This Theme relates to the specific context of, and particular requirements for, doctorates and research master's degrees. It provides advice for providers on the research environment and the supervisory process, which are distinct requirements of research degrees.
Expectations and Practices for Research Degrees
Expectations for standards
The academic standards of courses meet the requirements of the relevant national qualifications framework.
The value of qualifications awarded to students at the point of qualification and over time is in line with sector-recognised standards.
Expectations for quality
Courses are well-designed, provide a high-quality academic experience for all students and enable a student’s achievement to be reliably assessed.
From admission through to completion, all students are provided with the support that they need to succeed in and benefit from higher education.
Core practice for standards
The provider ensures that students who are awarded qualifications have the opportunity to achieve standards beyond the threshold level that are reasonably comparable with those achieved in other UK providers.
Common practice for standards
The provider reviews its core practices for standards regularly and uses the outcomes to drive improvement and enhancement.
Core practices for quality
The provider designs and/or delivers high-quality courses.
Where the provider offers research degrees, it delivers these in appropriate and supportive research environments.
The provider supports all students to achieve successful academic and professional outcomes.
- Provision of information is clear and accessible to research students and staff.
- The research environment is supportive and inclusive for all research students.
- Supervisors are appropriately skilled and supported.
- Research students are afforded opportunities for professional development.
- Progression monitoring is clearly defined and operated.
- Higher education providers offer clear guidance and processes on assessment for research degrees.
- Was it worth it? A qualitative exploration into graduate perceptions of doctoral value, Bryan & Guccione, 2018, Higher Education Research & Development, DOI
Doctoral Training and Careers
- Statement of Expectations for Postgraduate Training (PDF, 0.17MB), UKRI, 2016
- Vitae Researcher Development Statement
- Vitae Researcher Development Framework
- CBI/Pearson Education and Skills Survey 2017
- Doctoral students’ career expectations, principles and responsibilities (PDF, 0.05MB), The Royal Society, 2014
- The Impact of Doctoral Careers (PDF, 0.42MB), CFE Research, 2014
- UK Council for Graduate Education (publications)
- Guidance for supervising a doctorate, Vitae
- Guidelines on PhD research and supervision, Roberto Cipolla, 1995
- The (research) supervisor's friend blog
- The Supervision Whisperers
- Trust me! Building and breaking professional trust in doctoral student and supervisor relationships, Guccione, 2018
- Work Organisation and mental health problems in PhD students, Levecque, Anseel, De Beuckelaer, Van der Heyden, Gisle, 2017
- Postgraduate researchers: mental health and wellbeing report, Vitae (commissioned by Research England), 2018
- UKRI Statement of Expectations for Postgraduate Training (PDF, 0.17MB), 2016
- Focus on: Postgraduate Research Student Experience, QAA Scotland, 2016-17
- An Investigation into PhD Supervisory Management Styles: Development of a dynamic conceptual model and its managerial implications, T Gatfield, 2006
- Postgraduate research supervision: a critical review of current practice, A McCallin & S Nayar, 2011
- Thinking of Research Supervision as a Form of Teaching, S Taylor