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Study and teaching

Undergraduate study

Director of Studies: Undergraduate students are given a College-appointed Director of Studies (or DoS) who oversees your study. The DoS normally sees you at the start and end of each term to discuss your progress and will give advice on lectures and other University teaching, discuss your options, and enter you for the appropriate exams. The DoS normally appoints supervisors and may also be involved on your behalf in examination meetings and other academic consultation in your faculty.

Note also the Lecture List published at the start of each year in the University’s official newspaper, the Reporter, with lecture titles and locations.

Supervision: The supervision system is the ‘motor of learning’ at Cambridge, and it is vital to invest your energy accordingly. For each supervision you are given an essay or set of exercises to do in advance, to be discussed for an hour with you on your own or in a very small group. This method of teaching can be initially daunting, but is usually very stimulating, and the individual attention enables students to progress rapidly and to explore particular interests.

You must attend all supervisions arranged for you, unless specifically excused by your DoS. In the case of ill-health or other emergency, contact your supervisor in advance by phone or e-mail, explaining your absence. A student who fails for no good reason to attend one or more supervisions will normally be charged the full supervision rate (over £25 per hour) and may be disciplined. Try to rearrange a time to make up the supervision, perhaps by joining another group for the topic missed. However, do not arrange any additional supervision hours without first agreeing this with your DoS, since the maximum number has been carefully negotiated and should not be exceeded. Tutors may also recommend additional supervision to the Senior Tutor.

You are expected to make full use of the teaching facilities provided, and a DoS who feels that a student is not working satisfactorily may ask their Tutor or the Senior Tutor to take action. Each supervisor submits a termly report on your academic progress through CamCORS, which enables your DoS, Tutor and Senior Tutor to monitor your progress. You also have access to these reports.

Support: You should maintain regular contact with your DoS, both to monitor and guide and your study and to help resolve any difficulties which may arise. In the rare event of difficulties with your DoS, consult your Tutor or the Senior Tutor.

The University’s Undergraduate Study web pages contain additional information and guidance.

Postgraduate study

Masters courses: Some like LLM and MASt have a Director of Studies as for undergraduates (see above). Most courses have a combination of taught elements with seminars, and thesis or dissertation, while research Masters simply have the latter. Whatever your course, try to develop good relationships with the faculty and your supervisor(s). If for any reason you experience difficulties, then you should consult your college Tutor.

Doctoral study: For doctoral students, the relationship with your departmental supervisor is particularly important, so it is well worth investing time and energy to establish a good relationship. If for any reason you experience difficulties, then you should consult your College Tutor. It is better to do this early and not let problems fester. The College Tutors have great experience of University faculties and doctoral supervision and are often able to help address problems before they become serious.

The University’s Postgraduate Study web pages contain additional information and guidance.

Plagiarism and academic misconduct

The college follows the university policy on plagiarism. It is a serious offence, and can lead to both university and college disciplinary procedures.

Academic misconduct, broadly speaking, is any action which gains, attempts to gain, or assists others in gaining or attempting to gain unfair academic advantage. It includes plagiarism, collusion, contract cheating, and fabrication of data as well as the possession of unauthorised materials during an examination. Every current and former student of the University is expected to understand and abide by rules of behaviour which specifically prohibit academic misconduct. The College follows the University policy on plagiarism. It is a serious offence, and can lead to both University and College disciplinary procedures. See the University’s information on academic misconduct for further information.