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Departmental Supervisions: Information for Supervisors

Supervisions for Parts IA & IB are arranged directly for colleges by their Directors of Studies, and you should contact them individually if you wish to offer supervisions for these two years.

Supervisions are essential to teaching in Parts II and III of the tripos, and the Department of Physics takes them very seriously. While the ultimate responsibility for supervisions remains with the colleges, the specialised nature of the courses means that it is more efficient to organise these through the Department than for colleges to try to arrange them individually.

As the direct provider of supervisions, the Department of Physics has a "duty of care" to ensure that all students are treated equally, as far as is practicable, and that supervisions are of a high standard. If you are new to supervising in Cambridge, then we require you to attend one of the courses offered by the Staff Development Office. These are held several times a year in town (usually at the University Centre), and we also hold one or two at the Cavendish, including one right at the start of Michaelmas Term. Supervising is not easy - at least, not initially - and new supervisors will find that a lot of work is required to get on top of the material, and then in marking the students' work and answering their questions.

In order to monitor standards, students are asked to fill out a feedback form on their supervisions at the end of each course, and this feedback will normally be made available directly to supervisors once the necessary statistical information has been extracted. In cases where the students regard teaching as unsatisfactory, the supervisions coordinator will discuss the matter with the supervisor, and will agree with him or her what steps should be taken to improve the quality.

In deciding whether to offer your services as a supervisor, and (if so) how best to go about it, you may find the following resources useful:

Offering supervisions

Both experienced and supervisors who have not previously taught a particular course can apply.  New supervisors will need to obtain the lecturer's authorisation to show that they have the necessary background and understand what is involved.

Claiming payment

Supervisions are paid for by the individual colleges to which the students belong. Before the end of term supervisors should fill out a report for each student, using the colleges' CamCORS website. You will need a Raven password, and will then need to register with CamCORS (see below). When you set up your CamCORS account, you are asked to set up your payment details (cheque, by BACS, to your college, etc). Payment is made automatically once the relevant Director of Studies approves your report.

Please note that you will require a National Insurance number - obtaining one of these can take some time if you don't already have one, so for your own benefit, do set about getting one as soon as you start supervising. The Teaching Office can supply a letter to confirm that you are supervising our courses.

Colleges are only allowed to approve payments on particular dates, so if you are late in submitting your reports, you won't receive payment until the end of the following term.

Other resources