Skip to content

Find a supervisor

Enlisting the support of a PhD supervisor is an important part of your research journey. Discover how to choose the right mentor for your work and how to make initial contact.

Student with lecturer in workshop

Choosing a PhD supervisor

A PhD supervisor plays a vital part in your research. They will be your mentor and help to guide your research, providing feedback and advice. They will also help to ensure your project progresses on time and complies with University policies.

If you’re proposing your own PhD project, you’ll need to find a supervisor with expertise in your area, which you can identify by:

  • searching publications and articles relevant to your field for the most cited researchers
  • looking for published researchers in your field with a similar methodology to your own
  • reading recently submitted PhD dissertations in your area and noting the supervisors
  • approaching lecturers in relevant departments and asking for recommendations.

When to contact potential supervisors

When you’ve decided on your research topic, you’ll need to find a PhD supervisor to support and guide your research. Our advertised projects will list the supervisors, but if you are submitting your own proposal, you'll need to identify a suitable supervisor too.

In either case, we recommend discussing your ideas with the supervisory team before submitting your application. Find out on this page what your PhD supervisor will do and how to make initial contact.

How to contact potential supervisors

The best way to make initial contact with a potential supervisor is by email. Academics are often very busy, so it is important that your message is tailored, clear and concise. You should:

  • include a clear subject line summarising your intent
  • explain your interest in the project under the academic’s supervision
  • show your familiarity with the academic’s work
  • outline details of funding / location and study mode if relevant.

Research your options

At NTU, you can apply for an advertised PhD project, where the supervisory team has already been identified. We also accept proposals for your own PhD project. For the best chance of success, your proposal should align with our research centres.

Browse our centres and the research staff listed within them to identify a potential supervisor, or search our staff directory below.