Compulsory attendance at, and assessment of, SUPA Courses

Every PhD student within SUPA is required to undertake a minimum of 40 hours of SUPA Advanced Specialist Courses during the first 2 years of their PhD studies. Within some Themes, e.g., Particle Physics, there will be a higher recommended number of hours of SUPA Advanced Specialist Courses.

SUPA Advanced Specialist Courses include:

  • SUPA Graduate School Lectures
  • SUPA Distance Learning 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 during the first 2 years of their PhD studies.

Professional development courses can include:

  • SUPA professional development courses
  • Departmental and/or university skills courses
  • Vitae
  • Research council programmes¬†

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, if they wish for the course to count towards credits. Courses may be assessed by different methods as appropriate to the subject area. Examples of appropriate assessment include any combination of written examinations, continuous assessment, a dissertation, oral etc. Students wishing to gain credits from Non-SUPA courses should follow the instructions in the Course Catalogue. This flow chart may also help identify how to gain credits for a course.

Lecturers are required to notify students of the assessment details by the start of the course and to report their marks in the SUPA online gradebook by the specified deadlines. All marks must be on a 0-100 point scale, with a pass mark of 50. (Where SUPA postgraduate courses are part of the final year undergraduate curriculum, the pass mark may be 40.)

Student performance will be recorded and monitored regularly by SUPA Central and information will be provided to departments via the GSC and the EC for consideration of student progression.


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 08. It was updated by the Graduate School Management Committee for implementation in September/October 09. Terminology referring to course types was updated September 2018, and relating to credits for Non-SUPA courses in September 2021.