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Support for Supervisors

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There are several additional facilities and resources as well as colleagues able to offer you support or advice in dealing with pastoral issues or advice on training opportunities for your students.

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University-Wide Support

Student services provided by the University can be a valuable resource to you as a supervisor. They provide a range of services that you may wish to redirect your students to, or provide support that is not covered by your role as a supervisor.

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Counselling Service

The University's Counselling Service is available to all students, who may refer themselves to the service or be referred by their graduate tutor. Their website provides useful information and is a good first port of call if graduate students need help on how to manage a variety of problems; for example, anxiety and panic, depression, eating disorders, insomnia and stress. One source of concern is orientation at the start of Michaelmas Term, particularly from overseas students on intensive courses.

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Graduate Union

The GU is the central body representing Cambridge graduates and the point of contact for the University when it wishes to obtain graduate views. The President and Welfare Officer offer confidential advice to students and sometimes provides representation for students in difficulties. The President is a member of the BGS, attends open business and is therefore aware of University policies.

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Disability Resource Centre

The Disability Resources Centre provides information, advice and support to students with a disability. See the useful guides on supporting disabled students and colleagues.

The DRC also provides advice on suitable adjustments. Applicants are encouraged to disclose disability at application stage, on the Personal Data Sheet.

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Occupational Health Service

The Service has an advisory role in assisting the University to meet its general duty of care under the Health & Safety at Work Act. Its main functions are to prevent ill health arising from work and to promote health at work, but, amongst other remits, it also provides information and advice on travel medicine for medical students on elective.

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Careers Service

It is advisable to encourage students to think ahead regarding their career plans. The Career Service provides careers education, information and guidance to students and alumni of the University of Cambridge.

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Pastoral Support

Colleges and Graduate Tutors

The first port of call is the student's Graduate Tutor at college. Supervisors are strongly advised to encourage students to take full advantage of college's provision for pastoral care and of opportunities to meet with their tutor, and they themselves should contact and liaise with the tutors if they have any concern regarding the well-being or academic progression of their students. Other support mechanisms will assume that the student has first availed him or herself of the college's provision with respect to any personal difficulties before taking further action. Tutors have a duty of confidentiality towards their students and may not be able to discuss certain information without the student's consent.

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Graduate Tutors

Graduate tutors are a valuable resource and source of information on pastoral issues that may be affecting your student. There is a graduate tutor for each college, and the appropriate tutor will belong to the same college as your student. You can find out who this is from the college websites. Tutors responsibilities are outlined in the 'College Provision for Graduate Students' document.

The 31 Colleges have agreed and adopted their own Code of Practice with regard to graduate students which sets out the common core of provision that all Cambridge Colleges make for their graduate students. It explains how this provision works in the college setting, indicating at the same time the diversity that is built into the system. The document also sets out the responsibilities of graduates as members of colleges.

  • All graduate students have a Graduate Tutor who is responsible for 'pastoral' welfare and financial aid. Tutorial support for graduates comprises a very wide range of provision, covering graduate welfare in the broadest sense (pastoral, financial and academic support). Students can turn in confidence to their Tutor if they experience difficulties or if they feel they are getting a poor deal. Although they have no formal role in the academic decision-making processes, they can become involved, as separating academic progress from domestic circumstances is sometimes difficult. Tutors have a formal role in seeking allowances, making complaints etc
  • The Graduate Tutors' Committee considers matters relating to graduate students and where appropriate liaises with the Student Registry.
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Support for International Students

Many students from overseas find it difficult to adjust quickly to student life in Cambridge and need help, especially in the early weeks.

International Office

The International Office offers guidance to colleges, faculties and departments on the needs of international students and gives advice to international students who have been accepted to Cambridge or who are in residence. They also provide induction and orientation information for new students.

The University's International Office has produced an A-Z for International Students, which can be downloaded as a PDF file

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Renewal of Visas

There are serious implications if students fail to renew visas before they expire. As the process of renewal can be quite long, students are advised to seek help well in advance of the visa expiry date. It is important for students to note that, by law, the provision of immigration advice is regulated and this can only be provided by specific named people who meet the required competencies and work in accordance with the Code of Standards as defined by the Office of Immigration Services Commissioner. Students should be directed to consult the 'International Students' section of this website.

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Academic Technology Approval Scheme

From 1 November 2007, all applicants from outside the EEA (classed as the EU, Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein) or Switzerland, who are applying for PhD, EngD or Masters courses in certain science and technology subjects, will be required to obtain an ATAS clearance certificate before they apply for a visa or entry clearance to the UK. Please note that possession of an ATAS certificate does not guarantee that entry clearance will be issued.

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Learning and Teaching Support

See also the LTS discussion of the academic and pastoral support of overseas students (also note that many of the issues of 'good practice' are of general relevance).

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Language Centre

Although students whose first language is not English are required to pass an English test at a high level prior to their admission being confirmed, they may underperform because of poor English language skills. If further English support is needed, a student may be recommended by their Supervisor to be assessed further by the staff of the Language Centre. If remedial English language training is recommended, the student is strongly advised to attend and may be at a disadvantage if he or she declines to do so.

Where in-sessional training is taken following the pre-sessional course, it is free of charge. In the case of students requiring in-sessional EAP training, the Language Centre accepts students who are recommended by their department or faculty; by doing so, the department or faculty agrees to pay the fee.

The Language centre provides self-access language learning, individual guidance, taught courses, and other language learning information for all members of the University. It does so flexibly in accordance with the needs of its users; it uses IT to underpin its operations and its activities are informed by relevant research in second language acquisition and educational technology.

For international students, English for Academic Purposes (EAP) aims to:

  • cater to varying needs of MPhil or PhD students on both taught and research routes
  • increase English language competence and strengthen study skills through relevant and focused support in the following topics:
    • listening and note-taking at lectures
    • participating in seminars
    • presenting projects and papers orally
    • writing reports, dissertations and papers
    • reading effectively
    • using social English
  • assist students in becoming autonomous and reflective learners.

The Language Centre may provide invaluable support to supervisors, and they also provide "Tips for Supervisors" quick reference.

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Funding Opportunities

Students are able to search for funding with an online directory, CamFunds. There are several sources of funding available to current students, for a variety of purposes. Some funding is provided by Research Councils, and there is also hardship funding available to certain students.

Information on students fees, their fee status and liabilities, in addition to eligibility for fee exemptions, can be found under 'Course Costs and Fee Status'.

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Training and Transferable Skills

The Cambridge University Skills Portal provides a facility to support students' development of transferable skills throughout their studies. Supervisors can find detailed information on training courses that may be available and beneficial to their students here.

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