This section of the Code of Practice for Research Degree Programmes (RDPs) relates to the Advice and Guidance on Admissions, Recruitment and Widening Access within the UK Quality Code (November 2018), and the Postgraduate Admissions Policy.
The Provision of Information for New Research Students subsection in this Code of Practice also introduces the Study Regulations for Research Degree Programmes and associated processes and practices in relation to student registration; external students and students working away from Queen’s; periods of study for RDPs; interruptions to study, including temporary withdrawals; progress; and assessment.
The University is committed to providing a professional admissions service. The Postgraduate Admissions Policy and accompanying procedures are transparent, fair, and consistently applied, which ensures that prospective students understand how the admissions process works and applications are processed in a timely manner.
The Postgraduate Admissions Policy complies with relevant legislation affecting the admission of students. It presents details of criteria for admission and procedures, including for PhDs by Published Works (section 3.1.2), roles and responsibilities of Schools and staff in administering and quality assuring the admissions process (Postgraduate Admissions Policy Appendix 1), and information on policy areas such as selection procedures to RDPs (section 4.1.2), which supplements the information contained in this Code of Practice.
The University provides pre-entry information (in a variety of formats on request) to ensure that a student can make an informed decision regarding their preferred subject area as the basis of their application for a place on a RDP. Information on RDPs is available through the online Course Finder, Postgraduate Prospectus in hard copy and online, School leaflets and brochures, and School websites. Helpful information and guidance is also available at Find a PhD Supervisor.
Amongst the information which should be accessible to all students are up to date overviews of the Schools, their achievements and key research interests; programme information including expected timescales for completion and supervisor support; opportunities for personal development and potential career options; entry requirements; and information about support services including training, disability support, counselling, and careers support. Where programmes are only offered on a full-time or part-time basis, this will be highlighted by the School.
Funded postgraduate research opportunities are listed on the University's Postgraduate Course Finder under Opportunities.
The Admissions and Access Service is responsible for managing the Postgraduate Applications Portal or will process paper applications for the PhD by Published Works, as required. The Admissions and Access Service will also issue official documentation to international applicants for immigration and visa entry purposes. International Student Support can offer advice on visa and immigration issues.
Entry Requirements and the Decision Making Process
The University applies standard criteria and procedures as part of a transparent admission process for all students. The Postgraduate Admissions Policy outlines the normal entry requirements and criteria to be met for admission to RDPs. Where specific programmes require additional criteria such as additional or specific qualifications, an assessment, or attendance at an interview, this will be detailed under the relevant programme entry in the online Course Finder. Prospective applicants are encouraged to contact the relevant School for further information, where appropriate.
Information regarding the minimum level of English language proficiency required of applicants for whom English is not their first language; and English language qualifications acceptable for entry to RDPs, is available in the Postgraduate Prospectus and English Language Requirements web page.
Decisions on the admission of research students are made by suitably qualified academic members of staff, which may include the Head of School. Schools apply strict admissions criteria for research students, in line with the regulations and the Postgraduate Admissions Policy, and liaise with the Admissions and Access Service, as appropriate, when assessing a student’s eligibility to enrol on a RDP.
Where applicants are required to complete an assessment or attend an interview, Schools ensure that any reasonable adjustments which the applicant may require as a result of disability are arranged in advance. Schools consult with Disability Services for advice where necessary. Further information on the support available to postgraduate students with a disability is available on the Disability Services web page.
The Postgraduate Admissions Policy, section 4.5 outlines the details of the information which the student can expect to receive with the formal offer of admission letter, which is specific to the individual applicant. Students are also advised in the correspondence that by accepting an offer of admission, they are agreeing to meet the responsibilities for their academic studies and candidacy for a research degree as outlined in this Code of Practice for RDPs.
The offer of admission letter, and supporting Admissions and Access Service guidance provide a range of information, including information relating to funding, accommodation, support services, immigration procedures, and the International Welcome and Orientation Programme. The Admissions and Access Service issues the official offer letters and guidance notes upon receipt of decisions from Schools.
The Graduate School is responsible for the administration and allocation of Postgraduate Student Awards. The notification of an offer of an award (studentship funding) is made by the Graduate School in a separate letter to the offer letter from the Admissions and Access Service. Queries about funding offers, and funding body terms and conditions, can be sent to the Postgraduate Awards team, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.