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Durham University

Learning and Teaching Handbook



1. The purpose of the Code of Practice is to set out the University's standards for its research degree programmes. All postgraduate research students and their supervisors should be aware of the Code of Practice.

Postgraduate Research Degree Programmes

2. Postgraduate Research Degree Programmes refers to all research based postgraduate programmes offered by Durham University. These are listed within Volume II of the University Calendar, and include research degrees by thesis or composition, as well as integrated PhDs and professional doctorates.

The Education Committee

3. The Education Committee is responsible to Senate for the achievement of the University's agreed aims and objectives in relation to postgraduate provision and related aspects of the student experience. This includes:

(a) university policies and procedures in respect of postgraduate research provision;

(b) university policies and procedures for the assurance of quality and standards of postgraduate research degree programmes, including the monitoring, review and application of the University's Code of Practice on Research Degree Programmes;

(c) university policies and procedures for the quality enhancement of the postgraduate research degree programmes;

(d) university policies and procedures for:

  • the recruitment, selection, admission and induction of postgraduate research students;
  • the supervision of postgraduate research students;
  • the initial review and subsequent progress of research students;
  • the development, management and delivery of postgraduate research and other skills training and responsibility for and oversight of funding to support postgraduate research and other skills training;
  • feedback from research students;
  • assessment and examination;
  • resources for postgraduate degree programmes.

(e) taking action as required when any aspects of quality or standards in any postgraduate research programmes are considered to be at risk;

(f) the oversight of funding to support postgraduate research students;

(g) approval of the duties of Directors of Postgraduate Research.

(h) under delegated responsibility from Senate and within the existing awards framework approved by Senate, approving the introduction of new postgraduate research programmes, including Professional Doctorates and PhDs with Integrated Studies and associated amendments to regulations; the amendment of existing postgraduate research programmes; the withdrawal of postgraduate research programmes. The Committee will report to Senate on all action taken under the powers so delegated.

(i) recommending to Senate approval of the introduction of new postgraduate research awards.

(j) approval of, or recommending to Senate approval of, the introduction or amendments of collaborative provision or dual awards with respect to postgraduate research degree programmes.

4. In carrying out these duties the Committee also:

(a) consults with Postgraduate Faculty Education Committees on matters for which it requires comment from faculties and departments;

(b) refers to Senate any issues of policy which require the approval of Senate and/or which the attention of Senate should be drawn that are not otherwise considered by an alternative committee.

5. Education Committee refers business to its subcommittees, including Quality and Standards Sub-Committee, where appropriate. It appoints working groups and other groups for the purposes of consultation and discussion as it requires from time to time. Education Committee has responsibility for approving changes to the institutional Code of Practice.

The Graduate School

6. The Graduate School is the structure which provides support for postgraduate students, supervisors, examiners and Directors of Postgraduate Research. The Dean of the Postgraduate and Undergraduate Education supports the strategic development of postgraduate education at Durham University. The Dean represents the postgraduate interest on other internal committees and represents the University externally to ensure the University is at the forefront of national initiatives in the postgraduate area.

Chairs of PG FEC

7. The Chairs of Postgraduate Faculty Education Committees are responsible for the quality assurance and development of postgraduate provision in their Faculty. This includes working closely with departmental Directors of Postgraduate Research who are members of the relevant Postgraduate Faculty Education Committee.

The Director of Researcher Development

8. The Director of Researcher Development is responsible for the development and delivery of postgraduate research and other skills training.

Departmental Directors of Postgraduate Research

9. Directors of Postgraduate Research are responsible for promoting and ensuring best practice within their Board of Studies with regard to the selection, admission, enrolment and induction of research students, supervisory arrangements for research students, initial review and subsequent progress of research students, the development of research and other skills for research students and feedback from research students. They are also responsible for overseeing the annual monitoring of research student progress, coordinating the implementation of the University's postgraduate recruitment strategy including departmental management of schemes such as the Doctoral Fellowship scheme and identifying the resources required to support the University's and department's strategy on postgraduate research student recruitment. They, or their nominees, are the departmental representatives on Postgraduate Faculty Education Committees.

The Academic Office

10. The Academic Office provides central administrative support for staff and students in relation to postgraduate matters. Individual sections within the Academic Office with responsibility for postgraduate support include Student Registry, the Scholarships, Student Funding & Student Immigration Office, the Academic Support Office, and the Student Recruitment and Admissions Office.