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Navigating Co-supervision

Getting the Most Out of Your Doctorate

ISBN: 978-1-78769-908-3, eISBN: 978-1-78769-905-2

Publication date: 24 April 2019


Is co-supervision (i.e., two or more supervisors) a blessing or a torture? While co-supervision enables doctoral students to embrace a greater breadth of expertise, studying under the supervision of two or more supervisors can also be frustrating, especially when they have different requirements and expectations. Co-supervision is sometimes like living on the edge of two “systems” of theories and paradigms. It is important for doctoral students to be academically, emotionally, and interpersonally prepared to maximize the value of co-supervision, which often requires special management skills and techniques. Based on the experiences and stories of doctoral students from Hong Kong, this chapter will provide practical tips to navigate co-supervision.

“I just finished my meeting with one supervisor and need to prepare for the other now!”

“I can learn different things from each supervisor. It is very helpful.”

“I am quite confused! My supervisors have totally different stands on this issue.”

Does any of the comments ring a bell with you? If you studied or are studying for a doctoral degree in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, or Hong Kong, you are likely to find yourself in similar situations. With the development of distributed supervisory practice in higher education and the growing number of doctoral candidates, more and more doctoral students are likely to be supervised by two or more academics, that is, co-supervision.



Zou, M. and Kong, D. (2019), "Navigating Co-supervision", Dollinger, M. (Ed.) Getting the Most Out of Your Doctorate (Surviving and Thriving in Academia), Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 47-62.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Min Zou and Delin Kong