Policies

General, admissions, and registration

9.1

These regulations shall apply to applicants and registered research students for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) or Master of Philosophy (MPhil). These regulations also shall apply as indicated to:

  1. applicants and registered research students for the degree of Doctor of Clinical Psychology (DClinPsy), Doctor of Education (EdD), Doctor of Engineering (EngD), Doctor of Medicine (MD), Doctor of Psychology (PsyD), or Doctor of Social Science (DSocSci)
  2. applicants and registered research students for a research degree programme validated by the University at an associated institution
  3. applicants and registered research students for the degree of PhD under a split-site arrangement

9.2

These regulations should be read with the associated appendices as appropriate.

Conflicts of interest

9.3

Conflicts of interest are where there exists or appears to exist situations such that an independent observer might reasonably question whether the professional actions or decisions of an individual have been influenced by their own interests.

9.4

Research students and all others involved in research student support should understand the potential for conflicts of interest and must take appropriate measures to avoid situations which could give rise a to a conflict of interest or the appearance of a conflict of interest.

9.5

The Head of Department or their nominee shall be responsible for ensuring that initial arrangements for admission, supervision, progress reviews, and examination do not give rise to an actual or a reasonably perceived conflict of interest.

9.6

Research students and all others involved in research student support must disclose any circumstances that might reasonably give rise to the perception of a conflict of interest. Apparent or perceived conflicts of interest can be as damaging as actual conflicts of interest. There is no definitive list of situations where a conflict of interest may arise but common examples involve personal and financial relationships. Research students and all others involved in research student support must disclose any circumstances where they are uncertain whether these constitute a conflict of interest.

9.7

The disclosure should be normally made at the time the conflict first arises or at the time it is first recognised that a conflict might be perceived. The disclosure should be to the Head of Department or their nominee. If the Head of Department or their nominee has an interest in the matter to be disclosed, the disclosure must be made to the person at the next higher level of authority.

9.8

When notified of a conflict of interest, the Head of Department or their nominee must take appropriate steps to deal with the issue.

Admission and selection

9.9

Applications for admission to a research degree programme shall be considered in accordance with these regulations and any additional requirements specified in other Senate Regulations.

General entry requirement

9.10

The minimum entry requirement for a research degree programme shall be an upper second class honours degree, or an equivalent overseas qualification, in a relevant subject. In certain disciplines applicants shall be additionally required to have a Master’s degree at an appropriate level in a relevant subject or appropriate professional experience.

9.11

If the applicant does not have the above qualifications, the Department may make a special case for admission based on one or more of the following criteria:

  1. other qualifications held
  2. training and experience
  3. published works
  4. upper second class strengths demonstrated in relevant modules of first degree

Special cases for admission to a research degree programme shall be subject to approval from the Dean of the Doctoral College.

9.12

Applicants for the degree of MD must be:

  1. a graduate in medicine of the University of at least three years standing, or
  2. a graduate in medicine of another university recognised by the Senate for this purpose, provided that:
    • a. the qualification was obtained at least three years previously
    • b. the qualification is recognised for registration by the General Medical Council of the United Kingdom
    • c. the applicant is, at the time of the application, either:
      • i. member of the University’s academic staff or is otherwise engaged in appropriate clinical or scientific work within the Leicestershire area or, in special cases, in any hospital associated with the University’s School of Medicine, or
      • ii. can, in the opinion of the MD Degree Board of Studies, demonstrate a compelling reason why they should be allowed to register with the University as opposed to the university of their original qualification or place of work, and for whom appropriate supervision can be provided.

Exceptionally, the Senate may waive the requirement that the applicant shall be a graduate in medicine of a university. If this requirement is waived the applicant shall be required to hold a qualification recognised for registration by the General Medical Council of the United Kingdom obtained at least five years previously and, at the time of application, be a member of the University’s academic staff or otherwise engaged in appropriate clinical or scientific work within the Leicestershire area or in any hospital associated with the University’s School of Medicine.

English language entry requirement

9.13

Applicants for a research degree programme must satisfy the English language requirement.

9.14

Applicants shall be deemed to have satisfied the English language entry requirement if they are:

  1. a national of, and have completed secondary or tertiary education where the medium of instruction was English in, one or more of the countries specified in Senate Regulation One, 1.12, or
  2. a national of a country other than those specified in 1.12 but who has completed in one or more of those specified countries their secondary education in the national qualification, and/or two years of Bachelors level education, and/or a higher degree, where the medium of instruction was English and provided that no more than three years has elapsed between the date they completed their qualification and the intended start date of research degree programme.

9.15

All other applicants for a research degree programme shall be required to provide evidence that they have successfully completed:

  1. within a period of no more than two years from the intended start date of the research degree programme one of the Secure English Language Tests specified in 9.16 at the level specified for the subject
  2. one or more of the qualifications specified in Senate Regulation One, 1.14 at a level equivalent to the relevant Secure English Language Test score specified in 9.16.

9.16

Applicants seeking to satisfy the English language entry requirement on the basis of the International English Language Testing System (Academic Version) or Pearson Test of English (Academic Version) must have achieved at least the minimum specified overall and component scores:

  1. Band A programmes shall include:
    • a. the degree of PhD or MPhil in the following Departments:
      • Chemistry
      • Computing
      • Engineering
      • Geography Geology and the Environment (Geology)
      • Mathematical Sciences
      • Physics and Astronomy
    • b. applicants for Band A programmes shall be deemed to have satisfied the English language requirement if they have achieved
      • i. a minimum score of 6.0 (IELTS) or 80 (TOEFL) or 56 (PTE) overall, with
      • ii. a minimum score of 5.5 (IELTS) or 20 (TOEFL) or 51 (PTE) in each component
    • c. applicants for Band A programmes who have not met the normal requirements may be made an offer of admission to the research degree programme that is conditional on the successful completion of the University’s English language pre-sessional course D and/or E at the appropriate level
  2. Band B programmes shall include:
    • a. the degree of MD, PsyD, EngD, or DSocSci
    • b. the degree of PhD or MPhil in the following Schools and Departments:
      • Archaeology and Ancient History
      • Arts (Modern Languages)
      • Arts (History of Art and Film)
      • Business (Management)
      • Business (Economics)
      • Cancer Studies
      • Cardiovascular Sciences
      • Criminology
      • Geography Geology and the Environment (Geography)
      • Genetics
      • History, Politics and International Relations
      • Respiratory Sciences
      • Media, Communication and Sociology
      • Medical Education
      • Molecular and Cell Biology
      • Museum Studies
      • Neuroscience, Psychology and Behaviour
    • c. Applicants for Band B programmes shall be deemed to have satisfied the English language requirement if they have achieved:
      • i. a minimum score of 6.5 (IELTS) or 90 (TOEFL) or 61 (PTE) overall, with
      • ii. a minimum score of 5.5 (IELTS) or 20 (TOEFL) or 51 (PTE) in each component.
    • d. applicants for Band B programmes who have not met the normal requirements may be made an offer of admission to the research degree programme that is conditional on the successful completion of the University’s English language pre-sessional course D and/or E at the appropriate level.
  3. Band C programmes shall include:
    • a. The degree of EdD
    • b. the degree of PhD or MPhil in the following Schools and Departments:
      • Arts (English)
      • Education
      • Health Sciences
      • Law
    • c. applicants for Band C programmes shall be deemed to have satisfied the English language requirement if they have achieved
      • i. a minimum score of 7.0 (IELTS) or 100 (TOEFL) or 67 (PTE) overall, with
      • ii. a minimum score of 6.0 (IELTS) or 20 (TOEFL) or 56 (PTE) in each component
    • d. applicants for Band C programmes who have not met the normal requirements may be made an offer of admission to the research degree programme that is conditional on the successful completion of the University’s English language pre-sessional course D and/or E at the appropriate level.
  4. Band D programmes shall include:
    • a. the degree of PhD or MPhil in the following Departments
      • None at this time
    • b. applicants for Band D programmes shall be deemed to have satisfied the English language requirement if they have achieved
      • i. a minimum score of 7.5 (IELTS) or 110 (TOEFL) or 72 (PTE) overall, with
      • ii. a minimum score of 6.5 (IELTS) or 22 (TOEFL) or 61 (PTE) in each component
    • c. applicants for Band D programmes who have not met the normal requirements shall not be able to satisfy the English language requirement on the basis of successful completion of an English language pre-sessional course at the University.
  5. Band E programmes shall include:
    • a. the degree of DClinPsy
    • b. applicants for Band E programmes shall be deemed to have satisfied the English language requirement if they have achieved
      • i. a minimum score of 8.0 (IELTS) or 115 (TOEFL) or 76 (PTE) overall, with
      • ii. a minimum score of 7.5 (IELTS) or 26 (TOEFL) or 72 (PTE) in each component
    • c. applicants for Band E programmes who have not met the normal requirements shall not be able to satisfy the English language requirement on the basis of successful completion of an English language pre-sessional course at the University.

9.17

If there is any doubt about the applicant’s English language ability, the University may require the applicant to achieve a satisfactory score in a recognised English language test or to pass a test of competence set and marked by the English Language Teaching Unit.

9.18

Applicants intending to register for a full-time research degree programme may be required to attend English language classes as a pre-condition of registration and/or to attend such classes alongside the research degree programme.

Accreditation of prior learning

9.19

Accreditation of prior learning is the term used for the recognition of academic achievement prior to an applicant’s admission to a research degree programme at the University.

9.20

If appropriate the Department may recommend that an applicant who has completed a period of research degree registration at another university – but who received no academic qualification for this – should receive equivalent registration credit. Such credit shall normally be for a maximum of one year (full-time) or two years (part-time) against the relevant registration period at the University. The accreditation of prior academic achievement shall be subject to approval from the Dean of the Doctoral College.

9.21

The applicant shall be responsible for applying for recognition of prior academic achievement and for providing all required evidence at the time of application.

Admission decisions

9.22

An assessment shall be made of the applicant’s suitability for the research degree programme. That assessment shall normally be based on:

  1. the applicant’s qualifications and preparedness for research degree level study
  2. the applicant’s personal motivation and likely ability to complete the research degree within the specified maximum registration period
  3. the availability of an appropriate pre-determined research project or the applicant’s ability to provide a research proposal which gives an adequate focus to, and demonstrates the applicant’s knowledge of, the proposed area of research
  4. the availability of appropriate supervisory capacity and material resources
  5. any professional requirements associated with the programme.

The assessment of the applicant’s suitability for a part-time or distance learning research degree programme shall additionally include consideration of the applicant’s likely access to appropriate resources and the Department’s ability to provide remote supervision.

9.23

The applicant shall normally be interviewed before they are permitted to register for a research degree programme and the interview shall normally take place before an offer of admission is made. The Department shall be responsible for interviewing applicants. Interviews shall normally be conducted in person. If that is not possible – for example, where the applicant is not based in the United Kingdom – the interview may be conducted by any appropriate means of communication.

9.24

A decision to make an offer of admission to the degree of PhD, DSocSci, EdD, EngD, PsyD, or MPhil must be endorsed by two members of the Department’s academic staff – normally the proposed first supervisor and the Postgraduate Research Tutor or other member of the programme team. Admissions decisions for the degree of MD must be endorsed by the MD Degree Board of Studies. Admissions decisions for the degree of DClinPsy must be endorsed by two academic members of the DClinPsy programme team.

9.25

A decision to make an offer of admission to a research degree programme must not be made by staff who have or have had a close personal or professional relationship with the applicant or the applicant’s immediate family.

9.26

A decision to make an offer of admission to a research degree programme shall be made by staff who have received training and guidance in the selection and admission of research degree applicants. The Head of Department shall be responsible for ensuring that staff attend such training as is required.

9.27

The applicant may register for the degree of PhD under a split-site arrangement – that is, an arrangement in which the research student shall spend part of the registration period based at another university or research institution. The period based away from the University shall normally be at least twelve months in duration and no more than eighteen months in duration. If such split-site registration is not under a formally agreed collaborative arrangement between the University and the other institution, the prior approval of the Dean of the Doctoral College shall be required before an offer of admission is made.

9.28

The applicant may register for the degree of PhD or MPhil under a practice based arrangement – that is, an arrangement in which the research student shall submit for examination a thesis that comprises both a critical/reflective component and a practice component.

9.29

The formal offer of admission to the degree of PhD, MD, DClinPsy, DSocSci, EdD, EngD, PsyD, or MPhil must be made by the Admissions Office.

9.30

The offer of admission to a research degree programme may, with the approval of the University, be deferred for a period of up to twelve months. The offer of admission shall be withdrawn if the applicant does not register for the research degree programme within twelve months of the start date specified in the offer letter. The University may make a further offer of admission subject to successful reapplication.

Registration

9.31

The research student shall be required to complete a registration process when they commence the research degree programme and shall be formally admitted to the University as a registered student only on satisfactory completion of this process.

9.32

The research student shall be required as a condition of registration to abide by the Senate Regulations and all other regulations and procedures approved and amended from time to time by the University throughout the period of the research degree programme.

Initial registration

9.33

The research student shall commence registration at an appropriate date with the agreement of the Department.

9.34

Once the research student has completed the registration process the initial date of registration cannot be amended.

9.35

On completion of the registration process the research student shall receive a card of membership of the University. When on campus the research student must carry their student card with them at all times and must produce it on request for inspection by any member of the University’s staff or official of the Students’ Union.

9.36

The use of the student card is personal to the individual to whom it is issued and the research student must not allow it to be used by another person, whether a registered student of the University or not. The Doctoral College Office must be notified if the card is lost or stolen.

Research area

9.37

Research students registered for the degree of PhD, MD, PsyD, or MPhil must as soon as possible following initial registration agree with the supervisory team the specific research question(s) to be addressed by the thesis together with a viable research plan for delivering the thesis.

9.38

In some cases the specific research question(s) may be pre-determined. In other cases, agreement on the research question(s) should follow consultation between the research student and the supervisory team; this consultation may begin before an offer of admission has been made and may continue beyond the date of initial registration. Where such consultation is needed, the research question(s) shall normally be agreed within six months of initial registration (MD, PsyD, or full-time PhD or MPhil) or twelve months of initial registration (part-time PhD or MPhil).

9.39

Research students registered for the degree of PhD, MD, PsyD, or MPhil must have agreed the research question(s) and research plan by the time the research student undertakes the probation review. The supervisory team must inform the Head of Department if there are any concerns that this may not be possible.

9.40

Research students registered for other doctoral degree programmes shall develop and agree in accordance with the programme requirements the specific research question(s) to be addressed by the thesis together with a viable research plan for delivering the thesis. In many cases the specific research question(s) and research plan shall be developed through the assessed components of the programme.

9.41

Research students registered for the degree of PhD or MPhil and who will submit a practice based thesis shall normally have agreed the format of the practice component with the supervisory team within six months (full-time) or twelve months (part-time) of initial registration. The format for the practice component must be agreed by the time the research student undertakes the probation review. The supervisory team must inform the Head of Department if there are any concerns that this may not be possible.

Address and residence

9.42

The research student must register their address(es) with the University and must immediately notify the Doctoral College Office of any change of address.

9.43

Research students registered full-time shall normally reside in Leicester or within easy commuting distance of the city.

International student visa requirements

9.44

International research students from outside the European Union and who are registered on a research degree programme requiring attendance on campus shall be required to show evidence of a valid immigration status and to meet the requirements specified in Senate Regulation Four.

Annual re-registration

9.45

Research students undertaking a research degree programme of more than one year in duration shall be required to complete an annual re-registration process.

9.46

Failure to complete the annual re-registration process by the specified deadline shall result in the research student being withdrawn from the research degree programme.

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