The Graduate School is here to offer support and guidance to all doctoral students throughout their research journey. Important information is contained in the current students pages, and this may answer many of your questions. If you require further assistance please contact the Graduate School Team at graduateschool@qmu.ac.uk.

Key Stages - PhD

Candidates enrolled on the QMU PhD Programme are required to successfully navigate through a number of key progression points.  It is important that candidates are aware of their progression points, deadlines and the submission requirements of their programme. All candidates are encouraged to refer to the PhD Doctoral Candidate Handbook as this is a useful source of information regarding PhD progressions requirements.

Key stage submissions should be emailed to the Graduate School Team 

 

1. Outline Proposal and Learning Contract (OPLC)

Submission of the OPLC is due 1-2 months (full time) or 2-4 months (part time) from the date of registration. 

Outline Proposal Form

 

2. PhD Probationary Assessment and Viva

Submission of the written report is due 5 months (full time) or 10 months (part time) from the date of registration. Regulatory information is provided in Section 6.3 of the PhD Regulations (2015). The viva will be organised by the Graduate School following submission of the written report. All candidates must successfully pass the Probationary Assessment within the permitted time limits in order to be fully confirmed as a PhD candidate.

Probationary Assessment Submission Form 

Probationary assessment guidance for students

Probationary assessment guidance for assessors

Preliminary Report

Joint Report

Joint Report (Resubmission)

 

3.  PhD Assessed Seminar 1

All PhD students must participate in an Assessed Seminar 1. This is delivered at the end of year 2 (full time) or year 4 (part time) . This progression step must be concluded before candidates can enter year 3 (full time) or years 5/6 (part time).  Please refer to Section 6.4 of the PhD Regulations (2015) and the PhD Assessed Seminar (Year 2 or 4) Guidance document.

Joint Report Form (for assessors)

 

4. PhD Assessed Seminar 2

All PhD students must participate in an Assessed Seminar 2 in year 3 (full time) or year 6 (part time) of their studies. This progression step must be concluded before submission of the final thesis. Please refer to Section 6.4 of the PhD Regulations (2015) and the PhD Assessed Seminar (Year 3/6) Guidance document.

Joint Report Form

 

5. Annual Progress Reports

All candidates and Supervisory Chairs must submit an Annual Progress Report, normally in September each year.

APRs are  submitted electronically and a link to the online form and submission deadline will be emailed to candidates (to university email accounts only) and supervisors in September. 

The submission deadline and form link will also be provided via the Doctoral Hub Page at the appropriate time.

 

6. Submission of thesis

Students should aim to submit thesis for formal examination at the end of their 3rd year of study. Candidates should refer to Section 9 of the PhD Regulations (2015) for guidance on examination regulations and Section 10 for guidance on formatting and binding of the thesis. The Doctoral Student Thesis Declaration Form must also be completed and signed by all supervisors. This form must be submitted with the hard copies of the thesis.

 

7. Oral Examination (or viva)

The viva will be organised by the Graduate School after the submission of the thesis and doctoral declaration form.

The Supervisory Chair should complete the PhD Nomination of Examiners form (fully complete with examiner's CV information) and email it to the Graduate School approximately 3 months in advance of thesis submission.

PhD Regulations (2015)

Preliminary Report Form

Preliminary Report Form (Resubmission)

Joint Report Form

Joint Report Form (Resubmission)

 

Supervision meetings

Full time candidates should be meeting with their supervision team at least monthly.  Part time candidates should be meeting with their supervision team at least once every 2 months.  It is the candidates responsibility to keep a formal record of each formal meeting.

Doctoral Supervision Record Form 

 

Need help?

If you require further guidance on the administrative aspects of your programme, please email the Graduate School Team.

For academic queries, please seek guidance from the supervision team in the first instance.

 

Key Stages - Professional Doctorate

Structurally, the Professional Doctorate is a modular credit accumulation programme. The general structure of the QMU professional doctorate is to complete four stages or modules as detailed below:

  • XD025 - Theory and context of professional practice (90 credits)
  • XD026 - Development and evaluation of professional practice (90 credits)
  • XD011 - Doctoral Research Module (60 credits)
  • XD015 - Doctoral Thesis and oral examination (180 credits)
  • Annual Progress Reports (APRs) - progression requirement.

Further details can be found on our Professional Doctorate page.

NB: XD025/026/011 are administered by the School Office. XD015 and oral exam is administered by the Graduate School.

XD025 - Theory and context of professional practice (90 credits)

The aim of Theory and Context of Professional Practice (TCPP) is to facilitate students to critically debate the principal theories and concepts within the student’s area of practice; and to identify and conceptualise a work based issue in order to effectively develop an advancement of practice. Assessment consists of a 3000 word written assignment and a portfolio of evidence with a 6000 word critical commentary.

XD026 - Development and evaluation of professional practice (90 credits)

The aim of Development and Evaluation of Professional Practice (DEPP) is to enable the student to effectively develop, implement and critically evaluate an element of a proposed advancement in practice. DEPP allows the student to reflect on the learning undertaken in Theory and Context of Professional Practice, to review and refine their needs in relation to advancing professional practice and to plan, undertake and report a contained piece of evaluative work in a systematic and rigorous manner. Students submit evidence in a 9000 word portfolio for assessment.

XD011 - Doctoral Research Module (60 credits)

The module aims to facilitate the development of a robust feasible, research proposal to address a specific research topic. This research proposal is then implemented through undertaking the thesis. Assessment is via a presentation and defence of a research proposal to peers (assessed summatively) with feedback based criteria for probationary assessments (20%). Also, submission of a full research proposal 6000 words in length, describing and justifying the research project (80%).

XD015 - Thesis

The thesis aims to facilitate the student to consolidate doctoral skills through undertaking a sustained, coherent and robust piece of research of relevance to the professional context of the student. Assessment through a 45,000 word thesis marked and judged by internal and external examiners through scrutiny and viva voice (oral) examination.

Thesis submission guidance

Refer to Section 9 of the Professional Doctorate Regulations for guidance on examination requirements. Refer to Appendix 1 (Part B) for guidance on formatting and binding of the thesis. The Doctoral Student Thesis Declaration Form must be completed and signed by all supervisors. This form must be submitted with the hard copies of the thesis.

The Supervisory Chair should complete the Prof Doc Nomination of Examiners form (fully complete with examiner's CV information) and email it to the Graduate School approx. 8-12 weeks in advance of thesis submission.  Oral examinations cannot be organised until the examination team is approve by the Graduate School Academic Board.

Guidance for Prof Doc Examiners

Preliminary Report Form

Preliminary Report Form (Resubmission)

Joint Report Form

Joint Report Form (Resubmission)

 

Supervision meetings

Full time candidates should be meeting with their supervision team at least monthly.  Part time candidates should be meeting with their supervision team at least once every 2 months.  It is the candidates responsibility to keep a formal record of each formal meeting.

Doctoral Supervision Record Form 

 

Annual Progress Reports

All candidates and Supervisory Chairs are required to submit an Annual Progress Report each year, normally in September. 

APRs are now submitted electronically and a link to the form and submission deadline will be emailed (to university email accounts only) to candidates and supervisors in September each year. 

The submission deadline and form link will also provided via the Doctoral Hub Page at the appropriate time.

 

Regulations and Handbooks

All candidates are encouraged to refer to the Professional Doctorate Regulations that govern their programme. The Prof Doc Doctoral Candidate Handbook are also useful sources of information regarding the programme.

Doctoral Regulations

The Graduate School is maintained by the Graduate School Team in the Division of Governance and Quality Enhancement (GQE). Our aim at GQE is to provide an accessible and up-to-date reference point for all regulations, policies and procedures that govern the quality of the doctoral academic experience at QMU.

 

Doctoral Regulations

These publications should be referred to if you have any procedural queries.

 

PhD Regulations

QMU published revised regulations for PhD degree in September 2015. The PhD Regulations (2015) now apply to all new and transitioned candidates with effect from September 2015.

PhD Regulations (from September 2015)

Candidates who commenced PhD studies before Sept 2015 have all been notified by email of their transition arrangements, with some candidates remaining on the PhD Regulations (2012).

Research Degree (PhD) Regulations (September 2012)

 

Professional Doctorate Regulations

These regulations apply in their entirety for all candidates first matriculating on the Professional Doctorate programme from September 2016 onwards. They also apply in full for most continuing Professional Doctorate candidates.

Professional Doctorate Regulations (September 2016)

Candidates who commenced Professional Doctorate studies before Sept 2016 have all been notified by email of their transition arrangements, with some candidates remaining on the Professional Doctorate Regulations (2012).

Professional Doctorate Regulations (September 2012, updated September 2015 to reflect structural changes)

 

PhD by Publication

These regulations apply in their entirety for all candidates matriculating on the PhD by Publication.  This programme is only open to QMU staff members at present.

PhD by Publication

 

Code of Practice and Handbooks

In the case of any appeal, candidates and supervisors will be deemed to have read programme regulations and all relevant institutional Codes of Practice and Handbooks.

The research degree Code of Practice provides information on entitlements and responsibilities as a doctoral student at QMU. It is relevant to both students and supervisors.

All candidates are encouraged to refer to the PhD or Prof Doc Doctoral Candidate Handbooks as these are useful source of information regarding the doctoral programmes. 

For further information please contact the Graduate School Team.

Changes and Requests

During the course of your studies it may be necessary for you seek approval to make changes to your programme. All requests are considered by members of the Graduate School Academic Board. Please note that the submission of a request does not guarantee GSAB approval. In all instances, the Graduate School will formally notify you of the GSAB's decision via email.

Completed forms should be sent to the Graduate School team (cc'd to supervisors).

 

Extension to probationary assessment deadline

If you are unable to meet the 5 (or 10) month deadline for your probationary assessment, please make a request for an extension. Please ensure you provide justification for your request and explain why you haven't been able to submit your probationary report within the regulatory timeframe.

Probationary Assessment Deadline Extension Form to be completed by you and supported by your supervision team.

 

Suspension of study

If you are prevented from making due progress by ill-health or another significant cause you may apply to suspend your studies for between 1 and 12 months in the first instance. A request for suspension on medical grounds must be supported by a letter from your doctor. The maximum total period of suspension is normally 24 months. No fee is payable during a full year of continuous suspension. Suspension requests should not be made retrospectively (unless there is a strong justifiable reason for doing so) therefore it is important to be proactive in submitting your application. Suspension requests are considered by members of the Graduate School Academic Board.

Suspension request form to be completed by you and supported by your supervision team.

 

Change in mode of study

You may apply to change your mode of study from full-time to part-time or vice versa if you have good cause. It is not normally possible to request a change in mode of study retrospectively.

Change in mode of study form to be completed by you and supported by your supervision team.

 

Change in Supervisory Arrangements    

During the course of your studies it may be necessary to make a change to your supervisory team. For example, this may be the case if a member of your team has any long term leave planned such as maternity leave or research leave or in the event that a supervisor experiences a longer than three month absence due to unforeseen circumstances. It may also be appropriate to request additional supervisors if they can offer an area of expertise that is required for your research project.

Change in supervision form to be completed by you and supported by your supervision team.

 

Extension to Programme Registration

An application for an extension to the period of study beyond the maximum (4 years full time and 8 years part time) may only be made in the most exceptional circumstances.

Extension form to be completed by you and supported by your supervision team.

 

Withdrawal

If you are considering withdrawing from the doctoral programme please contact your supervisory team and/or the Graduate School Team.

Withdrawal form to be completed by you and supported by your supervision team.

International Students (Tier 4)

We are proud of the support we provide to International Students studying with us, and the contribution those students make to the University community. The policies and procedures set out below are designed to ensure that International Students can continue to enjoy their education at Queen Margaret University whilst at the same time satisfying the legal requirements placed on them and the University by the UK Government.

Tier 4 Visa Guidance for Students

Visa Guidance for Students

This document provides important guidance for International Students studying at the University, and includes information and dates for the progression & attendance registration (“sign-in”) process.  If candidates are unable to "sign in" due to illness, the Graduate School must be informed before the end of the formal sign in week.

Requesting a period of absence

If you require an extended period of absence away from campus then you must apply for Graduate School approval. This is mandatory for all international doctoral students studying at QMU on a Tier 4 visa.  

Approval for absence must be given before you leave the UK and no period of absence should be longer than 60 days.

Reasons for requesting approval for an extended absence include data collection, remote research or extended leave to holiday in home country. To request a period of absence, email the following information to the Graduate School Team (cc'd to supervisors).

  • Date of departure from UK
  • Date of return to UK
  • Your location during the absence period 
  • Your contact details (address, telephone number) where you will be contactable during your absence period.
  • Reason for absence (e.g. data collection, conference, personal holiday). If absence is due to a medical reason, please submit supporting evidence.

OR you may also complete and submit the Doctoral Absence Request Form.

Candidates should note that retrospective requests for absence are not accepted and will be noted as an unauthorised absence. Repeated incidences of unauthorised absence may result in withdrawal of University sponsorship and cancellation of the visa.

Absent for more than 30 days?

If you are absent for more than 30 days, please submit a monthly progress update to the Graduate School by emailing the Absence "Sign In" Form to graduateschool@qmu.ac.uk (cc'd to supervisors).  This should be done on the first Monday of each calendar month of absence.

Please use the Student Absence Form - Post Thesis Submission if you are unable to sign-in in the period between submission of your thesis and the thesis viva.

Doctorate Extension Scheme

The Tier 4 Doctorate Extension Scheme (DES) allows students who are nearing completion of a PhD or Professional Doctorate to apply for a 12 month period of extension to their visa. During this period the student can look for and undertake work, set up as an entrepreneur, or gain practical work experience in their field.

DES Application Procedure

This document provides an overview of University’s sponsorship application process.

DES CAS Request Form

This form should be completed by students who wish to apply for a visa under the Tier 4 Doctorate Extension Scheme.

Please ensure that you meet all of the eligibility criteria and complete all sections of the form. Completed forms should be emailed to the Graduate School Team with a scan of your current visa and passport.

DES Student Contact Form

All Sections of this form are to be completed every four months, over the period of extension granted. The initial form will be required four months following the start of the visa extension period.

Bursary Student information

APPLICATIONS FOR THE 2018 BURSARY COMPETITION ARE NOW BEING ACCEPTED - PLEASE SEE THE BURSARY COMPETITION WEBPAGE FOR DETAILED INFO. CLOSING DATE FOR APPLICATIONS IS FRI 30 MARCH 2018.

The letter of award that students would have received when they received their Offer of Study sets out the conditions of the QMU Research Degree Bursary. These conditions are in addition to those regulations that operate for all research students and are specified in the PhD Regulations.

Award Duration

Research degree bursaries are awarded for a period of 3 years of full-time study, 6 years part-time. Payment of the bursary is conditional on meeting all the progress requirements of the PhD as set out in the PhD Regulations.

The amount of the bursary per annum is as stated at the time of award. This annual amount is divided into equal monthly payments which are paid directly into students bank accounts via BACS transfer on the 25th of each month.

Full time students will receive the bursary amount / 12 months for 36 months. Part time students receive a monthly payment of 50% of the full time payment but for 72 months.

Please note that for a first year bursary student starting in September, the first monthly maintenance payment will be paid on 25th October.

The bursary maintenance payment is administered and paid by the QMU Finance department.

Research Budget

A research budget of up to £2000 will also be set up for each bursary holder. Arrangements are made with the Finance department for the lodging of funds to support a student’s research under a unique budget code within their School. This budget belongs to the School, not to the student, and formally it is the Dean of School who has overall responsibility for its management. However, in practice, this will be done in very close co-operation with the Supervisory Team.

This budget is intended to cover expenses directly related to the research work, such as equipment [including software], consumables, travel, costs of data collection and analysis, course and conference attendance. Any material items or equipment purchased from this budget remain the property of the School.

A maximum of £1000 may be spent in the first year, and the remainder will be carried forward to the second year, when an additional £600 becomes available. PhD students may carry forward any money remaining from this £1600 to their third year, when the final £400 will become available (or pro rata for part time students).

The research budget lasts for the duration of the prescribed period of study only.

Fees

The University waives tuition and bench fees for bursary holders. However, bursary holders will be liable for any continuation fee and for the examination fee in common with all other research students. The rate of the continuation or examination fee due is the fee set for the session in which it is due. All research students will also be responsible for the costs of production of all copies of the thesis for examination.

Further information on fees is available on the Registry webpages here.

Doctoral Candidates' Association

The Doctoral Candidates' Association (DCA) is a student-led initiative and they represent the voice of all doctoral candidates at QMU on a number of University-wide committees including:

  • the Graduate School Academic Board (GSAB)
  • the Research Strategy Committee (RSC)
  • the Student Experience Committee (SEC)

DCA representation ensures that doctoral candidate needs and interests are well represented throughout the institution. DCA achievements so far include:

  • Advice and Representation
  • Planning of Professional Development Opportunities
  • Information Sharing
  • Social Activities
  • The Annual QMU Doctoral Conference

The Graduate School encourages you to join the DCA Facebook Page which will keep you up to date on DCA developments. Also keep an eye out for emails from the DCA where you can find information about academic and social opportunities throughout the year.

The DCA is a student-led initiative and therefore it needs highly motivated and enthusiastic students to ensure its continued success. The DCA Co-Chairs change on a yearly basis, and those entering their second year of doctoral study have the opportunity to put themselves forward for these positions and continue the work of the association. Becoming a DCA co-chair provides an excellent personal and professional development opportunity, and allows candidates to use their own experiences to continually improve the lives of current and future doctoral candidates at QMU.

If you are interested in becoming a member of the DCA Committee please speak to the current committee members for more information.

Email the DCA 

Email address: dca@qmu.ac.uk

Training and Development

The Graduate School understands the importance of nurturing candidates through their degree programme. We offer a supportive, friendly and welcoming environment that promotes both personal and intellectual growth and doctoral candidates are supported through the provision of research training, seminar / conference opportunities and institutional support.

Doctoral skills training sessions focus on developing the skills and knowledge that candidates require in order to successfully implement and progress their doctoral research projects.  In addition, the programme serves as a forum for sharing experiences and building a supportive research culture for candidates.  Such opportunities also helps candidates enhance future career prospects through increased employability both within and outside academia.

Researcher Enhancement and Development Programme (READ)

Staff and doctoral researchers can benefit from engaging with the newly credit rated Researcher Enhancement and Development (READ) programme. READ aims to support participants to develop and enhance their knowledge, skills and abilities in creating and interpreting new knowledge through conceptualising, designing and undertaking projects and research. The READ programme is suitable for doctoral researchers and staff who wish to develop and enhance their research skills.

Please visit the READ webpage for more information.

Doctoral Study Weeks

The Centre for Academic Practice (CAP) in partnership with the Graduate School, organises and delivers a programme of doctoral research skills training and seminars for doctoral candidates in all years of study.

First year study weeks are usually during the third week of the month in September, January and April each year. First year study weeks deliver core research skills training and it is expected that all first years attend each of the three study weeks.  These study weeks help support first year candidates in developing the skills needed to be successful at doctoral level study and research.

Study weeks for continuing doctoral candidates (second year and beyond) are usually offered in November, March and May each year and offer a range of development training relevant to doctoral studies and progression.  These sessions are optional but it is expected that all doctoral candidates attend sessions of interest or benefit to their studies.

Specific dates, study week timetables and further information relating to the training sessions on offer are available for current candidates and supervisors to view on the Doctoral Hub page.

Doctoral Candidates who Teach

The Centre for Academic Practice (CAP) run a short course in facilitating learning and teaching.  Doctoral candidates who will be undertaking teaching on undergraduate courses are expected to attend this course prior to commencing teaching activities. 

More information and course dates can be found on the Centre for Academic Practice webpages.

Resources to support doctoral candidates who teach are available on CAP's Good Practice Hub Pages.

QMU CPD Scheme / Fellowship Award

The QMU CPD Scheme is a route to professional recognition for a candidates role in teaching and supporting student learning against the UK Professional Standards Framework for teaching and supporting learning in H.E. (UKPSF).

The QMU Scheme is accredited by the Higher Education Academy (HEA) and leads to professional recognition for a candidates work by the HEA at one of the three categories of fellowship according to responsibilities: Associate Fellow, Fellow or Senior Fellow. It is an opportunity for reflection on teaching and support of student learning against the UKPSF.

For Academic, technical, or professional roles, the scheme offers candidates a chance to reflect on their engagement with learning and teaching and to achieve recognition for their work. Further information is available on the QMU intranet page and handbook.

VITAE Research Development Framework (RDF) Planner

QMU has an institutional subscription to the Vitae Researcher Development Framework (RDF).  Researchers can use the RDF Planner for professional development, to identify strengths, action plan, review achievements and create a portfolio of evidence. Through the RDF Planner QMU can direct researchers to suitable courses and development opportunities linked to the RDF.

Feedback and suggestions

Please contact the Lecturer for Researcher Development should you like more information on the skills training programme or READ.  Also welcome is feedback and suggestions for specific, ad-hoc or specialist training opportunities.  

Email CAP

Graduate School

For further information or enquiries please get in touch.

Show Contacts

Graduate School

Graduate School Professional Doctorate and Ph.D Enquiries
0131 474 0000
Master Research Degree - Application Enquiries Admissions Team
0131 474 0000