"Tutorials are the perfect time to gain clarity on lecture material and also provide an incredible opportunity to explore your subject beyond the curriculum with an expert in the field."
– Nas Andriopoulos
Imperial College Union President
The tutorial system varies from one department to another, but you will usually be allocated a Personal Tutor who you can turn to for advice or support during your studies.
Your Personal Tutor will be able to advise you about your academic progress, while acting as your first port of call for any non-academic issues you may have. You will usually keep the same Personal Tutor for the duration of your degree.
You can find out more about the role of Personal Tutors and Senior Tutors here.
More information will be available through your department, but we have compiled a list of frequently asked questions to give you an introduction to the important role your tutors will play throughout the course of your degree.
What is a Personal Tutor?
This is usually a member of academic staff who is allocated to you for the duration of your course to offer help and support with academic or personal issues. They will also follow your progress throughout the course to help keep you on track to succeed.
How often should I see my Personal Tutor?
Some departments will allocate slots in the timetable. More often though, it is up to both of you, but it is good to try and meet them at least twice a term. Your department will tell you what is usually expected. It can be very beneficial to develop a good relationship with your tutor - keeping in touch via email between meetings is a good way to do this.
What if I don't have a Personal Tutor?
Don't worry if your department doesn't allocate you a tutor - there will be a Senior Tutor, programme manager or someone else in your department who can give you support.
What is a Senior Tutor?
Your academic department will have one or more Senior Tutors, usually one for each different level of study. Your Senior Tutor is an academic member of staff who has overall responsibility for the pastoral care of students in your department. They support Personal Tutors and Supervisors in fulfilling their roles and provide additional guidance and oversight in more complex situations.
If you’re not comfortable talking to your Personal Tutor about a problem you are facing, whether it’s academic or personal, you can speak to your Senior Tutor. You can find out who your Senior Tutor is here.
What if I want to see my Personal Tutor alone and we meet as a group?
You could always arrive a little early or stay to talk after. Alternatively, you could email your Personal Tutor to arrange a meeting.
What if my Personal Tutor is too busy to see me?
Your Personal Tutor will have many calls on their time, but they will always make time for you. If you cannot see them right away, do book a time that is convenient to both of you.
What sort of issues can I take to my Personal Tutor?
You can discuss any aspect of university life with your Personal Tutor, whether that’s the course, financial worries, your friends, personal problems or anything that is causing you concern.
Personal Tutors will be able to advise you about your academic progress, identify strengths and weaknesses and suggest ways in which you can improve your performance. On top of this, they are your first port of call for any welfare, financial or pastoral issues that you may have. Personal Tutors can also provide an academic reference for when you wish to apply for jobs, placements or further study or a listening ear for problems, both personal and academic.
If they cannot help or you feel uncomfortable talking to them about certain issues then they will be able to suggest who you might talk to.
What if I have an issue I feel uncomfortable raising with my Personal Tutor?
If you don’t want to discuss a particular issue with your Personal Tutor, you could contact the Senior Tutor in your department.
Each Faculty also has a Faculty Senior Tutor who is available for additional support and guidance.
There are also many other sources of support and advice at the College: