Ethical Recommendations for relations between Student and Supervisor

The Supervisor is the most important part of a PhD student. The type of relationship between student and supervisor determines the type of supervision a student is going to receive. Supervision contributes to the doctoral student well-being and satisfaction, the length of PhD, the time of viva and an overall learning of skills during the PhD.

Here are a few recommendations that Students and Supervisors should follow in order to have a healthy and constructive environment in the lab:


Respect is a really important need for a lab environment. Comments and statements that can hurt or violate the dignity of a supervisor or a student should not be made. Respect towards each other also opens up the area of healthy discussion on research work and planning.

Supervisor’s Powers

Any supervisor must be aware of the power that he or she possess. The supervisor should not use their power to belittle the student. They should not mock or offend a student only to win a petty personal battle. They should also not threaten a student of the power they have.


Professionalism call for the respect of personal and professional life of both supervisor and student. Supervisors shall not call the students at ungodly hours, students should also behave the same with the supervisors. Supervisors should not ask for personal favours or should not ask students to do their personal work. PhD should be treated as a part of life and it should not be treated as life. Supervisors must not interfere in the personal life of a student.

Conflicts between Supervisor and student

If there is any conflict that arises between a supervisor or a student then it should be dealt with maturity. Supervisors should not abuse their power to settle their score with the students, and students should not go gung-ho telling everyone about the conflict.

Intellectual Property Rights

If a student works hard on some research then they should be given due credit. Their names should be included in the paper/patent. There are a very limited number of supervisors (since the data is only hearsay) who do not give the name of their students in the paper despite of the hard work of the student. In such cases the students find in a vulnerable position as if they do not publish they wont be able to clear their PhD and if they say something then the supervisor might delay the PhD.

Author Profile

Mritunjay Sharma
Mritunjay Sharma
Mritunjay Sharma finished his B.Sc (H) from Kirori Mal College, Delhi University in Chemistry. After that he went to England to study Masters in Polymer Material Science and Engineering from University of Manchester and consequently finished his PhD in Nuclear and Materials Chemistry from University of Manchester

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