Reg. 38 Research Degrees
***Amendments to Regulation 38 were last approved by the Senate on 6 July 2022, with changes taking effect from the start of the 2022-23 academic year.***
Regulation 38 should be read in conjunction with the following guidance
Guidance on Requirement for the Award of Postgraduate Research Degrees: https://warwick.ac.uk/services/dc/pgrassessments/gtehdr/requirements
Guidance on Supervision and Monitoring of Research Degree Students: https://warwick.ac.uk/services/dc/policies_guidance/supervisionpgr/
Guidance to Examinations for Higher Degrees by Research: https://warwick.ac.uk/services/dc/submission/gtehdr/
Funded PGR Student Policy: https://warwick.ac.uk/services/dc/schols_fund/current/funded_pgr_policy/
Regulation Governing Research Degrees
1. Where the post of a University official is named in the Regulation, this refers to the member of staff concerned or their authorised nominee.
2. References to academic department in the Regulation include Centres of Doctoral Training.
This Regulation applies to Research Degrees at the University, except for Higher Doctorates. Detailed information on individual courses is held by the relevant academic department.
Regulation 40 Collaborative Courses applies to research degrees offered in collaboration with one or more institutions.
Students registered on research degrees are governed by all University regulations; particular attention should be paid to Regulation 11 Academic Integrity, Regulation 36 Student Registration, Attendance and Progress, Regulation 37 Taught Postgraduate Courses (for courses with taught element) and Research Code of Practice.
This Regulation sets out a list of research degrees awarded, general requirements for the award of degrees and specific provisions.
38.1 Research degrees awarded by the University
The University awards the following degrees by research:
Master of Arts (MA)
Master of Science (MSc)
Master of Laws (LLM)
Master of Surgery (MS)
Master of Medical Science (MMedSci)
Master of Philosophy (MPhil)
Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)
Doctor of Clinical Psychology (DClinPsych)
Doctor of Education (EdD)
Doctor of Engineering (EngD)
Doctor of Medicine (MD)
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
European Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
38.2 Admission to a research degree
Admission to a research degree is governed by Regulation 6 Admission to the University. Students on a research degree must be registered for a minimum of 50% of the course duration to be eligible for the award of a Warwick degree.
38.3 Registration for a research degree
There are detailed Guidelines for students registered for a research degree and staff involved in supervision of research students, available on the Doctoral College website, approved by the Board of Graduate Studies. Departments also have specific requirements for research degrees, which are set out in departmental handbooks and on websites. In addition to these Guidelines, the Regulation on student registration, attendance and progress applies to all students at the University, including those registered for research degrees. All research students and supervisors are expected to familiarise themselves with the relevant guidelines available on the Doctoral College and departmental websites.
Some research degrees include a compulsory taught component. Detailed information on individual course requirements, including course length and assessment methods, is held by the relevant academic department.
A student registered for a research degree must have at least one supervisor. Supervisors are normally members of academic staff at the University. Supervisors are nominated by Heads of Departments in accordance with the Guidelines on the Supervision and Monitoring of Research Degree Students.
38.4 Periods of study
1. The standard period of study for research degrees as set out below is determined by the Senate.
Master’s by Research (MA, MSc, LLM, MMedSci, MS)
2 to 5 years
MPhil and MD
3 to 6 years
3 years (applicable to students who commenced their course at the University prior to 1 August 2011)
4 years (applicable to students who commenced their course at the University on or after 1 August 2011)
5 years (applicable to students who commenced their course at the University prior to 1 August 2011)
7 years (applicable to students who commenced their course at the University on or after 1 August 2011)
2. Part-time study is normally permitted if a student is only able to study on a part-time basis because of employment or other commitments for a significant part of the working week. Requests to study part-time are subject to approval by the Chair of the Board of Graduate Studies. Part-time study is usually at 0.6 full time equivalent (FTE).
38.5 Upgrading from MPhil to PhD
1. Students who aim to complete a PhD normally register in the first instance for the degree of MPhil unless otherwise approved by the Board of Graduate Studies. Subject to satisfactory progress, registration may be upgraded to the degree of PhD. Departments may apply to the Chair of the Board of Graduate Studies to allow a student to register directly for the degree of PhD.
2. Departments are responsible for advising students of departmental requirements and procedures for upgrading to PhD in line with the Guidelines on the Supervision and Monitoring of Research Degree Students.
3. If a student fails to upgrade to the degree of PhD at the first attempt, they will normally be permitted to submit a further upgrading proposal. If the second attempt fails, the student may be allowed to continue their registration for a different award. Alternatively, the department may recommend that the student be required to withdraw in accordance with Regulation 36 on student registration, attendance and progress.
4. The appeals procedure set out in Regulation 42 will be used.
38.6 Progress review
Academic departments are expected to formally review student progress on at least an annual basis in line with the Guidance on Supervision and Monitoring of Research Degree Students.
38.7 Submission deadlines
1. A student registered for a research degree is expected to submit their thesis by the end of the period of study.
2. A student may apply to the Chair of the Board of Graduate Studies for an extension of the period for submission in exceptional circumstances, with the support of the relevant academic department, following the process set out by Student Administrative Services. Applications for extensions of more than twelve months at a time will not be considered.
3. A student may submit before the deadline with the support of the relevant academic department. Normally there will be no reduction in the total fee payable over the standard period of registration if a thesis is submitted early.
38.8. Requirements for theses submitted for research degrees
A summary of requirements for different research degrees is contained within the Guidance to this Regulation, Requirements for Research Degrees. More detailed requirements for the presentation of theses are set out in the Guide to Examinations for Higher Degrees by Research, approved by the Board of Graduate Studies, which is available on the Doctoral College website.
1. A student will not be permitted to submit a thesis which has been, or is being, submitted for a degree at another university, unless this is part of arrangements for an approved collaborative degree. A student may incorporate work submitted for a degree that has already been awarded, provided that the extent of this work is clearly indicated in the thesis. This work may provide support for a thesis but will not be taken into account when evaluating the thesis.
2. A student must indicate any joint work included in the thesis, stating their share in such work.
3. A final copy of the thesis must be deposited in the University Library following the conclusion of the examination, in a format specified in the Guide to Examinations for Higher Degrees by Research.
38.9 Examination of research degrees; appointment of examiners
The appointment of examiners is subject to the approval of the Chair of Board of Graduate Studies in line with guidance and process set out in the Guide to Examination of Higher Degrees by Research.
38.10 Examination process
The method of examination for each research degree is set out in the Guidance on Requirement for the Award of Postgraduate Research Degrees. This also specifies whether an oral examination is required for each degree.
1. The recommendations of examiners are subject to approval by the Chair (or Deputy Chair) of the Faculty Education Committee of the Board of the appropriate Faculty. Degrees by research are awarded by the Senate.
Appointment of external adjudicator
2. If the examiners are unable to agree a joint recommendation, or if for any other reason a further opinion is required on the work submitted, the Chair of the Board of Graduate Studies may appoint an external adjudicator. The recommendation of the adjudicator will normally prevail.
38.11 Decisions of the examiners
1. The examiners shall reach one of the decisions listed below and set out their recommendation in their joint report.
(a) That the degree be awarded.
(b) That the degree be awarded, subject to minor amendments or corrections.
(c) (First submission only, not available for a resubmitted thesis). That the degree be awarded, subject to major amendments or corrections.
(d) (MA, MSc and LLM by research) that the thesis (or exceptionally a revised thesis submitted within a prescribed period) be re-examined for the degree of MPhil.
(e) (MPhil only) that the thesis (or exceptionally a revised thesis submitted within a prescribed period) be re-examined for the degree of PhD.
(f) (MA, MSc, LLM only) that the degree be awarded with Distinction.
(g) That the degree be not awarded, but that the student be permitted to submit a revised thesis.
(h) That a different degree be awarded. The degrees available are listed below. The award of a degree may be subject to minor amendments.
PhD; the degrees of MPhil or the appropriate Masters degree by Research may be awarded.
MD; the degree of MMedSci may be awarded
EngD; the degrees of MPhil or MSc by Research in Engineering may be awarded
EdD; the degree of MA or MSc by Research in Education or in Applied Linguistics and English Language Teaching
LLM; the Diploma in Legal Studies.
(i) That no degree be awarded.
2. A student shall normally be permitted to resubmit a thesis on one occasion only.
Regulations applying to collaborative research degrees
Regulations for the Degree of Doctor of Clinical Psychology (DClinPsych) (38.12)