College Teaching

Supervisions are the Collegebased teaching system, and are at the heart of a Cambridge undergraduate education. These take place within Emmanuel, and are organised by subjectspecific Directors of Studies.


These are personal tuition sessions between the College's subjectspecialist Fellows, or PhD/post–docs, and small groups of students. Supervisions can either be onetoone, or with up to three other students. They are an opportunity to develop your knowledge and explore your subject. They extend learning beyond lectures & practical classes, and can help you test your ideas, so supervisors often like it if you come with questions too. They can also often offer detailed discussion of written work.

Supervisions are usually held weekly, and are between one & two hours in length (depending on the course). They are often held in College, but they can be in faculties or University sites. Supervisions are not intended to be formal tests of your ability, are never assessed, and should not be intimidating! You will prepare for each session, usually by reading, writing an essay or working on a small project. You will have a different supervisor for each topic within your subject, and they will cover all major topics covered by the course.

Supervisors are appointed by, and work closely with, the subject’s Director(s) of Studies. They write a termly report for each of their students to monitor their academic progress. You can access these via the reports system (password protected). Any concerns with regards to supervisions can be raised directly with your supervisor, or can be directed to your DoS or your Tutor.

Director(s) of Studies (DoS)

The Director(s) of Studies are in charge of all students' academic affairs. They provide guidance about the course papers available, and give advice about lectures & classes. They also appoint College supervisors, and manage College teaching. They work in parallel with the pastoral support of the College Tutors to develop the academic progress of their students.

Meetings with your DoS (pronounced 'doss') will be arranged at the start & end of each term, to discuss your supervision reports & general academic queries. They are always prepared to talk through any difficulties students might have with work. at any other time during the term. They organise practical arrangements about supervisions, and discuss progress reports on your academic work.

DoSs can help or give advice on how best to prepare for exams. Alongside the College supervisors, they arrange 'mock' papers too.

Subject Parents

All of our freshers are assiged 'Subject Parents', who are students in second year. They will be studying the same subject, and are there to help with what to expect from your course. Every subject has its own faculty & lecture timetable, so your 'parents' can give you an idea of how your schedule will look.