A middle-aged female supervisor sits at a desk in a library and listens to a student sitting with her.

As a supervisor you will take part in College and departmental open days, other recruitment activities and will assist with advertising and promoting studentships.  You will also take part in the recruitment of students.  You should consult your department to find out what training is provided to support you in this process.  

A decision to admit a student to a research programme should not be made unless:

  • the student is motivated;
  • the student is appropriately qualified;
  • a research topic suitable for that student’s abilities and background is available;
  • the necessary facilities and resources can be provided;
  • proper supervision can be given throughout the duration of the programme.  

Be ready to talk about how you manage your group and/or lab, colleagues involved with your research, how often students can expect to see you and opportunities for professional development and teaching.  If possible, arrange for the student to visit your lab so that they can develop a better understanding of how it works on a day-to-day basis.  This will help to set expectations from the start. It is also good practice to allow them to talk to current students and staff on an informal basis.   

The College provides prospective research applicants with advice on what sorts of topics to discuss at interview.  You are advised to familiarise yourself with the document when preparing to interview prospective students.  Download Guidance for Postgraduate Research Applicants

The Graduate School asked Dr Timothy Constandinou, Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering and winner of a President's Award for Excellence in Research Degree Supervision, what his tops tips are for the effective recruitment of research students - the video is shown below.  However, it is also important to think about how students view you.  We asked three current students to share with us what they consider to be the most valuable attributes in supervisors (watch the video below).   

Student recruitment

Dr Timothy Constandinou on effective recruitment of students

Dr Timothy Constandinou, Reader in Neural Microsystems at Imperial College London, shares his tips for effective recruitment of students.

Dr Timothy Constandinou on effective recruitment of students

Dr Timothy Constandinou on effective recruitment of students

Dr Constandinou shares his tips for effective recruitment of students.

Dr Timothy Constandinou, Reader in Neural Microsystems at Imperial College London, shares his tips for effective recruitment of students.

Three PhD students share what they most value in supervisors

What students most value in supervisors

Three PhD students share what they most value in supervisors

Ahmed Shamso, Zaynab Jawad, and Yu Xia, PhD Candidates at Imperial College, explain what characteristics they most value in supervisors.

Welcoming new research students 

In some cases, you may wish to make contact with your new student prior to enrolment to provide advice on general background reading and to encourage an initial literature survey on the research topic.  You should also highlight the College’s Success Guide for postgraduate research students.  Imperial Student Space also offers advice on social, wellbeing and practical issues which can impact on the student experience, as well as suggesting ways in which students can get the most out of their time at the College.  You may wish to draw your student’s attention to these web resources. 

When your new student arrives, it is important that they understand what facilities are available to them both within the department, and more widely across the College.  A health and safety induction must form part of this introduction.  You should also encourage your student(s) to attend the College’s and departmental welcome events.  If your student starts outside the normal study period, please ensure they receive a full induction to your group and the department.  The Graduate School posts a professional skills welcome talk online which students can be directed to at any point.