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PGR regulations

All postgraduate research programmes at the University of Manchester are governed by a set of ordinances and regulations.

Postgraduate education is also managed through the University’s Code of Practice which covers the different policy areas listed below:

  • Admission to the Degree
  • Duration of the Degree
  • Submission Pending Period
  • Skills Development
  • Progression
  • Study Away From the University
  • Change of Institution During the PhD Degree
  • Interruption of the Degree
  • Changes to the Nature of the Degree
  • Thesis Submission
  • Registration and Fees
  • Content and Length of Thesis
  • Examination

For any queries relating to degree regulations - or for further guidance on the application of the Code of Practice policies within the Faculty - please contact the Doctoral Academy.

Faculty guidance for Early Career Researchers and Postdocs

Early Career Researchers (ECRs) – are normally defined as lecturer or fellow within 10 years of receiving their doctoral degree (excluding any career breaks as agreed with their Head of Division).  ECRs that do not meet the Primary Supervisor eligibility criteria set out in the published University Policy should note the following updates: 

  • ECRs can be listed as Primary Supervisor for the purpose of the application and adverts for funded/self-funded projects but must have a suitable experienced co-supervisor
  • When making a formal offer to a PGR, the ECR will be recorded as a co-supervisor on the PGR's record (they can have majority % credit share on application/project and subsequent offer)
  • University policy will allow them to convert to Primary Supervisor at the end of the PGR's first year of study as long as the:

-          PGR has progressed, without any concerns or remedial action, into the second year of their programme;

-          ECR has completed the relevant aspects of the New Academics Programme;

-          ECR holds a contract that exceeds the PGR's anticipated submission date;

-          original Primary Supervisor remains part of the supervisory team and actively supports/mentors the ECR in their role as main supervisor.

Individuals should indicate their ECR status on project calls and be listed as the Co-Supervisor on the Admissions Proforma when an offer is to be sent.  It is the ECRs responsibility to contact the Doctoral Academy following successful completion of the first year to request a change in supervisory team.

In some circumstances, a supervisor may wish to nominate a postdoc as co-supervisor.  This can be considered but will depend on the composition of the entire supervisory team and contract duration of the postdoc.  If Senior Tutors/Tutors are unsure whether it is appropriate to allow a postdoc to act as co-supervisor, please seek guidance from the Doctoral Academy Admissions team or your School PGR Director.  If approved, it is expected that the postdoc attends the relevant sessions as part of the New Academics Programme.

PGR Supervisor issues

The Doctoral Academy Management Group, through School Postgraduate Research Committees (PGRCs) and PGR Directors have a responsibility to ensure all PGRs have the highest quality supervision.  In rare cases of inadequate supervision, PGR Directors and Senior Tutors will follow this flowchart, to ensure any issues are dealt with promptly and consistently.

Registration with professional bodies of students conducting research in a clinical setting

It is a supervisor’s responsibility to determine whether ‘clinical activity’ (eg history taking, evaluation or examination of patients, invasive or non-invasive procedures, tests etc) included within a PGR student’s programme of research requires the student to be registered with the appropriate UK professional body in order for them to undertake the activity. Brief guidance on some professional bodies' requirement for registration is given below. If you are unsure about whether your planned activity requires student registration, then it is your responsibility to contact the professional body, by email, to find out; you should retain such correspondence for future reference.

If registration is required, it is your responsibly to ensure that the student has, or obtains, the appropriate registration before the activity begins. Permitting a student without relevant registration with a UK professional body to carry out any activity that requires such registration, may result in disciplinary action by the professional body and the University. In addition, in all instances of research in the clinical setting, specific and informed consent must be sought from the research participants. The status of the researcher must be clear to a participant i.e., there should be no misconception that the person is a registered practitioner in the UK if they are not.

Students will not be granted an extension to programme due to delays in the progression of their research caused by failure to obtain appropriate registration in a timely manner. Therefore, supervisors should ensure that the student is appropriately registered prior to starting their PGR programme. If this is not possible, supervisors should discuss the circumstances with the Senior Divisional Tutor, who may be able to agree to the student starting their programme of study in advance of the registration being in place.

Guidance from professional bodies

General Medical Council - Any contact and evaluation of patients would require registration. Only non-medical research e.g. questionnaires and observational studies with no patient assessments of any type can be conducted without registration.

General Dental Council - A student can only be in a clinical setting without registration if they are en route to becoming qualified or are qualified but require registration to practise. In some cases, they can work as a trainee dentist when they complete, before their registration comes through, if they have indemnity/course clearance. Anything that constitutes the 'practice of dentistry' requires registration or training for registration.

Nursing and Midwifery Council - Students can perform tasks without registration that are considered Band 4 or below e.g. performing questionnaires. They can be in the clinical setting and observe but cannot undertake any clinical practice without registration.