While institutions set the framework for doctoral studies, they have historically usually been undertaken within a single academic discipline. Indeed part of the definition of the doctorate has of course been to make an original contribution to knowledge and understanding within the candidate’s discipline. But different disciplines have different paradigms of research, which in turn are reflected in different conceptions of what constitutes an original contribution and in different ways of organising and conducting doctoral studies. So supervisors have always needed to be aware of the disciplinary context, particularly in so far as it relates to the criteria for what is appropriate as a research project and to their roles and responsibilities and those of candidates.