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Guidelines for the Supervision of Research Students based away from the University

The University’s Guidelines on the Supervision and Monitoring of Research Degree Students apply to all research students registered with the University. These are additional notes of guidance for departments who are considering applications from students based overseas or those based in the UK at a distance from Warwick who are not intending to visit the University on a regular basis or for long periods of time.

This normally means students who would spend less than four weeks at the University for each 12 months during which they are registered, e.g. twelve weeks over the course of a normal 3 year PhD (see para. 2a below). Such students may not be able to attend the University because of employment or family responsibilities, or because of the nature of their research project or the facilities it requires.

1. (a) It is assumed that where students in this category are unable to attend the University because of employment or family responsibilities they will register for a part-time research degree. Students will be charged the relevant part-time fee. If a department wishes to admit a student in these circumstances to a full-time course, this should be discussed with the Graduate School prior to any offer being made.

(b) Students may also be based away from Warwick for all or part of their studies because of the nature of their research project or to enable them to make best use of research facilities associated with the scholarship of their Warwick based supervisor. Such students may be registered either full or part time.

2. The Department’s Director of Graduate Studies (or equivalent) should clarify the following points with the student prior to admission:

(a) The amount of time that the student will spend at the University over the period of study and the frequency of visits. The total amount of time spent at the University over the period of study should normally equate to no less than four weeks for each 12 months during which the student is registered at Warwick. However, this does not mean that the student should be required to attend four weeks of each year of registration. For example, a student on a normal 3 year PhD should be required to attend for at least 12 weeks over the whole course, but not necessarily for four weeks in each year of registration. Departments have the discretion to require a student to spend more time at the University. If a student is unable to meet this requirement, the department concerned should seek approval from the Graduate School for alternative arrangements, such as the supervisor visiting the student.

(b) The means and minimum frequency of supervisions. These should be at least monthly, in line with expectations set out in the Guidelines on the Supervision and Monitoring of Research Degree Students. Contact with supervisors for pastoral or other reasons may, of course, be required more frequently.

(c) In the case of overseas students, they should be advised to check visa requirements before reaching agreements over the frequency of visits to the University. The University’s Immigration Service, based in the International Office can provide advice if necessary (immigrationservice at warwick dot ac dot uk).

3. Prior to admission the Director of Graduate Studies should also confirm that the student has access to adequate resources to support their study, including library and IT facilities and appropriate pastoral care.

4. At the point of enrolment an analysis of training needs should be conducted and arrangements made to ensure that the student has access to appropriate training (including research methods, any IT packages and generic skills) either when they are present at Warwick or elsewhere. A Department may require a student to attend training courses at Warwick. The student should be provided with copies of the Department’s Handbook for Research Students and any other information given to students at registration.

5. Either the student or Department may wish to appoint a local supervisor or mentor. This is at the discretion of the Department where the student is to register. The following points should be considered before agreeing to this type of arrangement:

(a) The role of the local supervisor should be agreed by the Director of Graduate Studies and set out in writing prior to admission. Copies of the agreement should be sent to the student, Warwick supervisor(s) and local supervisor. All administrative responsibilities for the student’s registration, monitoring and examination must rest with a member of Warwick staff. Appropriate remuneration for the input of the local supervisor, where applicable, should be discussed with the individual or institution where s/he is based and confirmed in writing and will be the responsibility of the department to pay.

(b) The Warwick supervisor is responsible for commenting on written work and drafts, including a full draft of the thesis prior to submission, as set out in the Guidelines on the Supervision and Monitoring of Research Degree Students. The supervisor(s) should make it clear to the student how long they can expect to wait before receiving feedback on written work and ensure that the student is aware of any deadlines for the submission of work for comment. It is particularly important that both students and supervisors inform each other if they expect to be out of contact for more than two weeks, as set out in the Guidelines on the Supervision and Monitoring of Research Degree Students.

6. The Department’s standard monitoring arrangements apply to students based away from the University. The Director of Graduate Studies should ensure that students are aware of deadlines for the submission of work for annual reviews and inform students when their presence in the department is required for annual reviews, allowing reasonable time to make travel arrangements.

7. Departments should ensure that alternative arrangements made for the training and support of research students based away from the University will not adversely affect any Research Council recognition held by the department or unduly harm their chances of securing RC funding. In discussing a potential application departments should clarify with the student the disadvantages of not being able to participate in regular events held on campus, such as departmental research seminars, reading groups or day-seminars. Such students are less likely to be in a position to secure teaching during their course, and it is possible that supervisors will have less knowledge on which to base references.

8. In the event that a department wishes to establish a more formal link with an institution overseas for the supervision of research students, this is subject to the Procedures for the Approval and Monitoring of Collaborative Courses. A formal proposal should be submitted for consideration by the Board of Graduate Studies and the Collaborative, Flexible and Distributed Learning Sub-Committee.