Swansea University

Guide To Research Degree Candidature

Guide To Research Degree Candidature

1. Definitions of full-time study and part-time study

Research students study over the full calendar year. Full-time students are entitled to take up to four weeks holiday per annum, plus Public Holidays and the Christmas closure period.

1.1 Full-time students will spend a minimum of 35 hours a week on research and study during the period of supervised study for the degree. All full-time students (Method A and Method B) must normally be resident in the United Kingdom during the period of supervised study for the degree and should live within easy commuting distance of the University. Full-time students for whom the University acts as student visa sponsor must be resident in the United Kingdom and live within easy commuting distance of the University for the total duration of candidature.

1.2 Part-time students are expected to spend approximately 15 hours a week on research and study during the period of supervised study for the degree. Part-time students do not need to be resident in the United Kingdom during the period of supervised study for the degree; however they should ensure that there is regular contact with the supervisor and, as a absolute minimum, one face-to-face meeting during each academic year.

2. Periods of Study for Each Degree

PhD
Mode of studyMinimum candidatureMaximum submission
Full-time 3 years  4 years 
Part-time  6 years  7 years 
Professional Doctorate (and PhD Extended Period of Study)
Mode of studyMinimum candidatureMaximum submission
Full-time 4 years  5 years 
Part-time  6 years  7 years 
MD
Mode of studyMinimum candidatureMaximum submission
Full-time 2 years  3 years 
Part-time  4 years  5 years 
MPhil
Mode of study Minimum candidatureMaximum submission
Full-time 2 year  3 years 
Part-time  4 years  5 years 
MA/MSc/LLM by Research
Mode of studyMinimum candidatureMaximum submission
Full-time 1 year 2 years 
Part-time  2 years  3 years 
MRes
Mode of studyMinimum candidatureMaximum submission
Full-time 1 year 2 years 
Part-time  2 years  3 years 

2.1 From 2011, the maximum submission period for all degrees, irrespective of mode of study, will be one year more than the minimum candidature period.

2.2 Each research degree programme has a normal period of supervised study – the minimum candidature period – at the end of which a student is expected to submit.  There is also a maximum submission date after which a student will be deemed to have run out of time and will not be permitted to submit a thesis.

3. Minimum Candidature Period

During the minimum candidature period the research student will undertake research work under full supervision. The student will receive regular support, advice and guidance from his/her supervisors to ensure that the research can be completed, including the preparation of the thesis, by the end of the minimum candidature period. The supervisors will assist the student in producing a detailed work-plan and timetable for the research and will monitor the student’s progress in relation to this plan. During the minimum candidature period the student will be liable for fees at the appropriate level based on residency, method of candidature and subject area.

4. Confirmation of Candidature

The College/School is required to confirm the candidature of a student to the Progression and Awards Board within three months of the initial enrolment of the student. In doing so, the College/School is confirming that the student has fulfilled the specified administrative requirements and is academically prepared, considered to be of the appropriate academic standard and possesses the capability to undertake the agreed research project (see the Guide to Progress Monitoring of Research Students for more details). 

4.1 A report of all non-confirmed candidatures will be made to the Progression and Awards Board three months after enrolment. If the College/School cannot confirm candidature for a student after three months, the Progression and Awards Board will require the student either to suspend or to withdraw from the programme (see the Guide to Suspensions and Extensions for Research Students and the Guide to Transfer and Withdrawal of Research Students). However, in very exceptional circumstances, a student may submit an application to extend their Confirmation of Candidature by three months to the Progression and Awards Board for consideration.

4.2 After confirmation of candidature has been completed a student is not permitted to significantly change his/her topic of research, as such a change would invalidate the confirmation of candidature. If a student wishes to significantly change his/her topic of research, the student should be required to withdraw from the current degree and re-apply for the new topic of research.

4.3 In the event any changes are made to postgraduate student research proposals, the University has a requirement to notify UKVI within 28 days of the changes, for those that require an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate. Information regarding which courses require an ATAS certificate can be found here. This applies to non EEA students only.  It is the responsibility of Swansea University supervisors to notify the University’s International Student Compliance Team (Academic Services), of changes to the student’s original research proposal or the use of any new research technique.  For more information, please read the ATAS and Change of Research Topic Policy and Procedure

5. Progression Monitoring

All research students’ progress will be continuously assessed throughout their period of study. Colleges/Schools must submit to the Progression and Awards Board a formal progress assessment report for each research degree student with a recommendation regarding the outcome  in order for the student to continue on their programme (see the Guide to Progress Monitoring of Research Students for more details).

5.1 At the end of the minimum candidature period the student is expected to have completed his/her research and to be preparing to submit the thesis. The College/School must submit a formal assessment report on the student’s progress to the Progression and Awards Board,  giving an indication when the student will be ready to submit a thesis (see the Guide to Progress Monitoring of Research Students for more details).

5.2 Normally, a student is expected to submit his/her thesis by the maximum submission date, then the student will be deemed to have run out of time and his/her record will be closed. In exceptional cases, the student may apply for an extension to the maximum submission date (see the Guide to Suspensions and Extensions for Research Students for more information). 

6. Early Submission

If a student wishes to submit his/her thesis more than six months before the end of his/her minimum candidature, then permission should be sought from the Progression and Awards Board. The student and the supervisor should provide an in-depth written statement, counter-signed by the Head of College/School, outlining the reasons for the early submission and confirming that the student is in fact ready to submit. If a student wishes to submit his/her thesis less than six months before the end of his/her minimum candidature, then a brief statement from the student and the supervisor (normally endorsed by the Head of Research or equivalent), should be sent to the Progression and Awards Board.

6.1 It should be noted that where students are permitted to submit a thesis before the end of the minimum candidature period, the student will still be liable for fees for the whole of the minimum candidature period.

6.2 In the event that a College/School or the Progression and Awarrds Board does not support a candidate’s application for the early submission of a thesis, or which falls before the six-month window permitted within the minimum period of candidature (in accordance with the regulations and guidelines), an application for early submission can be made to the Vice Chancellor. The Vice Chancellor, or his nominee (who shall be a member of the Senior Management Team and who has no material interest in the case), may authorise the early submission provided that an appropriately worded declaration be signed by the supervisor and the student, which will also be countersigned by the authorised member of the Senior Management Team.

6.3 This declaration will include waiving any right on the part of the candidate to pursue a complaint or redress in respect of deficiencies in research support or supervision, or any other matter relating to the recording and management of the candidature arising from early submission.

6.4 In all other regards, the thesis submission and assessment will follow appropriate University procedures, including for example, the appointment of examiners, the composition and arrangement of the examining board, the conduct of the viva, and the possible outcomes of the examination.

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