Compulsory attendance at, and assessment of, SUPA Courses


Every PhD student within SUPA is required to undertake a minimum of 40 hours of Advanced Specialist Courses during the first 2 years of their PhD studies. Advanced Specialist Courses include:

  • SUPA Advanced Specialist courses
  • Summer Schools recommended by the Themes
  • Relevant Non-SUPA courses, provided these are assessed and the proper credit application process followed

In addition, every PhD student within SUPA is required to undertake a minimum of the equivalent of 20 hours (or 4 days) of professional development training during the first 2 years of their PhD studies.

Professional development courses can include:

  • SUPA Professional Development courses
  • Departmental and/or university researcher development courses
  • Research council programmes as appropriate
  • Vitae training opportunities

Students should discuss participation in courses in advance with their supervisors.


The performance of PhD students in Advanced Specialist courses will be assessed and all students will be required to undertake and pass all relevant assessments unless they choose to audit the course. In the case of auditing, students will receive no credits towards their 40-hour requirement.

Courses are assessed by various methods. These methods include continuous assessment, dissertations and oral examinations. Students are advised to check the type of assessment with the lecturer at the start of each course. Typically, the final assessment for courses will be on a 0-100 point scale, where the pass mark is 50. If a specific SUPA course is part of an undergraduate curriculum, the pass mark may vary. Students taking non-SUPA courses can gain credits towards their SUPA requirement, by following the process outlined in the Course Catalogue and in this course credits process flow chart.

Student performance will be recorded and monitored regularly by SUPA Central and information will be provided to departments via the Graduate School Committee and the Executive Committee for consideration of student progression.

This information is also available in downloadable pdf format: SUPA Attendance and Assessment Rules.

This statement was originally unanimously agreed by the SUPA Graduate School Management Committee and the SUPA Executive Committee (which includes the Heads of Departments/Schools) for implementation in September/October 2008. It was updated by the Graduate School Management Committee for implementation in September/October 2009. It has further been updated in March 2022 to reflect terminology changes and ensure accessibility, no changes to requirements have been made.