Find a Supervisor

The supervisor-postgraduate researcher relationship is one of the most important elements underpinning the multi-faceted journey of doctoral study. The partnership that develops is a relationship where both parties should be confident that there is an appropriate degree of trust and mutual respect.

It is worth taking the time to really consider who would be a suitable supervisor given your focus and research aspirations. Once you have decided on the area of your research, try to find out as much as possible about a potential supervisor, their work and field of expertise.

The School of Education offers a range of Research Degrees, within a mutually supportive and academically dynamic environment in which to study. We have a team of highly experienced academic staff who would be happy to talk through any proposal ideas you may have which fit with their research expertise:

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How do I check if a potential supervisor is right for me?

Draw up a shortlist of two to three potential supervisors and take an in-depth look into their research history.

You can use the Supervisor Directory below to look at academic research interests, areas of expertise and PhD research that supervisors have overseen in the past.

Visit our Research Themes to find out more about our research interestes and integrated themes. 

View our Staff Profile to see the publications written by your potential supervisor. 

How can I contact a potential supervisor?

If you think you have found a potential supervisor who matches your research area, you can contact them to check their availability for supervising you.

When you contact your potential supervisor it is important to:

  • Explain your research interests and how you feel your research proposal matches their expertise.
  • Prepare for face-to-face interviews, think of the questions they may ask you and prepare some answers.
  • When you have decided on a topic, and have a first draft of your research proposal, get in contact with your potential supervisor at York St John University and share your idea. They may be able to offer feedback and help refine your proposal further before you submit your application.

How do I write a good research proposal?

Your research proposal is an integral part of the PhD application process, and as such, it is worth investing time and energy to ensure that your proposal is strong, clear and effective. Your proposal needs to outline the nature of your proposed research project, identify your knowledge of existing literature and provide an indication of how you will conduct your research project.

Research proposals are also used to correctly match you with an appropriate supervisor / supervison team. If you are interested in the work of a specific potential supervisor, and especially if you have already discussed your proposed project with this person, be sure to make reference to this in your proposal.

When writing your proposal, it is important to:

  • Highlight its originality and/or significance.
  • Explain how it adds to, develops (or challenges) existing literature in the field.
  • Identify the importance of your proposed research. 
  • Demonstrate why you are the correct person to undertake this research project. 

For further information and advice on writing an effective research proposal, visit

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