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Changes to Research Regulations 2023/24


Introduction of new research degree regulations 2023/24, following a regulations review process.

The following update for research students outlines the changes in academic regulations which will come into effect for the new academic year 2023/24. Please watch this short video which outlines the changes, why they are important and what you need to be aware of.  Research students will also receive direct email communication regarding the changes. 

Research Degree Regulations 

The Research Degree Regulations 2023/24 align to the UK Quality Code for Higher Education. They embody nationally recognised good practice as recommended in policies, codes of practice and regulations of the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA), Office for Students (OfS), and research funding councils.

The Research Degree Regulations consist of an introduction and 5 parts:

  • Part A: Regulations for the degree awards of Master of Philosophy and Doctor of Philosophy
  • Part B: Regulations for the degree award of Professional Doctorate
  • Part C: Regulations for the degree award of Doctor of Medicine (MD)
  • Part D: Regulations for the degree award of PhD by Published Work
  • Part E: Regulations for the award of Higher Doctorate.

They are accompanied by a set of appendices outlining procedures and guidelines.

These regulations will replace the Research Degree Regulations 2014; and the student, supervisor, examiner, and operations handbooks 2014.

The Regulations should not be read in isolation. Research students and supervisors are responsible for familiarising themselves with the University Ethics Policy, Code of Good Research Practice and other research policies, procedures, and guidelines at:

The regulations have been developed following a consultation process with key stakeholders:

  • Research Student Representatives
  • Faculty Research Committees
  • Research Student Boards
  • Research administrators
  • Registry Services
  • Conduct and Appeals
  • Student Support & Wellbeing

Summary of key changes

  • Addition of specifics for students producing creative works or working as part of a research group.
  • Enhanced regulations for previous registration at the University, transfer from another University and concurrent study.
  • Clarity around members of staff registering as research students – no change to prior practice.
  • APR exceptions for students who have submitted or are completing minor amends, including detail around LoA.
  • Clarity around a student’s level of employment to be considered as staff for examination.
  • Enhanced regs around editorial support on the thesis.
  • Change in thesis word limits, no subject differences. What is/is not included in word count is now consistent across awards.
  • Change in terminology to first examination and re-examination (rather than resubmission).
  • Clarity that students must not state they have award before receiving written confirmation– prevents misrepresentation of award status, and potential rescinding of job offers.
  • Updated academic appeals process for research students – aligned to standard 2 stage process for taught students.
  • Research misconduct to be investigated via the same process as for staff members.
  • New detail regarding support and adjustments for students with additional needs associated with disability, learning difference or long term health condition.
  • Only one opportunity to revise and resubmit research proposal.
  • Use of text matching software to be introduced at assessment points.

Professional Doctorates and Medical Doctorates

These regulations were both developed in 2020/21 and are both variations on a PhD. They have been reviewed and amended for consistency to reflect the changes to the PhD regulations, with the elements that are distinct to ProfDoc and MD awards remaining unchanged (i.e. taught and clinical elements respectively).

PhD by Published Work and Higher Doctorate

These regulations have received a light touch review in terms of consistent style and formatting but no substantial change to the previous regulations, which were reviewed more recently in 2019.


Research Degree Student Services 

Research Degree Student Services (RDSS) provides students studying postgraduate research programmes with support. You can contact RDSS in e:Vision, or if you can't access e:Vision, please email:

Students undertaking doctoral studies can also access support from the Doctoral College. 


Dan Kid

Director of Registry Services

Dan Kidd Director of Registry Services


For more information please contact the Corporate Communications Team.

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