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Supervisions are at the core of the educational provision of the Cambridge Colleges, as a medium through which students learn to work autonomously, to learn with and from others, to argue and to present arguments, to handle problems, to question their own assumptions, and to meet deadlines. The essentials of this crucial dimension of your intellectual experience are spelt out in a Guidance by the Senior Tutors' Committee, which is made available to all Sidney supervisors in advance of each new academic year, and can be found online at  Its key provisions are reproduced here:


YOUR SUPERVISOR'S COMMITMENT TO YOU.  Students are encouraged to expect the following from supervisions:

• as far as is practicable, a full hour of teaching (provided that they have done the work expected of them in preparation for the supervision)

• to be taught in a reasonably sized group in which they have the opportunity to participate fully

• guidance about how best to prepare for supervisions

• to be set reasonable amounts of work and to receive constructive feedback on it

• their work to have been marked, with advice for improvement, before the supervision where this is the usual arrangement in the subject

• teaching that is relevant to the course and helps them understand the subject

• discussion of their questions and problems, with constructive comment

• respect for their opinions, and questions to be dealt with thoroughly and effectively

• opportunities to discuss with the supervisor, in privacy and in full confidence, any problems they perceive in the quality, relevance, or dynamics of the supervisions they are receiving.


YOUR COMMITMENT TO YOUR SUPERVISOR.  Students themselves may be expected to:

• complete the work set to the very best of their ability

• hand in work on time (and to ensure that they have agreed a deadline with the supervisor)

• turn up on time to every supervision

• contribute actively to the supervision and make their opinions known

• contact the supervisor in plenty of time if they are unable to make the supervision or complete the work set