College Advisors and Supervisors

Graduate students have College Advisors, plus a Supervisor if you are following a research degree course


College Advisers

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.

More information can be found in the College Advisee Guidance document.


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