Supervisor for undergraduate dissertation

    • Thread Starter

    We have to submit two potential dissertation topics by 27th November and also who we would like as supervisors. There is of course no guarantee we can be placed with our preferred supervisors due to potential oversubscription, but the university takes our choice into account. The area I would like to do my dissertation in is quite an unpopular subfield, so I'm not too concerned about being assigned the supervisor of my choice. I have two potential supervisors to pick from:

    Supervisor A:
    - Taught me for a module before, and is extremely knowledgable
    - Is extremely specific about the structure of written work, which can either be a pro or a con depending on which way you look at it
    - Sets quite usually high expectations (she expected me to be in her class a week after I had my son) However, I think, with her guidance, I will produce a very high quality piece of work.

    Supervisor B:
    - Risky, as I've never met her before (she doesn't start at the university until January, when we're due to start writing our dissertations)
    - She is highly specialised in the subfield I want to do my dissertation in, moreso than Supervisor A
    - She teaches the modules at UCL for the subject I will be applying to for a Msc there next month
    - I don't know how she will respond to the fact I have a baby (99% of my lecturers have been so supportive, and I generally like to be about two weeks ahead of everybody else, in case my son is ill etc and needs more attention, so I don't know whether she'll like that)

    Which one should I go for? :-)
    • Thread Starter


    For an undergrad Long Study, it's necessary to focus on the process, rather than necessarily generate new knowledge.

    So definitely Supervisor A, as you'll have a head start, and a positive, proven working relationship. Then in January, book some time to talk through your topic with Supervisor B (ie. pick her brains), as by that stage, you'll be able to hold a solid conversation on your topic and your approach, and she can add real value to your thinking.

    Providing supervisor A hasn't showed any worrying signs (being picky and high standards aren't a bad thing) such as not responding to emails or not being sympathetic to your child (as you may need a bit of flexibility on supervision appointments) then I would go with the known quantity.
    • Thread Starter

    Thank you both!
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