Prospective postgraduates

Find a supervisor

Find an appropriate supervisor for your planned MSc by Research or PhD programme.

As per our entry requirements you must name a member of staff who has provisionally agreed, in writing, to supervise you in order for your application to be taken forward. Please ensure that the relevant correspondence is uploaded to your admissions application. This does not mean that the prospective supervisor is accepting you to the programme; you will still need to meet our entry requirements and pass an interview. But if you apply without having secured a potential supervisor, you run the risk of your application being rejected as incomplete.

When reaching out to prospective supervisor by e-mail, consider the following:

  • Be targeted

In order to find a prospective supervisor, take some time to browse our staff webpages.  When reaching out to a potential supervisor, it's important to make sure in advance that your research interests align with their work. Ask yourself: whose research resonates most with my chosen topic? Could I envision myself studying alongside this supervisor for several years? Also, check if their research profile indicates whether they are currently accepting new students. Doing this preparation will help you make a more meaningful connection when you reach out. Do not just e-mail a range of staff who work broadly in your field – colleagues talk to each other and this can make it appear that you have not done your research.

  • Be brief but specific

When you have found someone who you think might be a suitable supervisor, e-mail them and explain why you are contacting them. In this message, briefly outline your academic background, including your current studies, degree results or grade average, relevant experience, and whether you are planning on applying for funding. You can attach your CV, but the most important document to attach is a research proposal, or at least a draft of one. The prospective supervisor will want to see some detail of your planned project and they might use these as a basis for further discussion before they agreed to supervise you in principle. Take on any feedback and refine your proposal accordingly – this often indicates that you are prepared to listen and learn, and that you can be supervised. If a supervisor says that they do not have capacity to take on a project or that they do not have the expertise to supervise your thesis they might direct you elsewhere.

  • Be patient

Remember that academics are often very busy, especially during the teaching semesters, so it might take some time for them to respond. If you don't hear back after a week, send a polite follow-up email. If that doesn't yield a response, consider looking for alternative supervisors or approach one of the Graduate Officers (details below).

  • Additional supervision

All postgraduate research students are allocated at least two supervisors when they are accepted for admission. This is part of the University’s regulations. Please note that it is the role of the Principal Supervisor to put together a suitable supervision team but you are encouraged to discuss this when initially contacting them. Supervisors will often have complementary expertise. You might consider this when browsing our staff webpages. In the instance that we cannot find a suitable second supervisor that is able to supervise your project, we will not be able to take your application forward. Please contact your proposed supervisor if you have any queries on your supervision team.


 List of HCA Academic Staff Profiles


If you've reviewed everything and still aren't sure whom to contact, consider reaching out to the Subject Area Graduate Officer.