • either dark suit with dark socks, or dark skirt with black tights or stockings, or dark trousers with dark socks
  • dark coat if required
  • black shoes
  • plain white collared shirt or blouse
  • white bow tie, black bow tie, black full-length tie, or black ribbon

There is more information about academic dress on the University website (


You may for future activities need a transcript detailing the course(s) you have taken at Somerville and the results you have obtained. Students and alumni who began a taught course at Oxford in, or after, Michaelmas 2007 (for exceptions see below) can order a University transcript via One complete transcript is automatically sent to your home address as listed on Student Self Service once you have completed your course. College transcripts are available for the following groups, with ordering information given below:

  • students and alumni who began a taught course before Michaelmas 2007
  • BA Medical Sciences
  • BA Physiological Sciences
  • Alumni who undertook a research course

College transcripts are despatched within two working weeks of receiving a complete transcript request. However, during December, transcript requests may take longer. If you are eligible for a transcript from the College, please email the information below to

  • your full name
  • your matriculation year
  • the course(s) you studied at Somerville
  • any information needed in your transcript other than your course details and results
  • whether you require your transcript(s) in hard copy, or emailed as an attachment
  • if you need hard copy, the number of copies needed
  • the name of the person to whom the transcript(s) should be sent
  • postal and/or email address(es) to which the transcript(s) should be sent
  • the deadline by which the recipient(s) must receive the transcript(s)


The Decanal team for Michaelmas Term 2017 will consist of:

The Dean: Phil West

The Dean is in charge of non-academic discipline of Junior Members and the College’s Rules, as set out in the College Handbook. The Deans Regulations and Decanal Disciplinary Procedure explain students’ obligations as member of the College community. In certain circumstances, Junior Members may be summoned to see the Dean during weekly Dean’s Hour. Junior members are reminded that such summons take priority over any academic, sporting or social engagement. Dean’s Hour takes place on Tuesdays (13.00 – 14.00) in Maitland 20.

Junior Deans: Sybilla Pereira, Favour Nyikosa and Alex Sheader

One of the Junior Deans is on call every night from 7pm until 7am and over the weekend. They deal with urgent disciplinary matters and also provide crisis welfare support for students experiencing pastoral problems. The Junior Deans also sign off student event requests for the Quad, Brittain-Williams Room and Flora Anderson Hall.

Please contact the Deans via, or by calling 07805 784964 between 7pm and 7am or over the weekend.