Difference between a Mentor and a Tutor

Before you start working on your degree project, one key document that you have to read and familiarise yourself with is the OBU Information Pack. You must pay close attention to the section “What to expect from your mentor” which clearly explains my role and responsibilities as a mentor.


When studying for your ACCA exams, your tutor explains the syllabus and tells you what the examiner is looking for and what is ultimately the right or wrong answer. Your understanding of the syllabus gets tested via the mock exams which provide you with the marker’s comments and model answers.

This is not what happens during the Oxford Brookes University degree project. As a mentor, I am here to guide you and make you think and come up with solutions, not to give you answers to everything.

As explained in My role as an OBU project mentor article, I am here to support you through the preparation of the project and provide you with advice and feedback. The article also lists key principles that I follow and stand by. It is important for every mentee to understand that my role as a mentor is not that of a tutor.

Please find below the key principles that OBU stipulates for me as a mentor:

  • I don’t play any part in the assessment of your RAP beyond the certification provided to Oxford Brookes University that the project you have submitted is your own work. Therefore you should not ask me what you have to do to pass – this is given in the assessment criteria for the RAP.
  • I am not expected to have specialist knowledge within your project topic area or of academic research methods.
  • It is not my role to solve problems or to define future course of action. I am a facilitator, not a tutor.
  • I am not expected to give you detailed advice on the structure and content of your Research Report, or relevant references or to write any of your RAP for you. Those decisions and actions are solely your own responsibility.

I will be encouraging you to think about what you propose to do in your RAP work and challenge you to demonstrate that you are meeting your project objectives and that you will be able to meet your timetable for submission of your RAP to Oxford Brookes University. I may also ask you to demonstrate your understanding of the issues that have arisen during your research and may wish to question you on your conclusions and recommendations.

OBU has compiled a set of questions, that you should not expect me to provide the answers to:

What do I have to do to pass?
What do I do next?
What shall I read on this topic?
What do you know about this topic?
Will you structure my project for me?

As a mentor, I want to you to succeed in your OBU degree and pass the first time. It is therefore important that you understand what my role and responsibilities are in this project and that you need to lead the project and think for yourself.

All the experience you gain from this project will be very useful when reflecting in your SLS.

Anna