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Approval Procedures: Joint Supervision for Student Cohorts and Joint PhD Awards

All proposals for a Collaborative Research Degree Programme (CRDP) involving the joint supervision of more than one student and/or the delivery of a joint or dual PhD award for one or more students, with an external partner, requires the approval of a formal institutional MOA.  As such, a staged approval process is required.

Should the arrangement involve the delivery of taught credit as part of an integrated four-year PhD programme (e.g. an MRes) or the validation of research provision/supervision by an external partner without degree awarding powers, then formal validation procedures may be applied with final approval being considered by the Education Committee (Quality and Standards) (ECQS).  Schools should liaise with Academic Affairs on the appropriate requirements.  Schools should also consult with the Immigration Support Service to ascertain compliance requirements to support international student mobility.

  • Approval to Proceed

    Approval to Proceed must be secured from the relevant Faculty Executive Board (FEB) to allow formal approval mechanisms to be instigated on behalf of ECQS.

    The initial proposal must be discussed and approved at the relevant FEB using the appropriate Approval to Proceed pro forma for CRDPs, which should be completed and endorsed at School level in the first instance. The paperwork should also include a completed Risk Assessment.  Where the arrangement is to involve an international partner, the supporting paperwork required for the selection of new International Partners should be completed.  Faculties may adopt their own procedures, in line with their respective internal governance structures, for bringing forward the required documentation. However, early contact with Academic Affairs is recommended. 

    Where a discounted or bespoke fee is to be proposed, a business plan should be developed, in conjunction with the relevant Faculty Finance Officer, and agreed with the Finance Directorate. Schools should discuss initial ideas with the appropriate Dean(s) within the Faculty to check that the proposal aligns with the Faculty’s plan.

    Where a proposed arrangement is to include the award of a dual or joint PhD, supporting documentation should also provide sufficient evidence to demonstrate that the University Policy on Joint and Dual Awards has been considered and key principles addressed.  Further detailed University Guidance on the approval of such awards is available.

    FEB must inform the Secretary to the ECQS if the proposed CRDP is given Approval to Proceed and supply the name of an assigned University Coordinator, providing confirmation of the decision and supporting documentation. The Secretary will then contact the lead School (or Faculty depending on the extent/nature of the arrangement) to confirm next steps.

  • Documentation

    A written submission, prepared by the School/Faculty should be provided in support of the proposed CRDP for consideration by ECQS.  In addition to background information about the proposed partner institution and a supporting rationale, the submission should specify:

    • Arrangements for admission, student registration and visa monitoring for international students
    • Overall programme structure, including planned periods of residency at Queen’s and the external partner, and how this will align with University Regulations and registration requirements
    • Arrangements for the support, supervision and training of students on the programme
    • Appointment and training of Joint Supervisors
    • Progression and Examination
    • Graduation arrangements
    • Programme Management
    • Intellectual Property Rights

    In the case of a proposed joint award, the submission should also provide:

    • Evidence of the partner’s legal authority to confer a joint PhD award.
    • A detailed, comparative assessment of regulatory requirements between Queen’s and the partner institution, identifying any potential differences and how these may be resolved. 
    • A formal request (and supporting rationale) for any exemptions required to ensure Queen’s regulations and minimum standards can be maintained.
    • Arrangements for the agreement and production of joint parchments and graduation.

    Further key considerations are included in the University Policy on Joint and Dual Awards and within supplementary University guidelines on the Joint/Dual PhD Award Approval Process.

    A draft MOA will be prepared in parallel by Academic Affairs in consultation with relevant stakeholders, including the partner, as appropriate.  The MOA will include a template for an individual co-tutelle agreement to cover students participating in the CRDP.

  • University Approval

    Supporting documentation should be submitted to the Secretary of ECQS for consideration at the next available meeting.

  • MOA Signature and Implementation

    When final approval has been given by the ECQS, Academic Affairs will arrange for the MOA to be signed.  Details of the new arrangement will then be circulated to relevant Faculty staff and Head of School, the University Coordinator, the Admissions and Access Service, Information Services, Finance, the Student Services and Systems and, if appropriate, the Global Student Recruitment Office and the Immigration Support Service Office.  The MOA will be recorded on the Collaborative Provision Register.

    University Coordinators will normally be responsible for taking forward implementation and should liaise with their School/Faculty, particularly in relation to the application of any Partnership Management Plans which may be required by Faculty. Schools will also be responsible for ensuring that each student recruited to the programme is supported by an individual co-tutelle, which should be approved and signed by Faculty in accordance with arrangements for such agreements.  Joint supervisors should also be approved in parallel and briefed by Schools on University requirements following approval of recognised supervisor status and in advance of commencing their duties.