Student in front of Chancellor's Centre

Postgraduate Academic Support

To help you succeed with your degree, Wolfson offers supervisions, PhD mentors, study and research skills sessions and other academic support.

Student in front of Chancellor's Centre


For postgraduate students teaching and supervision are the responsibility of your University Department. Your supervisor will be appointed by your Department.

The Degree Committee of the Faculty Board covering your Department is responsible for such matters as dates of submission, extensions of time, leave to work away, removal and reinstatement on the Register of Graduate Students. You should consult the designated person within your Department for all matters relating to courses, supervisors, etc. If, however, you are having difficulties which are not being dealt with successfully by the Department come and see your Tutor for advice.

Postgraduate Examinations & Dissertations

Some postgraduate courses are one-year taught courses, eg LLM, Master of Mathematics/Master of Advanced Studies, PGCE. Masters' (MPhil) courses are one- or two-year courses which may contain both tuition and research and may be full-time or part-time; they involve examinations or continuous assessment and a dissertation. The PhD, a purely research course, takes at least three years, of which the first is probationary. There are no written examinations, but after the dissertation has been submitted and assessed the candidate is examined orally.

For postgraduate students any appeal relating to the examination for the Masters degree or the PhD has to be made through the Student Registry. In neither case can students appeal against the academic judgement of the examiners.

PhD Mentors

All Wolfson PhD students have the opportunity of being assigned a mentor, who will be one of Wolfson's Fellows or Senior Members working in a related subject. The mentoring scheme is entirely voluntary and is run completely independently of both departmental research supervision and the tutorial system at Wolfson.

Over 180 students and 80 mentors are currently signed up to the programme. The mentoring scheme has proven to be an effective way of giving PhD students additional one-on-one support and advice on topics such as funding opportunities, informal feedback on research proposals, ways of managing dissertations or experiments, academic publishing, career progression, and building a network of contacts.

Mentors and their students get in touch whenever they find it useful to do so, and the scheme also organises social events for all participants in the mentoring scheme to provide additional opportunities for interaction with other mentors and students.

The mentoring arrangement is also a valuable way of fostering closer links between postgraduate students and more senior members of Wolfson, thereby building on Wolfson's strengths as a welcoming and cosmopolitan academic community. Some of our mentors are Junior Research Fellows or postdoctoral research associates who can closely relate to the trials, tribulations and triumphs of undertaking a PhD. Others are senior academics or established professionals with a wealth of experience. Your mentor will be able to give you a new perspective on your work and help you to get the best out of your time at Cambridge.

If you are interested in having a mentor assigned to you, then please contact Dr Chris Town, Graduate Mentoring Scheme Co-ordinator.

Academic Skills

A wide range of study and research support is offered by the Library staff and through WolfWorks, and academic skills training programme. CamGuides, is an online resource for Master's students (but with much relevant to PhD students too) aimed at smoothing the transition to a new stage of study and, possibly, a new university.

Regulations relating to Postgraduate Students

There are very clear procedures to be followed in relation to residency, working away from Cambridge and other matters such as the submission or deferral of theses. A comprehensive guide to these procedures is available here. Please ensure that the College is informed at all times of changes to your status or residency.