Introduction

The Queen’s Code of Practice for Research Degree Programmes (RDPs) forms an integral part of the University’s quality assurance mechanisms and is designed to assure the quality and maintain the academic standards of RDPs, bringing consistency to research degree provision.

The Code of Practice for RDPs has been written for students, staff, examiners, and other stakeholders.  It provides links to the Study Regulations for Research Degree Programmes, and outlines University procedures, processes and areas of good practice.

The Code of Practice for RDPs, issued in good faith, complements, but is not a substitute for the existing Study Regulations for RDPs.  Staff and students should refer to the Study Regulations for RDPs in the first instance, in addition to the wider General Regulations.  In the event of any conflict of interpretation between the Code of Practice for RDPs and the regulations, the regulations prevail.  

The UK Quality Code

The Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) publishes the UK Quality Code for Higher Education (the Quality Code) which acts as the definitive reference point for all UK Higher Education (HE) providers.  It outlines what HE providers are required to do, what they can expect of each other, and what the general public can expect of them. 

The UK Quality Code, Chapter B11: Research Degrees (June 2012) outlines the following expectation about research degrees which HE providers are required to meet:

Research degrees are awarded in a research environment that provides secure academic standards for doing research and learning about research approaches, methods, procedures and protocols.  This environment offers students quality of opportunities and the support they need to achieve successful academic, personal and professional outcomes from their research degree.

This Queen’s Code of Practice for RDPs has been developed with full cognisance of the UK Quality Code, Chapter B11, Research Degrees (June 2012), and demonstrates how the University meets the Quality Code expectation and the indicators of sound practice related to RDPs.

Queen’s takes account of The Frameworks for Higher Education Qualifications of UK Degree Awarding Bodies and other UK and European reference points in order to secure the academic standards of its RDPs.

The Study Regulations for Research Degree Programmes and this accompanying Code of Practice for Research Degree Programmes, (and in the case of the Professional Doctorate programmes – Principles for Professional Doctorates, Study Regulations for Postgraduate Taught Programmes, and the relevant Programme Specification), form the academic framework for Queen’s RDPs, which outlines how the University awards academic credit (where relevant) and RDP qualifications.  These documents also represent the definitive record for the respective RDPs.

Queen’s Research Degree Programmes

The Code of Practice for RDPs applies to all the RDPs (including the research elements of Professional Doctorates) offered by the University:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Doctor of Philosophy (by Published Works) (PhD)
Integrated Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Master of Philosophy (MPhil)
Doctor of Medicine (MD)
Master of Surgery (MCh)

Professional Doctorates

Doctor of Childhood Studies (DChild)
Doctorate in Clinical Psychology (DClinPsych)
Doctor of Education (EdD)
Doctor of Education (EdD) TESOL
Doctorate in Educational, Child and Adolescent Psychology (DECAP)
Doctorate in Governance (DGov)
Doctorate in Midwifery Practice (DMP)
Doctorate in Nursing Practice (DNP)
Juris Doctor (JD)

University Regulations, Policies and Procedures: Overview

The University has specific Study Regulations for Research Degree Programmes which are updated on an annual basis, and include the following areas:

  1. Registration.
  2. Regulations relating to external students and students working away from the University for a period.
  3. Minimum and maximum periods of study, and temporary withdrawal.
  4. Progress including supervision, monitoring and the Annual Progress Review process.
  5. Assessment and Award of Degree including requirements for Master’s/Doctoral degrees, appointment of examiners, and the examinations process.

The Study Regulations are contained within the General Regulations: University Calendar which is revised annually and includes the following areas:

  1. Principles for Professional Doctorates.
  2. Regulations for Students including definitions, admissions procedures, fees, and graduation.
  3. Academic Appeal Regulations (Research Degree Programmes).
  4. Conduct Regulations and other regulations for the use of laboratories and the library.
  5. A range of procedures including those for dealing with academic offences, Fitness to Practise (particularly relevant to Professional Doctorates), and the Student Complaints Procedure.
  6. A range of policies including the Equality and Diversity Policy, the Student Disability Policy, and the Student Maternity, Maternity Support and Adoption Policy.

The Study Regulations are complemented at School level by a range of information including guides to specific RDPs, application and admissions procedures, and the expectations of students undertaking a RDP within a particular School.  Student handbooks contain both generic, and subject-specific, material in relation to admissions, support during study, supervision, Annual Progress Review, and final examination.  Some procedures may vary at a local level and may be influenced by the structure of the programme, particularly if it has any taught elements.  The Study Regulations will, however, have precedence over all other existing procedures at a local level.  Procedures at a local level must therefore be in line with the current Study Regulations.

Code of Practice for RDPs

Main RDP Page

Resource Library

RDP Resources