Imperial College London sets expectations for all students studying for research degrees at the College:


Take responsibility for your thesis

In the end it is your work. Your supervisors are here to help you accomplish your research objectives, but not to do the thinking for you.

Work hard

It is important to recognise that working towards a research degree requires a lot of time and effort, and that you will need to take care of yourself. Imperial is a top ranking University and we expect that students will strive to accomplish good work.

Display initiative

Ultimately, the person who drives the process and strives to understand the research area is you. We expect you to be curious about your research and to think about how other people's work and ideas have an impact on what you are doing. In light of this, it is a requirement for you to attend all lab meetings and work in progress discussions, in addition to other seminars.

Write papers

How many papers you need to write and when these are written depends on the field. However the process of writing enables you to develop of skills which are extremely useful for the preparation of your final thesis. Publishing peer-reviewed manuscripts will help you to prepare for your viva and also with making the next step in your career.

Be self-critical

Take a detached view of your own work and results, and use these skills to be sceptical of results in the wider literature around your subject.

Help colleagues

You will be expected to work with colleagues (especially less experienced ones) in the laboratory to learn through discussion and demonstrations.

Keep up with your field

There will often be new work published on your topic, and you will need to stay up to date with the literature in your field.

Provide regular reports

You should be diligent about keeping a laboratory notebook and regularly entering all your data into electronic forms for back up and archiving. Your supervisor will want to be kept informed on how you're doing.

Be aware of safety at all times

Follow safety procedures, especially if you are working in a laboratory.

Develop your skills

You should build on your existing skills and learn new ones by attending the professional skills courses and lectures provided by the Graduate School, departments within the college and by any other external providers.

Understand your funding

If you are receiving funding from a private organisation or a funding body, there may be specific requirements you need to fulfil to maintain your funding. Make sure you know if you need to report your progress, carry out a certain level of public engagement or fulfil another requirement.