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Role of the Personal Tutor

The Personal Tutorial System has a vital role to play in enhancing students' academic and personal  development and is essential in ensuring students make the most of their time at university.

The role of the Personal Tutor is essentially twofold: academic development and pastoral care.

Academic development Book and hand

Tutors should help students to reflect on their skills and experience, both within and outside of the curriculum, in an academic context and where appropriate, use this reflection to assist the student to formulate action plans. Tutors should be the main contact within the academic discipline, helping students to maximise their academic opportunities. Tutors should also direct students to other sources of academic guidance within or beyond the School.

Pastoral care

Tutors should actively listen to students, providing encouragement and support as appropriate. Tutors should also offer guidance and advice on the availability of appropriate support concerning study, financial and other matters offered by the University where these are affecting the student's ability to complete their studies successfully. To do this effectively, it is essential that Tutors are aware of and liaise with their Senior Tutor, other parts of the University, and the Students' Union.


One of the aims of the Tutorial System is to provide support for the induction process. All new students are required to see their Tutor during Welcome Week and the levels of Tutorial support needed are likely to be highest at this time. Particularly in those first weeks, before new students have been able to develop their own 'mental map' of the University or to establish their own network of contacts, Tutors can play a valuable role as first point of contact. Even if Tutors do not have the information themselves, they will usually know who may be able to help and can point students in the right direction. This is valuable in reassuring students and helping them to orientate themselves.

For a Tutor with a large number of tutees, these ideals can be hard to attain but an investment of time at the beginning is worthwhile as it will make communication much easier should a problem occur at a later date.

Things to do now

If you would like to discuss any aspect of the role of the Personal Tutor, please contact Dr Maura O'Regan


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