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Teaching and Examining



Supervisions are the means by which small-scale undergraduate teaching takes place in the University of Cambridge. Elsewhere such teaching is sometimes referred to as tutorials. In mathematics, the typical supervision consists of a pair of students discussing mathematical problems with a supervisor, who is normally a College or University lecturer, or a research worker/student from one of the University departments (not necessarily from the Faculty of Mathematics).  The individual attention available in such supervisions is a characteristic of a Cambridge undergraduate education, and is not common in many British universities (or elsewhere in the world).  Each mathematics student receives roughly two hours a week of supervisions.  Colleges, through Directors of Studies, are responsible for the organisation of supervisions in Parts IA, IB and II of the Mathematical Tripos.

A Guide for Supervisors

The Faculty of Mathematics publishes a guide on undergraduate Supervision in Mathematics. A one-page summary is a useful reminder of core Faculty guidelines, but all new supervisors are expected to read the full guide carefully before they supervise. 

The full guide is primarily intended to help new supervisors give good supervisions that are of maximum benefit to the students. It also describes the responsibilities of the supervisor to the College and deals with some practical details, such as how to go about finding supervision work (see also below), and when and how to get payment.

The Faculty also publishes a Guide for Lecturers (see also the Faculty page on Lecturer Guidelines).

Training for New Supervisors

There are training sessions every year for new supervisors, run jointly by Graduate Development and the Faculty of Mathematics. For further information please contact the Graduate Office,

Matchmaking Directors of Studies with Potential Supervisors

The organisation of supervisions is a College responsibility, and different Colleges have different approaches. However, given that there are over 30 Colleges, and over 60 courses in Parts IA, IB and II, matching Directors of Studies with potential supervisors is not necessarily straightforward.

As an aid to this task, the Directors of Studies run a "matchmaking" site that helps to match potential supervisors with Directors of Studies offering supervisions.  To use this site you need to login to the Cambridge Moodle system.  Clicking on the "matchmaking" link should take you direct to the relevant page; alternatively when logged in to the Cambridge Moodle system

  • click on the "Courses" menu at the top and scroll down to "Find a course" and click on it;
  • in the search box enter "Matchmaking";
  • click on the course "Matchmaking site for Supervisors and DoS in Mathematics";
  • you should then see an "Enrol me" button that allows you to enrol.

Clicking on this enrol link might also work. (Please report any infelicities in these instructions to

Once enrolled you will be able to see those looking for supervisors, as well as being able to add details of the supervisions you have to offer.

Please note that not all Directors of Studies recruit supervisors through this site, and that individual approaches to Directors of Studies are an alternative way forward.

Information for Students

The Faculty also provides information and advice on supervisions for students.