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Durham University

Learning and Teaching Handbook

8.1.4: Induction

1. The Academic Office and Postgraduate Training Team will provide an Induction programme at the beginning of the Michaelmas and Epiphany terms.

2. The Induction programme includes:

  • general information about the institution and its postgraduate portfolio in the relevant subject(s);
  • the institution's registration, enrolment, appeals and complaints procedures plagiarism procedures, assessment requirements and research degree programme regulations;
  • information about how supervisory arrangements work;
  • the institution's research ethics and codes and those of relevant professional bodies and discipline groups, including general information on intellectual property and intellectual property rights, University regulations on ownership, awareness of commercial considerations, confidentiality agreements and information on where to obtain help and advice;
  • the institution's expectations of the independence and responsibilities of the student;
  • student support and welfare services such as counselling and advice centres;
  • a summary of the facilities that will be made available to the student, including the learning support infrastructure;
  • relevant health and safety and other legislative information;
  • where appropriate, a brief outline of the proposed research programme(s), together with the normal length of study and the facilities that will be made available to the student;
  • reference to the challenges that will typically face research students during the course of their studies and where guidance may be sought in the event of difficulties;
  • any opportunity for the student representative body to introduce themselves, including specific postgraduate representation;
  • social activity, including that provided specifically for postgraduates;
  • opportunities for postgraduates to be represented by the student body;
  • details about opportunities and requirements for skills development.

3. The Academic Office will make available on the web, information provided at the Induction programme.

4. The Academic Office will provide all new students with a postgraduate information pack at the start of their studies.

5. The Academic Office will record attendance at the Induction programme.

6. The Academic Office will collect feedback from students and other stakeholders on the Induction programme which will be used to evaluate the programme. A report on this evaluation will be considered by the Education Committee.

7. The University requires all academic departments to have in place an agreed induction programme for new students, attendance at which should be monitored.

8. The departmental Induction programme should include:

  • the academic standards of the programme;
  • standards and skills as outcomes of the programme including the learning outcomes of any taught modules;
  • the curriculum including the skills training programme and the research element;
  • methods of teaching and learning;
  • plagiarism;
  • assessment;
  • regulations governing progression;
  • subject related research codes and ethics and IPR;
  • programme related health and safety requirements.

9. The University requires all supervisory teams, at an early supervisor meeting, no later than three months from the start of supervised study, to have completed an Induction with each of their new students.

10. The supervisory Induction should include the completion of a checklist which is filed in the student's departmental file and the completion of a Training Needs Analysis.

Students at a Distance

11. Students who are not resident at Durham – either part-time students or full-time students who have been granted a concession to reside elsewhere – will normally be expected to attend induction events, and must be provided with comparable induction information if they have been exempted from attendance at such events.

12. As part of the induction process for students studying at a distance, a format and frequency of supervisory meetings must be agreed between the student and supervisory team, and departments should confirm either that students will be able to attend departmental events (e.g. seminar series), or have alternative access to appropriate research culture.