Code of Practice for Supervisors and Research Students - August 2021 - The ...

 
Code of Practice for Supervisors and Research Students - August 2021 - The ...
Code of Practice
for Supervisors and
Research Students

                      August 2021
Code of Practice for Supervisors and Research Students - August 2021 - The ...
Code of Practice for Supervisors and Research Students - August 2021 - The ...
Code of Practice
for Supervisors and Research Students
Introduction .........................................................................................................................................4

1. Roles and responsibilities............................................................................................................5
          1.1			   Students’ responsibilities..................................................................................................5
          1.2			   Supervisors’ responsibilities.............................................................................................6
          1.3			 The College Committee....................................................................................................8

2. Student-Supervisor relationship..................................................................................................9
          2.1			 Contact and supervisory meetings...................................................................................9
          2.2			 What happens if the supervisory relationship breaks down...........................................10

3. Annual progression review........................................................................................................11
          3.1			 Annual progression review process................................................................................11
          3.2			 Problems with progress..................................................................................................13

4. Thesis preparation and assessment.........................................................................................14
          4.1			   The thesis.......................................................................................................................14
          4.2			   Thesis preparation..........................................................................................................14
          4.3			   Thesis submission..........................................................................................................15
          4.4			   Thesis assessment.........................................................................................................15
          4.5			   Thesis corrections...........................................................................................................17
          4.6			   Thesis resubmission.......................................................................................................18
          4.7			 Final thesis submission..................................................................................................18

5. Absences and concessions.......................................................................................................19
          5.1			 Leave of absence...........................................................................................................19
          5.2			 Interruptions of study .....................................................................................................20
          5.3			 Extensions of study........................................................................................................20
          5.4			 Adverse circumstances affecting studies and assessment............................................21
          5.5			 Withdrawal from studies.................................................................................................22
          5.6			 Exclusion from studies....................................................................................................22
          5.7			   Vacation leave................................................................................................................23
          5.8			 Student maternity and parental leave.............................................................................23

6. Other support and information..................................................................................................24
          6.1			   Resolving problems........................................................................................................24
          6.2			   Programme handbooks..................................................................................................24
          6.3			 Student support services................................................................................................25
          6.4			 Wellbeing support services ............................................................................................28
          6.5			 Research and skills training and support for students ...................................................28
          6.6			 Training and support for supervisors..............................................................................29
          6.7			 Students working during study.......................................................................................29
          6.8			 Fees and funding............................................................................................................30
          6.9			 Degree and assessment regulations and other University policies................................30
          6.10 Student appeals..............................................................................................................31
          6.11 Complaints......................................................................................................................31
          6.12 Student conduct..............................................................................................................31
          6.13 Links to useful resources................................................................................................32

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Code of Practice for Supervisors and Research Students - August 2021 - The ...
Code of Practice for Supervisors and Research Students

    Introduction
    The University aims to give research students an
    exceptional and distinctive experience that prepares
    them to make significant contributions to knowledge
    during and beyond their period of study.

    This Code provides guidance and                through Doctoral Training Centres), some
    practical advice for research students         of the arrangements for supervision,
    to assist them in maximising their             assessment and support may differ from
    potential. It also provides guidance and       those described in the Code.
    practical advice to support supervisors in
    undertaking their crucial roles.               The Code is not part of the University’s
                                                   formal regulatory framework. It should
    Since the University has a diverse             be read in conjunction with the formal
    research community with a variety of           requirements set out in the University’s
    practices, this Code highlights common         Postgraduate Degree Regulations,
    features and should be read along              Postgraduate Assessment Regulations
    with School and programme-specific             for Research Degrees, and other relevant
    information.                                   University policies and regulations, many
                                                   of which are referenced in the Code.
    Most aspects of the Code are relevant to
    distance programmes, however where
    different arrangements apply these will
    be highlighted in the relevant programme
    handbooks. The Code focuses primarily
    on students and supervisors of Doctor
    of Philosophy (PhD) and Master of
    Philosophy (MPhil) programmes and
    many aspects are also relevant to MSc
    by Research programmes. However
    some MSc by Research programmes
    may have different arrangements
    for supervision and assessment and
    these will be highlighted in the relevant
    programme handbook. Where students
    are studying on jointly delivered research
    degree programmes (for example

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Code of Practice for Supervisors and Research Students - August 2021 - The ...
Code of Practice for Supervisors and Research Students

1. Roles and
   responsibilities
At the University of Edinburgh, each student is
supervised by a team of at least two supervisors;
a Principal (or “Lead”) Supervisor, and either a
Co-Supervisor or Assistant Supervisor, who are
appointed by the College.

The nature of the research project and         Research students have particular
the best interests of the student will         responsibilities for:
determine the makeup of the supervisory
team and the key responsibilities of each      The research project
member of the supervision team must be
agreed by the team at the beginning of         • Fulfilling the requirements of their
the student’s programme.                         degree programme (PhD, MPhil, MSc
                                                 by Research or taught professional
However the responsibilities are                 doctorate) including any requirements
distributed, all supervisors are expected        for annual progression review.
to take an active role in supervision and
all have a responsibility towards the          • Taking advantage of the facilities and
student.                                         supervision offered by the University.

                                               • Working as a professional,
                                                 independent researcher accountable
1.1 Students’                                    for the development of their own
responsibilities                                 research.

All students are expected to comply with       • Maintaining ethical standards in the
the University’s policies, regulations           design, conduct and reporting of
and procedures which along with their            research.
programme handbook, other programme            • Working diligently and effectively
information and the terms and conditions         throughout their studies.
of admission, form the contract between
the student and University during their        • Following the rules of any other
studies.                                         university, Associated Institution (see
                                                 1.2.4), company or other organisation
University Student Contract                      that they are studying with as part of
                                                 their programme.

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Code of Practice for Supervisors and Research Students - August 2021 - The ...
Code of Practice for Supervisors and Research Students

    The thesis                                     Training and development
    The thesis may take various different          • Taking advantage of available
    formats, such as a portfolio (see                research skills training.
    4.1). Throughout this document, the
    term “thesis” is used to represent the         • Reflecting on their broader
    assessment submission.                           transferable skills and professional
                                                     development, and engaging with
    • Submitting a thesis, or portfolio              appropriate training opportunities.
      representing the student’s research
      and findings. The programme                  • Participating in any training that is a
      handbook will give details on what             required part of the programme.
      is expected to be submitted for
      assessment.                                  Resolving problems
    • Producing, on time, a thesis that meets      • Actively seeking advice and help from
      the criteria set out in the Postgraduate       the sources identified in this Code if
      Degree Regulations and Postgraduate            problems arise.
      Assessment Regulations for Research          • Notifying their Principal Supervisor,
      Degrees.                                       or other relevant staff, of any special
    • Taking full responsibility for the quality     circumstances affecting their studies or
      of the thesis submitted for assessment         assessment (see 5.4).
      (while the supervisor may advise
      on whether they think work is ready
      for submission, their opinion carries        1.2 Supervisors’
      no guarantee of success in the
      assessment).
                                                   responsibilities
                                                   1.2.1 Principal/Lead Supervisor
    Supervision
    • Making themselves available at               Role
      times agreed and maintaining regular         The Principal Supervisor, sometimes
      contact with their supervisors.              referred to as Lead Supervisor in a Co-
                                                   Supervisory team (see 1.2.2 below), has
    • Producing a record of each key
                                                   the main responsibility for supervision
      supervision meeting and forwarding it
                                                   arrangements and guidance for the
      to their supervisor for agreement.
                                                   student throughout their programme of
    • Discussing any proposed employment           study.
      with their supervisor to ensure it does
                                                   This includes taking overall responsibility
      not impede the successful completion
                                                   for:
      of the students’ programme of study.
                                                   • The administrative aspects of
                                                     supervision, for example submitting
                                                     requests for leave of absence or
                                                     interruption of studies and ensuring
                                                     minimum contact requirements are met.

                                                   • Ensuring appropriate approval for
                                                     any co-supervision arrangements is
                                                     obtained from College.

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Code of Practice for Supervisors and Research Students - August 2021 - The ...
Code of Practice for Supervisors and Research Students

• Ensuring the student’s progress is           1.2.4 Supervisors in Associated
  reviewed for each year of study.             Institutions
• Providing advice on pastoral support         The University recognises as “Associated
  as well as academic matters.                 Institutions” a range of non-commercial
                                               and non-degree-awarding organisations
• Ensuring the student’s intellectual          with which it collaborates on teaching,
  property is respected.                       research and services to the community.
• Leading on initial and ongoing               Staff working in Associated Institutions
  discussions with the supervisory team        acting as supervisors for the University’s
  to negotiate and agree on roles and          students have the same responsibilities
  responsibilities for each team member.       as University of Edinburgh supervisors,
                                               and the same requirement to attend the
• Ensuring the student is aware of             University’s supervisor briefing sessions.
  the responsibilities of individual
  supervisory team members.                    If the Principal Supervisor is from an
                                               Associated Institution, then the University
• Communication within the supervisory         Supervisor and School Postgraduate
  team.                                        Director are responsible for:

                                               • Ensuring that the Associated Institution
1.2.2 Co-Supervisor                              Principal Supervisor has read the
Role                                             University’s regulations and policies.
A co-supervision model may be chosen           • Ensuring student progress is
when it is clear that the student’s work         monitored in line with the University’s
involves interdisciplinary research. When        regulations and policies.
this model is chosen, the Co-Supervisor
will play a major role in supervising
                                               1.2.5 Responsibilities of the
the research project. The division of
responsibilities between the Principal or
                                               supervisory team
Lead Supervisor and the Co-Supervisor          The supervisory team should meet
must be agreed upon at the outset of the       as soon as possible once supervisory
co-supervisory arrangement.                    arrangements are confirmed. At the first
                                               meeting, the team should discuss the
1.2.3 Assistant Supervisor                     following responsibilities and decide how
                                               to ensure that all of them are covered.
Role
                                               • Introducing the student to the subject
The Assistant Supervisor’s role                  area, its facilities and procedures,
involves fewer responsibilities than             and to other research students
the Principal Supervisor, but in some            and relevant staff in the School.
cases may include closer day-to-day              For distance PhD students these
involvement in the student’s research.           introductions may be virtual.
Assistant Supervisors may also provide
complementary expertise, such as               • Advising the student on the key
specialised knowledge of a particular            milestones of the degree, drawing
technique, or depending on the work              up a research plan and timetable for
context, day-to-day supervision in some          producing the thesis.
cases.

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Code of Practice for Supervisors and Research Students - August 2021 - The ...
Code of Practice for Supervisors and Research Students

    • Advising the student on research
      ethics and integrity, including obtaining
      ethical approval.

    • Advising the student on facilities
      required for the research and
      supporting the student in accessing
      these.

    • Advising the student on how to
      prepare for annual progression review
      and the viva voce examination.

    • Agreeing the frequency of supervision
      meetings and the means of recording
      meetings (see 2.1).

    • Organising regular meetings to discuss
      all matters relating to the student’s
      research, including feedback on              The supervisors should revisit the
      written work.                                distribution of supervisory responsibilities
                                                   again at the student’s annual progression
    • Advising on the student’s professional       review and at other times as necessary.
      development needs at the start of
      the programme and reviewing these
      throughout the student’s studies.            1.3 The College
    • Encouraging students to develop              Committee
      transferable skills and to attend
      appropriate training courses where           Each College has a specific committee
      possible.                                    with responsibility for postgraduate
                                                   research matters. The committee’s name
    • Advising the student on where to find        may vary by College, but it will have
      appropriate sources of additional            overall responsibility for postgraduate
      support and signposting University           research supervision, annual
      student support services details             progression review decisions (based on
      included in section 6.3.                     recommendations from Schools) and
                                                   authorising periods of leave or changes
    • Ensuring the student is aware of
                                                   to study periods. In practice, Colleges
      relevant health and safety policies and
                                                   may delegate some of these decision-
      procedures.
                                                   making responsibilities to Schools (for
    • Encouraging the student to become            example the Postgraduate Director).
      an active member of the research             The College Committee also acts as the
      community, for example by advising           Board of Examiners for postgraduate
      on attendance at relevant conferences        research degree awards. Throughout this
      and supporting the student in seeking        document the term “College Committee”
      funding for such events.                     is used to refer to all these roles.

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Code of Practice for Supervisors and Research Students - August 2021 - The ...
Code of Practice for Supervisors and Research Students

2. Student-Supervisor
   relationship
The student-supervisor relationship is vital to all
research degrees. Therefore close contact between
supervisors and students is essential.

Respect, trust, confidence and                 If the Principal Supervisor is absent
fairness are essential elements of             for more than six consecutive weeks,
the student-supervisor relationship.           the College will ensure alternative
Most interpersonal problems between            supervision arrangements are in place.
students and supervisors can be avoided
if students and supervisors contribute         Agreeing the purpose and
responsibly and professionally to their
                                               frequency of supervisory meetings
working relationship by being respectful,
courteous, punctual and conscientious.         Students must maintain contact with
                                               their supervisor as required and at
The University’s Dignity and Respect           least twice in every three month period.
policy promotes a positive working and         It is important that both student and
studying culture which every student and       supervisory team agree, at the start of
member of staff contributes to and within      the programme, how often meetings will
which they can fulfil their potential.         be held and the purpose of meetings.
Dignity and Respect Policy                     It is important that students can easily
                                               contact their supervisors for advice, so
                                               supervisors may also be available for
2.1 Contact and                                additional non-scheduled meetings.
                                               Students can initiate meetings but
supervisory meetings                           supervisors need to ensure that the
                                               minimum contact requirements are met.
Students rely on contact with their
supervisors for guidance and intellectual      The amount of contact between student
input to their research. Supervision           and supervisors will vary depending on
meetings provide time for discussing all       the length of the programme, how the
matters relating to the student’s research     research is being done and how much
and development, including feedback            support the student needs. For example,
on written work. Meetings and regular          there may be more meetings in the first
contact may take place face-to-face or         few months when the research project is
online.                                        being defined.

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Code of Practice for Supervisors and Research Students - August 2021 - The ...
Code of Practice for Supervisors and Research Students

     Sometimes supervision will be at
     distance, for example if the student is
                                                    2.2 What happens
     working away from Edinburgh or is on a         if the supervisory
     recognised distance learning programme.
     The supervisory team and the student
                                                    relationship breaks
     will need to make sure arrangements are        down
     in place to support distance supervision,
                                                    If the supervisory relationship seems
     for example internet access and consider
                                                    to have broken down, students
     any time differences at the student’s
                                                    or supervisors can contact their
     location.
                                                    Postgraduate Adviser or School
                                                    Postgraduate Director. If they cannot
     Keeping records of supervisory                 resolve the problem then the School
     meetings                                       Postgraduate Director or the student
     Recording supervisory meetings helps           can contact the Secretary or Chair of the
     the student and supervisory team keep          College Committee. If there are problems
     track of actions and decisions. Therefore,     with the supervisory relationship then
     students should provide their Principal        University staff will respect confidentially
     Supervisor with a written note including:      and limit disclosures to as few colleagues
                                                    as necessary to resolve the problem.
     • The date and purpose of the meeting.
                                                    If there appears to be a breakdown in
     • Any problems identified.                     the student-supervisor relationship and
                                                    problems are not able to be resolved
     • Action points.
                                                    locally, both the supervisor and the
                                                    student should consider mediation.
                                                    Mediation is a voluntary process,
                                                    however the University will always try to
                                                    resolve conflict in a positive way. That
                                                    means that the parties who are in conflict
                                                    should give informed consideration to
                                                    mediation as a way of resolving the
                                                    conflict. Schools can request mediation
                                                    from the College which can contact
                                                    the University’s accredited mediator in
                                                    Human Resources for advice.

                                                    Support for students experiencing
                                                    problems with the supervisory
                                                    relationship is available from the
                                                    Students’ Association’s Advice Place.

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Code of Practice for Supervisors and Research Students

3. Annual progression
   review
Keeping on track with research can be challenging
for students. Annual progression review meetings
provide an opportunity to monitor and support
students in maximising their chance of successfully
completing on time.

For students to benefit fully from annual
progression reviews it is important that
                                               3.1 Annual progression
supervisors provide constructive criticism     review process
about the student’s work.

Annual progression reviews provide a           Timescale
formal record of how the research project      The first review takes place within
and thesis are going and recognition           nine to 12 months of matriculation. By
of student achievements. They also             then students will have independently
offer a structured opportunity to discuss      produced an identifiable body of work that
students’ professional development and         can be assessed.
career aims, and identify any training
needs.                                         Progress is then assessed annually until
                                               thesis submission (or more frequently
                                               if recommended by the Postgraduate
                                               Director for an individual student - see
                                               below). The timescales are the same for
                                               full and part-time students.

                                               Process
                                               • The annual review process is
                                                 supported by an online system which
                                                 students can access via the MyEd
                                                 portal and staff via the EUCLID
                                                 system.

                                               • The process begins when the student
                                                 is notified by a system-generated
                                                 email that their annual review form
                                                 report is ready to complete. Once the
                                                 student has completed their part, the
                                                 supervisors complete their sections.

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Code of Practice for Supervisors and Research Students

     • The student prepares a presentation          What is reviewed
       or report, including a forward plan of
                                                    Programme handbooks will give
       their work, before the meeting, with
                                                    information on annual progression
       help from the supervisor(s) if needed.
                                                    review arrangements but in addition to
     • The review will be conducted by              discussing progress on the student’s
       a panel which includes all the               thesis, some of the things that reviews
       supervisory team and may include             may include are:
       one or more people appointed by the
                                                    • A timetable for progress agreed by the
       School.
                                                      student and supervisory team.
     • The student attends a review meeting
                                                    • A record of whether deadlines have
       where they may need to give an oral
                                                      been met.
       presentation and the panel will review
       the student’s presentation or report.        • The results of any taught elements of
       (Students studying at distance may             the programme.
       choose to attend annual progression
       review meetings in person. If this is        • The student’s report on any
       not possible meetings may take place           programme of skills training they
       online.)                                       have undertaken to support their
                                                      research and any transferable skills
     • The panel will decide whether they             development they have undertaken.
       think the student can progress to their
       next year, and will provide the student
                                                    Reviewing supervision
       with feedback.
                                                    arrangements
     • The supervisors will advise the              Sometimes a student’s research changes
       School Postgraduate Director (or             direction and may move away from
       Head of the Graduate School)                 the supervisors’ expertise. The annual
       regarding the formal progression             progression review lets supervisors
       recommendation for submission to the         consider their own competence to
       College Committee for its approval.          deal with any new research area. It
       The student, supervisors, reviewer           also provides an opportunity for the
       and School Postgraduate Director,            supervisory team to revisit the distribution
       or Head of Graduate School, then             of supervisory responsibility. If different
       sign-off the online report before the        expertise is needed to support the
       supervisors’ and Directors’ progression      student, the School can recommend a
       recommendation is submitted to the           change in supervisors to the College
       College Committee for its approval           Committee.
       (students cannot participate in the
       progression decision-making process).
                                                    Guidance and regulations
     • If the panel identifies concerns about
                                                    Guidance for students on completing
       a student’s progress following any
                                                    their online annual progression review is
       review, then it can recommend several
                                                    available on Student Systems’ website.
       different ways forward (see 3.2).
                                                    Guidance on postgraduate research
                                                    annual progression review form

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Code of Practice for Supervisors and Research Students

Guidance for supervisors on the annual         a student is not making satisfactory
progression review system and their role       progress, then the Postgraduate
is available on Student Systems’ website.      Director or Head of Graduate School, in
                                               consultation with the supervisors may
PGR Supervision                                recommend one of the following:
The regulations on annual progression          • Deferment of a decision (part-time
review, including the recommendations            students’ first year review only).
that can be made following a review,
are in the Postgraduate Assessment             • That a further (repeat) review takes
Regulations for Research Degrees.                place within three months.

Postgraduate Assessment Regulations            • Registration for a different
for Research Degrees                             postgraduate research or taught
                                                 degree.

                                               • Exclusion from study (this option is
3.2 Problems with                                rarely used).
progress                                       Supervisors will provide students with a
Postgraduate research study is                 written explanation of their assessment in
challenging and sometimes students             these cases.
may experience problems making
                                               The annual progression review may
progress. To help support students, it
                                               occasionally record serious problems,
is important for supervisors to be open
                                               or recommend exclusion from study.
about any difficulties they foresee with
                                               If the supervisors and Director are
successful completion. There are various
                                               recommending exclusion, the College
options available to support students
                                               will consider the recommendations in
experiencing problems with progress
                                               line with the University’s Procedure for
and University student support services
                                               Withdrawal and Exclusion from Study
may be able to help with non-academic
                                               (see Section 5.6).
problems.
                                               Postgraduate Assessment Regulations
A supervisor who thinks that progress has
                                               for Research Degrees
been consistently unsatisfactory should
discuss the problem with the student and       University Procedure for withdrawal and
follow this up with a written record of the    exclusion from study
discussion for the student. Unsatisfactory
progress will also be noted in annual
reports, and flagged for remedial action.

If a student is having difficulties making
progress with their progamme of study,
this should be identified during the
annual progression review. If the annual
progression review panel identifies that

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Code of Practice for Supervisors and Research Students

     4. Thesis preparation
        and assessment
     Writing up and submitting the thesis in line with
     the timescales set out in the Postgraduate Degree
     Regulations or progamme handbook should be the
     priority in a student’s final year.

     4.1 The thesis                                 Additional guidance on some specific
                                                    aspects of the thesis format and
     Students must submit a thesis                  presentation, such as the requirement
     representing their research and findings.      for a lay summary, completing the signed
     Some submissions will be in alternative        declaration, including publications in the
     formats to the traditional thesis. The         thesis and thesis binding requirements
     Postgraduate Degree Regulations and            and electronic formats is available on the
     programme handbook specify any further         University website.
     requirements for designs, composition,
     artworks or performances and their             Academic policies and regulations for
     display, presentation and documentation.       research students

                                                    More information on typical milestones
                                                    and support in preparing the thesis is
     4.2 Thesis preparation                         available on the Institute for Academic
                                                    Development website.
     In preparation for thesis submission,
     student and supervisor should agree a          Writing up your PhD
     timetable for completing the thesis.

     The maximum thesis length is set out in
     the Postgraduate Degree Regulations.
     While the University’s regulations do not
     stipulate a minimum length, Schools or
     Colleges may have additional guidance
     on expectations which supervisors will be
     able to advise on.

     Thesis regulations including notice
     of intention to submit, format,
     previously published material and the
     signed declaration are set out in the
     Postgraduate Assessment Regulations
     for Research Degrees.

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Code of Practice for Supervisors and Research Students

Thesis requirements                            Additional information
The criteria for the award of research         More information on thesis submission,
degrees as set out in the Postgraduate         including thesis submission forms, is
Degree Regulations or otherwise agreed         available on the University website.
by the Senate Education Committee are
that the thesis must:                          Doctoral thesis submission

• Be the student’s own work, except            The University’s Postgraduate Degree
  where indicated throughout the               Regulations
  thesis and summarised clearly on the
  declarations page of the thesis, and
  must not have been presented for any         4.3 Thesis submission
  other degree except as specified on          Students should complete a Notice of
  the declarations page.                       Intention to Submit form, along with a
• Present a coherent body of work.             thesis abstract and Access to Thesis
                                               and Publication of Abstract form at least
• Make an original and significant             two months prior to submission. Pre-
  contribution to knowledge in the field       submission forms are submitted to the
  of study.                                    College Office. Once the thesis is ready
                                               for submission, the student presents it
• Relate particular research projects to
                                               digitally to the College Office including the
  the general body of knowledge in the
                                               abstract and lay summary. Supervisors
  field and show adequate knowledge of
                                               and Graduate Schools will be able to
  relevant literature.
                                               advise students how to submit their
• Demonstrate critical judgement of the        thesis. Thesis submission forms are also
  student’s own work and that of other         available online.
  scholars in the field.
                                               Doctoral thesis submission
• Present the results of the research in a
  critical and scholarly way.

• Contain material worthy of publication.
                                               4.4 Thesis assessment
                                               Assessment regulations, including
• Demonstrate that any publications
                                               examiner roles and responsibilities,
  included in the thesis are the students
                                               conduct of assessment, thesis regulations
  own work, except where indicated
                                               and assessment decisions are set
  throughout the thesis and summarised
                                               out in the Postgraduate Assessment
  clearly on the declarations page.
                                               Regulations for Research Degrees.
• Be understandable to a scholar in the
                                               The University’s Postgraduate
  same field.
                                               Assessment Regulations for Research
• Be presented in a clear, consistent and      Degrees
  accessible format.
                                               All research degrees (apart from MSc
The Institute for Academic Development         by Research) are assessed in two
provides more information and advice on        stages; the initial report by the examiners
writing up your thesis.                        followed by an oral exam or viva voca,
                                               often referred to as the “viva”.
Writing up your PhD

                                                                                               15
Code of Practice for Supervisors and Research Students

     Each thesis is assessed by at least one        The viva
     External and one Internal Examiner, who
                                                    The viva, is normally held within three
     are appointed by the College. Internal
                                                    months of thesis submission, however the
     Examiners are members of University
                                                    exact date will depend on:
     staff. External Examiners are from
     outside the University and have specialist     • When the Notice of Intention to Submit
     knowledge relevant to the thesis.                form is submitted by the student.

                                                    • When the thesis is submitted by the
     Examiners’ initial report                        student.
     Before the viva, the examiners are asked
                                                    • How long it takes to select and appoint
     to assess the thesis on the grounds set
                                                      examiners.
     out in the regulations and as part of their
     report to consider:                            • How long the examiners require to
                                                      examine the thesis.
     • Is the thesis an original work that
       makes a significant contribution to          • When everyone involved is available
       knowledge in or understanding of the           to meet for the oral examination,
       field of study?                                including any visa restrictions on the
                                                      student’s availability.
     • Does the thesis contain material
       worthy of publication?                       The examiners and the student attend the
                                                    viva. The Internal Examiner is responsible
     • Does the thesis demonstrate adequate
                                                    for ensuring the arrangements for the
       knowledge of the field of study and
                                                    exam are made and for chairing the
       relevant literature?
                                                    exam. Sometimes a non-examining
     • Does the thesis show the exercise of         chair will be appointed and the Internal
       critical judgement with regard to both       Examiner will notify the student if this is
       the student’s work and that of other         the case. The role of the non-examining
       scholars in the same general field?          chair is included in the Postgraduate
                                                    Assessment Regulations for Research
     • Is the presentation and style of the         Degrees. The examiners may use the
       thesis satisfactory?                         viva to establish a student’s knowledge
                                                    of their field of research, to establish the
                                                    extent of any collaboration and to confirm
                                                    that the work is the student’s own.

                                                    The viva is usually held in Edinburgh, but
                                                    where necessary the College Committee
                                                    may approve a remote viva by video link.

                                                    University information on PhD by
                                                    Research oral examinations by video link

16
Code of Practice for Supervisors and Research Students

Examiner recommendations                       4.5 Thesis corrections
At the end of the viva, the examiners may,
                                               The Internal Examiner will certify
if they have agreed a recommendation,
                                               corrections and the External Examiner
indicate their recommendation to the
                                               may also ask to see corrections before
student. It is important to note that
                                               the degree is awarded.
this recommendation is not final and
is subject to approval by the College
Committee, and examiners will make this        Minor corrections
clear to the student. Possible examiner        After the viva, the examiners may ask
recommendations after the viva:                students to make minor corrections to the
a) Award PhD/Doctorate                         thesis. These may be editorial corrections
                                               or to address minor weaknesses before
b) Minor corrections needed (see 4.5)          the award is confirmed. Corrections
                                               will need to be submitted within three
c) Additional oral examination needed –
                                               months (or four if a further oral exam is
   no further work on the thesis required,
                                               recommended).
   or stated minor corrections (see 4.5)

d) Additional work on the thesis – no          Additional work
   oral re-examination needed –
   Resubmission for PhD/Doctorate              After the viva, the examiners may ask
   (see 4.5)                                   students to carry out additional work on
                                               the thesis, which may require further
e) Substantial Work on Thesis and              supervision. These corrections, which
   Oral Re-Examination Needed –                will be stipulated by the examiners, will
   Resubmission for PhD/Doctorate (see         entail more work than is required for
   4.6)                                        minor corrections. The examiners will set
                                               the period within which this work must be
f) Award MPhil
                                               submitted, but submission will normally
g) Award MPhil following Minor                 be within six months.
   Corrections (see 4.6)

h) Substantial Work on Thesis Needed
   before Resubmission and oral
   examination for MPhil (see 4.6)

i) Award MSc by Research

j) Fail

                                                                                            17
Code of Practice for Supervisors and Research Students

     4.6 Thesis                                     4.7 Final thesis
     resubmission                                   submission
     Following the viva, the examiners may          After students have successfully
     ask students to carry out further work on      completed their thesis assessment, they
     the thesis and to resubmit it for the same     must submit the final electronic copy
     or a different degree. If resubmission for     of their thesis to the College Office. An
     a different degree is recommended, the         electronic copy must also be deposited
     examiners may require minor corrections        with the Library. More information on final
     (see 4.5) or more substantial work on          thesis submission is available from the
     the thesis. Where more substantial work        College Office. Information on electronic
     is required the examiners will stipulate       submission is available from the Library.
     what is needed and set a period for
     resubmission. Supervisors will guide           How to submit the final version of your
     students through the necessary steps           PhD thesis
     to meet the examiners’ requirements
     and continue to provide supervision as
     needed.

     Students will get a clear written statement
     from the examiners, approved by the
     College Committee, of what revisions are
     required.

     The examiners will assess the
     resubmitted thesis against the written
     statement on re-examination, and will not
     introduce any new criticisms of previously
     examined material.

     The College Office will be able to advise
     on the resubmission process.

18
Code of Practice for Supervisors and Research Students

5. Absences and
   concessions
Sometimes students may need to have time away
from the University or from their studies.

This section gives advice on ways the             and receiving feedback, and for
University can support students through           supervisory meetings, established by
a variety of situations that may impact on        the supervisors and student.
their study.
                                               • Be consistent with any funder
                                                 requirements.
5.1 Leave of absence                           Further information on how leave of
                                               absence is approved, and student
Students studying on campus in
                                               support arrangements during leave,
Edinburgh sometimes need to conduct
                                               is available from the College Office.
part of their research away from
                                               Leave of absence does not apply to
Edinburgh. This is referred to as a leave
                                               students on recognised distance learning
of absence. Students who want a leave
                                               programmes.
of absence of 30 calendar days or more
should talk to their Principal Supervisor,
who will be able to advise on obtaining        Leave of absence for international
permission.                                    students
A leave of absence should:                     Tier 4/Student visa holders are normally
                                               expected to carry out all of their study on
• Benefit the research programme.              campus in Edinburgh. However, in some
                                               cases they may need to study at another
• Not be detrimental to the research
                                               location; for compulsory and optional
  and the student’s development
                                               activities related to their programme. In
  and participation in the University’s
                                               these cases, students should apply for
  academic community.
                                               a leave of absence. The University will
• Not conflict with any other requirement      continue to sponsor student visas during
  of the student’s programme of study.         the leave of absence, providing it can
                                               maintain sponsor licence duties, and
• Not conflict with any obligations for the    student Tier 4/Student visas will remain
  student to be available for on-campus        valid. Leave of absence for reasons that
  activity.                                    are not directly related to studies are not
• Have a working timetable agreed by           permitted under the conditions of Tier 4/
  supervisors and student.                     Student visas. Advice is available from
                                               the Student Immigration Service.
• Be accompanied by an agreed
  method for submitting written work

                                                                                             19
Code of Practice for Supervisors and Research Students

     5.2 Interruptions of                           To request an extension:

     study                                          • The Principal Supervisor submits the
                                                      request.
     Authorised interruption of study, usually
     referred to as “interruption”, is available    • The academic reasons for the
     for students who are unable to study for         extension, are stated in the request.
     a while. This may be because of health         • A plan of work towards submitting the
     or family problems for example, and              thesis, with milestones and specific
     students should notify their supervisor          dates agreed with the Principal
     as soon as the need for an interruption          Supervisor is included in the request.
     arises. Following discussion with their
     supervisor, students are responsible           Important things to consider when
     for completing and submitting a form to        requesting an extension:
     request the interruption. Interruptions will
                                                    • It must be made before the end of the
     be authorised when there is good reason
                                                      student’s maximum submission date
     and examples of what is considered good
                                                      (for example, within four years for a
     reason are given in the University policy
                                                      full-time PhD).
     on authorised interruptions of study.
                                                    • It may have an impact on Tier 4/
     Information on how to request an
                                                      Student visa holders.
     interruption, important considerations and
     where to find further advice are available     • It may have an impact on student
     in the Authorised Interruption of Study          funding.
     Policy.
                                                    • It may have an impact on council
     University policy on Authorised                  tax (for example discounts and
     Interruption of Study                            exemptions).

                                                    • There are restrictions to the amount
     5.3 Extensions of                                of time that can be requested for
                                                      extension – these are set out in the
     study                                            Postgraduate Degree Regulations.
     The University expects that the thesis         • Additional fees will be incurred if an
     will be submitted for assessment within          extension of study request is approved
     the period stated in the programme               – see the University’s tuition fees
     handbook. Extensions to this period are          policy.
     available in exceptional circumstances
     and must be agreed by the Postgraduate         For further information and advice:
     Director and approved by the College           For Tier 4/Student visa holders – Student
     Committee. For example, an extension           Immigration Service
     may be available if unforeseen difficulties
     have held up the research or completion        The Advice Place – free, impartial advice
     of the thesis. A strong case is required       for students
     and must be supported by the Principal
                                                    University Postgraduate Degree
     Supervisor.
                                                    Regulations

20
Code of Practice for Supervisors and Research Students

5.4 Adverse                                    Examples of circumstances that might
                                               have a significant impact include:
circumstances affecting                        • Significant short-term physical illness
studies and assessment                           or injury.
Sometimes students will experience             • Significant short-term mental ill-health.
exceptional circumstances beyond their         • A long-term or chronic physical
control that significantly impact on their       health condition, which has recently
research performance, attendance or              worsened temporarily or permanently.
assessment submissions.
                                               • A long-term or chronic mental
The University has a Special                     health condition, which has recently
Circumstances Policy which applies to            worsened temporarily or permanently.
taught components of a programme.
                                               • Death or serious illness of a person
However, for most postgraduate
                                                 with whom the student has a close
research students, the University offers
                                                 relationship.
other support mechanisms if they are
experiencing circumstances that affect         • A long-term relationship breakdown,
their ability to engage with their studies.      such as a marriage.

Students should discuss any                    • Exceptional (non-routine) caring
circumstances affecting their ability            responsibilities.
to engage with their studies with their        • Experience of sexual harassment or
Principal Supervisor first.                      assault.
Support for students with adverse              • Experience of other types of
circumstances that are disrupting their          harassment.
studies can be offered through authorised      • Victim of a crime which is likely to have
interruption or extension of study               significant emotional impact.
(see sections 5.2 and 5.3). However,
there may be times when personal               • Military conflict, natural disaster, or
circumstances affect a student’s ability to      extreme weather conditions.
participate in an assessment, for example      • Severe financial difficulties.
annual progression review or viva. If
                                               • Exposure to a difficult/challenging
these are affected, it may be possible to
                                                 home environment.
reschedule or change the format of the
meeting or exam.                               • Exceptional and significant change in
                                                 employment commitments, where this
The College Committee may also                   is beyond the student’s control.
take into account any exceptional
circumstances when considering                 • Significant problems with access to
recommendations from an annual                   teaching and learning materials, for
progression review or oral exam.                 example due to connectivity, power, or
Therefore, it is important that students         equipment issues.
notify their Principal Supervisor,             • Catastrophic technical failure
Postgraduate Director or Postgraduate            preventing submission of an online
Adviser in writing of any exceptional            assessment by the relevant deadline.
circumstance before the relevant
                                               • Lack of access to library resources
assessment (for example annual
                                                 where there are no viable alternatives.
progression review or viva) or the College
Committee meeting.

                                                                                             21
Code of Practice for Supervisors and Research Students

     Examples of circumstances that are
     unlikely to be accepted include:
                                                    5.5 Withdrawal from
     • A long-term or chronic health condition
                                                    studies
       (including mental ill-health) which has      Withdrawal from studies is a voluntary
       not worsened recently, or for which          decision by the student. Any student
       the University has already made a            may withdraw permanently from the
       reasonable adjustment.                       University at any point in the year.
                                                    However, before applying to withdraw,
     • A minor short-term illness or injury         students are strongly advised to consult
       (for example, a common cold),                their Principal Supervisor and to consider
       which would not reasonably have              the implications of withdrawal. More
       had a significant adverse impact on          information is available in:
       assessment.
                                                    The University’s Procedure for
     • Occasional low mood, stress or               Withdrawal and Exclusion from Studies
       anxiety.

     • Circumstances which were
       foreseeable or preventable.                  5.6 Exclusion from
     • Holidays.                                    studies
     • Financial issues.                            While it is very rare for students to be
                                                    excluded from study, there are some
     • Pressure of academic work (unless            circumstances in which the University will
       this contributes to ill-health).             consider this option. These include:
     • Poor time-management.                        • Where a student has not demonstrated
                                                      satisfactory academic progress at an
     • Lack of awareness of dates or
                                                      annual progression review.
       times of assessment submission or
       examination.                                 • Where a student has not submitted
                                                      a thesis by the end of their maximum
     • Commitments to paid or voluntary
                                                      period of study.
       employment.
                                                    • Where a student has not met any
     For taught courses taken by postgraduate
                                                      engagement requirements as set out
     research students, the University’s
                                                      in their programme handbook.
     Special Circumstances Policy applies.
                                                    More information about all the potential
     University’s Special Circumstances Policy
                                                    grounds for exclusion is available in:

                                                    The University’s Procedure for
                                                    Withdrawal and Exclusion from Studies

22
Code of Practice for Supervisors and Research Students

5.7 Vacation leave                             5.8 Student maternity
Students can take up to eight weeks’           and parental leave
vacation time in a year, with agreement
                                               Students who are pregnant, about to
from their supervisor. There is no need
                                               become a parent or guardian, or adopt
to apply for an interruption of study when
                                               a child during their study should let their
taking vacation leave.
                                               supervisor know so they can provide
                                               academic advice. Flexible arrangements,
                                               such as time off, modifications to
                                               attendance or interruption of study,
                                               can be put in place to support students
                                               who are to become parents and more
                                               information is available in the University
                                               student maternity policy.

                                               The University’s Student Maternity and
                                               Family Leave Policy

                                                                                             23
Code of Practice for Supervisors and Research Students

     6. Other support and
        information
     The University offers a wide range of support
     services, resources and information, including
     academic support, wellbeing resources and skills
     training.

     6.1 Resolving problems 6.2 Programme
     Supervisors are the first point of contact handbooks
     for students if any problems arise and will
                                                    The School Office will provide students
     either be able to offer advice themselves
                                                    with their programme handbook.
     or direct the student to other sources of
                                                    Programme handbooks are an important
     advice.
                                                    source of information for students. They
     There may be times when students feel          are part of the University’s academic
     unable to confide in their supervisors.        governance framework and include
     If so, they can get in touch with the          programme-specific information on:
     Postgraduate Adviser if their subject area
                                                    • Supervision arrangements.
     has one, or the School’s Postgraduate
     Director. Contact details of key School        • Thesis requirements.
     staff are available in the programme
     handbook. If the problem cannot be             • Research skills training.
     resolved by them, the student may then         • Professional development.
     consult with the Secretary or Chair of the
     College Committee.                             • Teaching opportunities.

     Supervisors can also seek help in              • Research culture.
     resolving problems by the same routes.
                                                    Handbooks also include information on
                                                    programme organisation, assessment
                                                    and feedback, key contacts and locations,
                                                    student support services, opportunities
                                                    for students to provide feedback on their
                                                    experiences, attendance requirements,
                                                    student representation structure,
                                                    data protection and health and safety
                                                    information.

24
Code of Practice for Supervisors and Research Students

6.3 Student support                            University and create positive change on
                                               the issues that matter to students.
services                                       Each year, student representatives are
The University, Colleges, Schools              elected or volunteer, and after receiving
and Students’ Association provide a            training from the Students’ Association,
comprehensive range of support services        they work with staff across the University
to enable students to make the most            to enhance their student experience.
of their time as part of the University
community. Many student support units          PGR students are encouraged to engage
offer online as well as face to face           with student representation – whether
services, although the range accessible        by volunteering as a representative,
to distance students may differ from those     engaging in elections, or providing
for on-campus students.                        feedback to their representatives – to
                                               ensure that the Students’ Association and
                                               the University are responding effectively
6.3.1 Students’ Association                    to the concerns of PGR students.
All students, including Postgraduate
Research (PGR) students, automatically         For more information on student voice,
become members of the Students’                visit www.eusa.ed.ac.uk/yourvoice or
Association when they join the University.     email makeachange@eusa.ed.ac.uk.
As members, PGR students have access
to a wide range of activities and services     6.3.2 Career development
including student representation, student-
led societies and peer support groups,         Research graduates enter many different
and our free and impartial Advice Place.       careers both within and out of higher
                                               education. To ensure students make
For more information, visit www.eusa.          satisfying, well-informed career decisions
ed.ac.uk, email reception@eusa.                the University encourages research
ed.ac.uk, or visit our Welcome Desk at         students to explore their career options,
Potterrow.                                     and to consider their career priorities
                                               throughout their study.
The Advice Place
                                               Considering career development from
The Advice Place is a free, impartial
                                               the start of the programme will ensure
and confidential advice service open to
                                               students both develop as researchers
all students and run by the Students’
                                               and prepare for professional success,
Association. Their professional
                                               whatever employment sector they enter.
advisors can offer advice and support
                                               Throughout their studies, students should
on a range of topics including funding,
                                               take advantage of the many opportunities
accommodation, access to healthcare,
                                               they will have to gain experience, develop
and academic life.
                                               skills, access relevant training, engage
For more information on the advice             with employers, and build professional
available and how to access the service,       networks to prepare for their future
visit www.eusa.ed.ac.uk/adviceplace            career. Students are encouraged to
or email advice@eusa.ed.ac.uk.                 reflect on and record their experiences
                                               so they can consider areas of strength
Student voice                                  and interest, which will help them to
The Students’ Association supports             identify suitable professional development
over 1500 student representatives who          opportunities and to make a successful
ensure that students have a voice at the       career transition.

                                                                                            25
Code of Practice for Supervisors and Research Students

     Research students can get support from         6.3.4 Library collections and
     the Careers Service to explore career          services
     options, consider what is important to
     them in a career, and to implement             A wide range of library services,
     career decisions through job search and        collections and study spaces are
     application support. The Careers Service       provided to support both taught and
     runs career management workshops for           research elements of students’ work.
     research students, organises employer          Collections include print and digital
     networking events and careers fairs,           books and journals, rare books and
     and offers individual career development       special collections, artworks, images,
     consultations. The service also has            museum items and archives. Digital and
     online career management resources for         print library resources are available for
     research students.                             students based in Edinburgh. In addition
                                                    to electronic resources, printed library
     Careers Services: Information for              materials are digitised where possible for
     postgraduate students                          students undertaking online or distance
                                                    learning.
     6.3.3 English language tuition
                                                    Library services
     English Language Education (ELE)
     provides opportunities for international       Using the Library for online learning
     students to develop their English
                                                    Academic Support Librarians
     academic language and literacy both
     prior to and during their studies at the       There is an Academic Support Librarian
     University. Research students can benefit      allocated to each School. Their role is to:
     from a range of courses to develop their
                                                    • Provide advice and assistance on
     academic writing at all stages of their
                                                      using library services and collections.
     PhD journey. Supervisors can refer
     students to these courses, which aim to        • Demonstrate the use of information
     help students extend their knowledge of          resources by arranging subject-
     academic language, as well as exploring          specific information skills sessions.
     text structure, academic conventions,
     and examiner expectations. ELE in              • Help students’ with research by
     collaboration with IAD, also provides            arranging one-to-one advice sessions.
     seminars for supervisors which aim to          • Advise on research data management.
     provide ideas and tools for supervisors
     to help their students develop their           Academic Support Librarians
     academic writing. ELE also offers
                                                    Centre for Research Collections
     bookable slots for PGT and PGR
     students in the Graduate Writing Centre.       The Centre for Research Collections
                                                    (CRC) is the only place in the UK where
     General information on ELE                     researchers can access material from
     Courses for PGR students                       across collection types; from medieval
                                                    manuscripts to contemporary art.
     Graduate Writing Centre

26
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