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This section sets out the University’s procedures for the selection and admission of research students as well as the information they should receive at the offer stage.

Section contents:


111. The decision to recommend admission to a research degree programme should involve at least two members of the University’s academic staff: these should include a postgraduate research admissions tutor appointed by the Head of School, as well as the intended supervisor and/or the director of the programme where more appropriate. All offers are formally issued by the University’s Registry, but the academic selection decision and any conditions of the offer are determined by academic selectors in the relevant School.

112. In operating its research degree admissions processes, selectors should have due regard to the following:

.1 Senate Regulations and the University’s General Entrance Requirement, including English Language Policy (contained within Awards of Cardiff University);

.2 legal requirements and University policies and guidelines that relate to these requirements;

.3 School- and/or programme-specific entry requirements, including those for English Language proficiency and selection criteria;

.4 the Cardiff University Admissions Framework (113, below).

113. The University’s Admissions Framework identifies the principles and common approach for management of the admissions process in respect of all categories of student, and articulates the roles, responsibilities and training requirements of those involved. Core principles of the Framework on which admissions processes are based are: fairness; transparency; professionalism; accessibility and the consistent application of policy and procedure.

114. Candidates for research degrees are required to satisfy the University’s English Language requirements and have one or more of the following qualifications:

.1 a first degree in a relevant subject, normally with at least a 2:1 classification, or equivalent;

.2 a relevant Master’s qualification or equivalent.

115. In considering research project proposals, whether submitted by an applicant or by a potential supervisor, the intended home School should consider:

.1 the degree of fit between the intended field of study and the School or institute’s research activities;

.2 the likelihood that the proposed programme of research can be completed within the planned period and submitted for examination by the expected submission deadline;

.3 the capacity of the School to offer supervision for the proposed research project, with due regard to experience, track record and work load of the proposed main supervisor and the potential supervisory team;

.4 the availability of replacement supervision arrangements that might be put in place in the event of the main supervisor and/or other key contributors to the supervision leaving the University or becoming unable to continue in their role;

.5 the availability of adequate physical and library resources to support the proposed project, and the availability of any specialist training that would be required;

.6 the demands of any sponsoring or collaborating body as regards the terms of the proposed project, including the funding available, any deadline for submission, or time-limited restrictions on the publication of results;

.7 the ethics implications of the project and ethics approval status where applicable.

116. In considering applicants for admission, the intended home School should consider their potential for a research degree, and their suitability for the proposed programme and field of study, specifically:

.1 their academic qualifications and achievements;

.2 their level of preparedness for the research programme, which may include their technical and/or research skills, their research and/or professional experience;

.3 their understanding of the research context and their motivation for the proposed or advertised project.

117. Schools are encouraged to interview applicants where practicable, in person or by electronic means, to assess their suitability to undertake the research degree for which they have applied. Staff involved in undertaking selection interviews should receive training to ensure that the interviews are conducted in compliance with legal requirements and the University’s Equality and Diversity Policy.


118. The formal offer of admission, issued by the University’s Registry and Student Services, includes the following:

.1 the commencement and end dates of the programme, and the mode of study;

.2 the name(s) of:

i. the main supervisor and, where identified, co-supervisors; or

ii. the programme director (in the case of some integrated programmes, professional doctorates and MRes programmes);

.3 the title of the research project; or the expected area of research;

.4 whether the offer is unconditional or conditional, and any conditions of the offer;

.5 fees status and tuition-fee level;

.6 any additional costs (such as ‘bench fees’), as instructed by the School concerned;

.7 for part-time applicants and those approved to conduct their research in their place of employment, details of supervision and reporting arrangements;

.8 the Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) research statement of purpose, where applicable.

119. The offer of admission also signposts applicants to essential University information for research degree students, including the responsibilities and entitlements of research students and the requirements of academic monitoring and progression.

120. Separate information issued by the University includes, as applicable: details of centrally administered institutional studentships, including their terms and conditions; arrangements for enrolment and accommodation; Confirmation of Acceptance for Study (CAS) number; additional support information to new international students, including travel and collection details. 


121. Schools are required to provide direct to the applicant any necessary information that is not otherwise supplied or made accessible. This includes, as applicable:

.1 any special requirements associated with the project, e.g. the need to travel elsewhere to perform fieldwork, experimental work or use specialist collections or resources;

.2 details of studentship funding if provided or administered by the School, including the terms and conditions;

.3 any issues associated with the particular research project in respect of human or animal ethics, intellectual property, restriction on access of research outcomes;

.4 any adjustments that have been agreed with the applicant in response to a declared disability.

122. Schools should also make clear to applicants via their web pages, promotional materials, or communication:

.1 the general facilities, resources and working accommodation that will be provided by the School;

.2 whether or not there are opportunities in the School for undertaking teaching, and the local School policy on research student involvement in teaching, including likely types of activity, at what stage of their research degree programme opportunities will be available, and whether any terms and conditions will apply.