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Responsibilities at University Level

More specifically the Warwick Graduate School is responsible for:

(a) Defining University-level policy on admission of candidates for research degrees and monitoring the implementation of this policy by departments, together with the Student Admissions and Recruitment Office.

(b) Making available, through the Graduate School website and annual induction events, up to date information concerning the facilities available to research students at University-level, the regulations pertaining to their degree, the role of their research degree supervisor(s), the system of examination for research degree students, and the University's expectations of them as research students.

(c) Working with academic departments and other sections of the University to provide students with access to appropriate information technology and library and other study facilities, careers advice and, where necessary, English Language tuition and welfare guidance.

(d) The development of the University’s generic skills programme for research students, in conjunction with Student Careers and Skills who are responsible for the operations of such programmes.

(e) Providing advice to departments on the production of departmental research student handbooks, departmental codes of practice on research student supervision, monitoring of research students, the role of research supervisors and dealing with unsatisfactory progress.

(f) Provide input into training and staff development programmes for research student supervisors in conjunction with the Learning and Development Centre.

(g) Offering students the opportunity to provide timely feedback on their experiences as research students and on the quality of research supervision received, through the consideration at University level of annual reports from individual students, through departmental staff-student liaison committees for postgraduate students and through representation on University Committees. In the event that a student raises concerns in the confidential part of the annual report, the Graduate School will first contact the student to obtain his/her permission before discussing these concerns with the Departmental Director of Graduate Studies or representative of another University department as appropriate.

(h) Ensuring that departments have put in place appropriate arrangements for the continued supervision of research students should their supervisor leave the University.

(i) Ensuring that departments have established appropriate mechanisms for the monitoring of research student progress. These mechanisms will be reviewed by the University as part of the programme of Institutional Teaching and Learning Reviews.

(j) Ensuring that the University's standards and procedures for the examination of research degrees are adhered to in full through:

(i) The publication of definitions of the University's expectations for research degrees and guidance concerning the length and presentation of research theses; approval of examiners and, where appropriate, examination advisers (following nomination by departments); and the provision of appropriate guidance to examiners on their role and the application of the University's research degree regulations (see Guide to the Examination of Higher Degrees by Research).

(ii) The establishment of proactive administrative procedures which encourage students to complete their research successfully within an appropriate timescale for their degree.

(iii) The operation and review of the University's procedures for student appeals against the decisions of research degree examiners and the handling of Student Academic Complaints from postgraduate research students.

(k) Defining policy in relation to research degree students who engage in teaching and ensuring that appropriate training is available from academic departments and the Learning and Development Centre to students who teach.

(l) Monitoring research student progression and submission rates across the University and discussing any problems identified with the departments concerned.

(m) The consideration and monitoring of requests for periods of suspension or further extensions, in line with the procedures set out below.

(i) Temporary Withdrawal

If it becomes apparent that a student has medical or other problems that are affecting their progress with the research programme it may be appropriate for a student to request a period of suspension (temporary withdrawal). Requests should be submitted to the Graduate School together with a note of support from the Director of Graduate Studies. If the request is being made on medical grounds a medical note should be included. Departments are encouraged to submit requests for suspension when a problem arises rather than retrospectively. It is not possible to request a period of temporary withdrawal whilst a student is in extension.

In some cases it may not be appropriate to request a period of suspension (for example a long-term health problem or personal difficulties). In these circumstances the department should advise the Graduate School in case it later becomes necessary to request a further period of extension.

Students funded directly by one of the UK research councils will not normally be permitted a period of suspension without the prior approval of the research council. If a department is considering requesting a period of suspension for a research council funded student they should contact the Graduate School in the first instance.

(ii) Extensions

Students first registered before 1 August 2011

Extensions up to 12 Months

The University expects students (and their supervisors) to strive to complete and submit their theses within the period of formal registration set out at the beginning of their period of study. However, research students will normally be allowed a continuation period of up to twelve months after the end of fee-paying registration where this is required to complete the writing up and final revisions of the thesis.

A letter is sent to students and their departments by the Graduate School six months prior to the end of the period of formal registration reminding them of the expectation to complete and submit a thesis at the end of the period of registration. Students will be asked to review their progress toward submission with their supervisors. If they are of the view that the thesis will be completed and submitted no later than 3 months after the end of the period of registration, no further action will be required.

If the student and supervisor consider that a period of extension will be required to complete the thesis, they will be asked to prepare a schedule setting out how the thesis will be completed within a year (or such shorter period as may be considered necessary) of the end of their current period of registration. This schedule should be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies within the department and passed to the Graduate School for consideration. The Graduate School will consider the attached request and Director of Graduate Studies’ supporting document and if the extension is granted will write to the student formally granting the extension period.

Students funded directly by one of the UK research councils will only be normally only be permitted a period of extension beyond their submission date in line with the policy of the relevant research council. If a department is considering requesting a period of extension for a research council student they should contact the Graduate School in the first instance.

Extensions Beyond 12 Months

Extensions beyond this twelve-month period will only be considered under exceptional circumstances, such as ill health or severe personal difficulties. The fact that a student is required to undertake employment during their continuation period will not normally be considered as an exceptional circumstance.

Requests for extensions beyond the twelve-month continuation period should be submitted in advance of the end of the continuation period and will be considered by the Chair of the Graduate School. Students are required to submit the following documentation in support of such a request:

(1) A letter setting out the nature of any exceptional circumstances;
(2) A statement of support from the department;
(3) A realistic work plan agreed with their supervisor for completion of the thesis within the proposed period of extension;
(4) Any relevant supporting documents (e.g. medical note).

Students funded directly by one of the UK research councils will not normally be permitted a period of extension beyond the original 12-month continuation period without prior permission from the relevant research council. If a department is considering requesting such a period of further extension for a research council student they should contact the Graduate School in the first instance.

Students first registered after 1 August 2011

Students who first registered with the University after 1 August 2011 are automatically registered for a period of four years (full-time) and seven years (part-time). Students are expected to submit within three years but there is no need to request extensions within the period of maximum registration. Requests for extensions beyond the maximum period of registration will only be granted in very exceptional circumstances and will be subject to the same requirements noted above, in the section ‘Extensions beyond 12 months’. Students entering their fourth year (‘Submission Pending’ year) are not expected to undertake any new research or data collection during this period.

Students funded directly by one of the UK research councils will only be permitted a period of extension beyond their submission date in line with the policy of the relevant research council. If a department is considering requesting a period of extension for a research council student they should contact the Graduate School in the first instance.