Understanding the Needs of Masters Dissertation Supervisors: Supporting Students in Professional Contexts

Sarah Cornelius, Sandra Nicol

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Despite a wealth of research into the supervision of PhD projects, there is relatively sparse literature to draw on to help with the development of appropriate support for supervisors of independent research projects undertaken at Masters level. Although some sources consider supervision of full-time Masters students, part-time and work based contexts have received little attention. To help bridge this gap, this paper explores the nature of the part-time supervision of Masters students in professional contexts, identifying features that make it distinct from PhD supervision. It draws on questions posed by supervisors in a Scottish School of Education, and reflections on their experiences, to identify challenges and issues that need to be addressed to provide appropriate support. Recommendations are made for strategies to resolve recurring issues and meet supervisors’ needs, and issues for further investigation are identified.
Original languageEnglish
Article number161
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Perspectives in Applied Academic Practice
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 17 Feb 2016



  • dissertation supervision
  • Masters supervision
  • supporting supervisors
  • supervisor needs
  • professional learning

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