I was looking on the web for helpful mentor guidelines for my own institution, but couldn’t find something I was looking for. So I devised my own. These mentor guidelines is what I gave external mentors for my students’  MTh dissertation. It may be relevant to you. May be.


MTh Mentor Guidelines
Theology Department, April, 2007

 Thank you for agreeing to mentor an MTh student. The following is a guideline for mentors for the MTh thesis supervision. This document is not binding, and mainly functions as a tool to give you an idea of what is expected from mentors. Feel free to interact with the Head of Department, for further clarification and/or procedural modifications.

Purpose of MTh thesis

According to our Prospectus, the purpose and procedure of an MTh Thesis is as follows:

The thesis is designed to demonstrate the student’s competence in his or her area of specialisation. It should deal with the topic in a way comparable with a paper published in an academic journal. It should fulfil all the requirements and procedures outlined in College thesis manual, such as format, style, footnotes, bibliography and length of the thesis. The thesis is to be of 100-120 pages, including footnotes, of double spaced computer print-out. The thesis must be submitted by the end of November during the second year. The student’s mentor as well as an external reader competent in the field will examine the thesis. The final grade of a thesis will be the average of the mentor’s and the external reader’s grades.

Role of a mentor

The relationship between the mentor and student is central in the procedure for development and completion of an MTh Thesis. The Head of Department usually assigns a mentor and from then on, the entire thesis supervision is taken over by the mentor. Only in special cases, when the mentor requires it, the Head of Department or another faculty, is approached by the mentor for further help on the subject. Thus, the student is primarily accountable to the mentor, and will be assigned a grade by the mentor at the end of the process as well.

Meeting Procedure

Typically, a mentor meets a student at least twice a month; once, in an informal-pastoral way where the Mentor sees how the student is faring. This time is also typically when the student submits his/her chapter. The other time is when the student receives and reviews mentor comments. This time is also typically when the mentor sets new chapter submission deadlines. The college encourages more meetings depending on the availability of the mentor and the needs of the student (especially in the early stages of the thesis). The mentor is free to manage their own students’ visits.  Our students have also been informed that meetings with the mentor must be by appointment only.

Additional assignment/s

Typically, there is no need to give any extra assignment to the student apart from the actual research work. However, in special circumstances, the mentor can assign additional reading or writing that will aid the student in development and completion of their MTh thesis. Such extra work could be assigned in the first month or if needing in the beginning of a difficult chapter in a later month.  Thus, if a student is struggling with her chapter three, the mentor can assign a short thought paper to help collect all her thoughts on the subject. Such assignments are neither compulsory, nor graded, and are assigned only at the discretion of the mentor in view of the students need for their thesis. The Mentor can take special care not to overload the student in this regard.


As a main goal for thesis writing is to engage critically and thoroughly with a subject to propose something meaningful and relevant for the student’s context, the mentor’s role is to help the student be focussed and clear in their work, and maintain consistency and quality. Usually, the mentor is free in the manner in which they help the student achieve these goals. Obviously the mentor encourages independent thinking, while acting as a guide who helps channel the student’s own ideas and creativity.

With regards to English, some mentors correct the grammar and spelling of the students, while others insist that the student get an external ‘editor’ for correcting basic grammar and spelling. Both are acceptable, keeping in mind that a student is expected to submit a fully corrected copy at the end.


Time Limitation

The typical time period for doing an MTh Thesis is from June to November, six months. The students’ thesis proposal has already been approved by March. The deadline for thesis submission this year is November 30, 2007.

A student can be given an extension only upon the recommendation of the mentor, and approval of the Head of Department. Such an extension may still result in grade reduction. It is up to the mentor to decide whether the grade reduction applies for the student or not. Typically, an extension should not extend beyond December 15, 2007.


Evaluation and Feedback

After thesis submission, the Mentor will submit a final letter grade to the Head of Department along with a written rationale for the grade, in report form. The assessment of the thesis will only be on the finished product and not on early drafts, student submissions or potential.

The thesis will also be given for evaluation to an external examiner. Mentors are encouraged to propose an external examiner to the Head of Department. However, the final decision for external examiner will be taken by the Head of Department, in discussion with the Faculty Council.  The final grade of the student thesis will be the average of mentor and external examiner’s grade. At present there is no viva for student defence of thesis.


To further strengthen the process of mutual learning, we will be encouraging the students to give a written feedback of the mentoring process (after the grade is submitted, but before the student finds out what grade s/he received). The student will be asked certain questions on how to better enrich the Mentor-student relationship. The Head of Department will communicate the results of the feedback of students to the mentors.


Details of the payment for your services will be given to you separately.


As mentioned earlier, these are guidelines that will hopefully give you an idea of what supervision expectations are.  If you feel you need to adapt these to suit your purpose, please feel free to do so in consultation with the Head of Department. 

Thank you once again for taking time to participation with us in this way. May your involvement be a blessing to you and your student.