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College and School Responsibilities

This section outlines the College and School level context for research degree programmes. Schools are expected to have their own arrangements for the delivery and monitoring of their research degree programmes. The key responsibilities of Directors of Postgraduate Research Studies are in this section.

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Director of Postgraduate Research Studies Responsibilities PDF

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28. Each College (Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences; Biomedical and Life Sciences; Physical Sciences and Engineering) is headed by a Pro Vice-Chancellor and Head of College, who is responsible and accountable to the Vice-Chancellor for the management of the College, and who line-manages the Heads of those Schools that comprise the respective College.


29. The Head of School has delegated authority from their Pro Vice-Chancellor, College Head for the management and academic support of all research students registered in their School, in accordance with Senate Regulations and the provisions of the Code of Practice for Research Degrees.

30. The Head of School is therefore responsible for ensuring that all research students registered in their School:

.1 receive adequate supervision in the pursuit of their research goals and professional development needs;

.2 receive effective monitoring of their academic progress;

.3 have access to the facilities necessary for achieving their research goals;

.4 are able to conduct their studies in a high-quality and supportive research environment and to maximise their contribution to their chosen discipline;

.5 are given opportunities to raise issues, voice concerns and provide feedback.

 31. The Head of School is also responsible for ensuring:

.1 that postgraduate research matters are routinely considered and addressed appropriately through the School committee and governance structures;

.2 that management information, including feedback from students and  examiners, is used to inform School discussion and action plans;

.3 that local School policies and procedures comply with the University requirements described in the Code of Practice, and are readily accessible to all staff and students;

.4 that supervisors are appropriately trained, mentored and monitored;

.5 rigorous and transparent mechanisms for key procedures, such as admission, student monitoring and examination;

.6 that research students appointed to teaching and assessment duties in their School are appropriately trained, mentored and monitored, and have clear limits of responsibility, in accordance with the provisions of the Code of Practice;

.7 the proper conduct of all research degree examinations.


32. So that students can undertake research effectively, each School must endeavour to provide the most appropriate working accommodation, equipment and resources that it can. The facilities made available will vary depending on the particular needs of the academic discipline and on the student’s mode of study.

33. There should be a clear locus for postgraduate research business to be considered in the School: depending on the size, shape and portfolio of the School, this may be a dedicated PGR Board or via a routine item on an appropriate School committee.

34. School arrangements should be in place to address the following, and be clearly described in handbooks, guidance notes and/or web information:

.1 recruitment and admission of research students;

.2 School induction programmes;

.3 training and development requirements;

.4 supervision arrangements, including mechanisms by which these may be changed;

.5 monitoring academic progress, requirements for progression and procedures for unsatisfactory progress, and examination arrangements;

.6 student consultation and feedback;

.7 student entitlements, including access to funding for conferences, research costs, travel and training, and teaching opportunities.

35. In respect of students with specific requirements, Schools are required to give consideration to practical arrangements for induction and other School activities.


36. Each Head of School is required to appoint a Director of Postgraduate Research Studies, who should be experienced in the supervision of research students, and to whom responsibility for managing postgraduate research activity on a routine basis is usually delegated. The Head of School is expected to monitor the effectiveness of the Director of Postgraduate Research Studies through the appraisal process.

37. The Director of Postgraduate Research Studies should be clearly identified in the School and their role understood by supervisors and students. Their duties typically include:

.1 advising the Head of School on the allocation of supervisory duties, and on temporary or permanent changes, when necessary;

.2 overseeing arrangements for School induction activities;

.3 overseeing School-based training programmes;

.4 providing appropriate written guidance for research students and supervisors;

.5 ensuring that School-level information cross-refers students to key University procedures (e.g. complaints and appeals), and to University support services;

.6 operation of student consultation and feedback mechanisms;

.7 overseeing implementation of the Research Student Progress Monitoring Procedure and subsequent outcomes;

.8 reporting to the Head of School and/or relevant School committee on matters of concern relating to the progress of individual students;

.9 overseeing the administrative arrangements for viva voce examinations;

.10 reporting to the Head of School and/or relevant School committee on matters of concern arising from feedback from students, academic staff or examiners.

38. The Director of Postgraduate Research Studies has an important role in advising both students and supervisors who are experiencing difficulties with the supervisory relationship and making recommendation to the Head of School accordingly.

39. In some Schools there may be a team approach to taking on the duties of Director of Postgraduate Research Studies. In all such cases:

.1 a lead must be identified, who acts as the School’s point of contact for the University;

.2 the division of duties must be made clear to students and their supervisors.