Being a thesis supervisor

Welcome to the “Being a thesis supervisor” module! The purpose of this module is to guide and support your skills’ development as a thesis supervisor. This course is aimed for master’s and doctoral thesis supervisors with interests in supervision as a university pedagogy and intercultural communication.

LEARNING OUTCOMES: Taking this module gives you competencies to:

  • Analyze your own experiences as a supervisee and as a supervisor
  • Reflect on your supervision practices and expectations of thesis supervision
  • Reflect on your cultural assumptions about the pedagogy of supervision
  • Analyse your supervision models by using the frameworks of Dysthe (2002)
  • Analyse your supervision style by using the frameworks of Gatfield (2005)
  • Identify elements of transcultural and assimilationist practices in supervision

Key concepts: thesis supervision, university pedagogy, intercultural thesis supervision, expectations


  • Experiences as students and as supervisors
  • Expectations of thesis supervision
  • Exploring supervision models and styles
  • Intercultural supervision
  • Conflicts and problems

Self-study materials

This module concentrates on master’s and doctoral thesis supervision. Supervising students and doctoral candidates is one of the most important academic tasks which requires excellent research, management, social and communication skills. The main themes of this module are 1) Our experiences and practices, 2) Expectations of thesis supervision, 3) Supervision models, 4) Intercultural supervision, and 5) Conflicts and problems. This module guides you to reflect and develop your own supervision skills according to research on university pedagogy. Explore the topics by reading the slides, watching the short video, taking the Quiz, reading the articles and completing the learning tasks for self-study. All the materials on this website are available for self-study.


Slideshow 1: Expectations of thesis supervision

Slideshow 2: Intercultural supervision


Slideshow 3: Conflicts and problems in supervision

Read more:

  • Franke, A., & Arvidsson, B. (2011). Research supervisors’ different ways of experiencing supervision of doctoral students. Studies in Higher Education36(1), 7–19. doi:10.1080/03075070903402151
  • Grant, B. M. (2003). Mapping the pleasures and risks of supervision. Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, 24(2), 175–190. doi:10.1080/01596300303042
  • Grant, B. M. (2005). Fighting for space in supervision: Fantasies, fairytales, fictions and fallacies. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education18(3), 337–354. doi:10.1080/09518390500082483
  • de Kleijn, R. A. M., Bronkhorst L. H., Meijer P. C., Pilot A., & Brekelmans M. (2016). Understanding the up, back, and forward-component in master’s thesis supervision with adaptivity. Studies in Higher Education, 41(8), 1463–1479. doi:10.1080/03075079.2014.980399
  • Lee, A. (2008). How are doctoral students supervised? Concepts of doctoral research supervision. Studies in Higher Education33(3), 267-281.
  • Lee, A. (2019). Successful Research Supervision. Advising Students Doing Research. Second edition. London & New York: Routledge.
  • Manathunga, C. (2005). The development of research supervision: turning a light on a private space. International Journal for Academic Development, 10(1), 117-130.
  • Pearson, M., & Brew, A. (2002). Research training and supervision development. Studies in Higher Education27(2), 135-150.
  • Walker, M., & Thomson, P. (Eds.). (2010). The Routledge doctoral supervisor's companion: Supporting effective research in education and the social sciences. Routledge.
  • Winchester-Seeto, T., Homewood, J., Thogersen, J., Jacenyik-Trawoger, C., Manathunga, C., Reid, A., & Holbrook, A. (2014). Doctoral supervision in a cross-cultural context: Issues affecting supervisors and candidates. Higher Education Research & Development, 33(3), 610–626. doi:10.1080/07294360.2013.841648
  • Wisker, G. (2012). The good supervisor (2nd ed.). Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.

Guided study

Contact your own University for information regarding guided studies based on the materials.


Content: Kalypso Filippou, Post-doctoral researcher, University of Turku