The Award Regulations must be read in conjunction with the Student Regulations. Please see in particular regulations OU 1.1 to OU 1.3, OU 3 and OU 8.top ^
The terms defined below may be used in these regulations.
This is an award that you can qualify for by successfully completing a number of individual courses, each complete in itself, which combine to form the award and that all involve studying for all or part of one academic year.
This is an award that you can qualify for by successfully completing a single course.
GA 1 Registration
GA 1.1 Registration as a student and for an award
As well as registering as a student to study a particular course you can also register for a particular award of The Open University. Most of the awards we offer are credit based. We also offer certain unitary awards. The award regulations define the requirements that you must meet, as well as following the student regulations, to register for and become eligible for an award of the University.
GA 2 Eligibility
GA 2.1 Eligibility and registration
To be eligible for an award you must register for it. For some awards you must register for the award before you start your study.
Award Regulations GA3 to GA6 are about arrangements for awards that comprise taught courses and so do not apply to research degree awards.
Master of Philosophy
Doctor of Philosophy
RD 1.1 The following research degrees by thesis are conferred by the University: Master of Philosophy, referred to as MPhil; Doctor of Philosophy, referred to as PhD. The awards will be made on the successful completion of programmes of advanced study and research. Holders of these awards are permitted to use the letters MPhil (Open) or PhD (Open) as appropriate after their names.top ^
RD 2.1 To be registered as a research student of the University you must comply with regulations RD 2.1.1 to RD 2.1.6.
RD 2.1.1 You must satisfy Student Regulation OU 8.
RD 2.1.2 You must show evidence of suitable preparation for postgraduate study. The normal entrance requirement is a good honours degree or a higher degree of a UK university or other recognised degree-awarding body.
RD 2.1.3 If you do not satisfy regulation RD 2.1.2 but can show that your qualifications, professional experience or previous research are an appropriate preparation for postgraduate work within the proposed field of study, your application will, in certain circumstances, be considered.
RD 2.1.4 Unless you are registered through an affiliated research centre you must be resident in the UK. In exceptional circumstances your application will be considered if you are a UK citizen whose topic of study necessitates residence overseas. If you are a part-time student and have already commenced your studies and are making satisfactory progress, you may apply to continue your studies overseas.
RD 2.1.5 You must be accepted as a student for a course of advanced study or research in a field approved by the University and for which arrangements have been made or approved by the University in respect of supervision and research facilities.
RD 2.1.6 You must assign your intellectual property rights to The Open University unless you are bound by an intellectual property agreement with a third party.
RD 2.2 You may be registered as a full-time student or a part-time student. How the type of registration affects your work is set out in regulations RD 2.2.1 to RD 2.2.5.
RD 2.2.1 If you are registered as a full-time internal student, you will work on a research project directed by a member(s) of Open University academic staff at the Open University headquarters.
RD 2.2.2 If you are registered as a part-time external student, you will work part-time in your home area using research and study facilities there.
RD 2.2.3 If you are a member of the University full-time staff reading for a research degree, you will be registered as a part-time internal student.
RD 2.2.4 If you are registered as a student in a sponsoring establishment, you will work on a research project through a sponsoring establishment which will provide suitable facilities.
RD 2.3 While registered as a research student of this University, you may not study for any other degree or qualification at this University or at any other institution unless granted permission to do so as part of your research degree training.
RD 2.4 On admission to the research degree programme you will be registered for the degree of Master of Philosophy (MPhil). Your registration is governed by either regulation RD 2.4.1 or regulation RD 2.4.2 and regulation RD 2.4.3.
RD 2.4.1 If you are a part-time student, your first two-year period of registration will be probationary.
RD 2.4.2 If you are a full-time student there will be a major review of your academic progress before the first anniversary of your registration.
RD 2.4.3 Before the end of your probationary registration your progress will be assessed against established benchmarks and a recommendation will be made to the Research Degrees Committee about whether:
a) your probation and registration for the degree of Master of Philosophy (MPhil) should be confirmed
b) your probation should be confirmed and you should be registered for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
c) your probationary registration should be terminated for failure to make satisfactory academic progress.
RD 3.1 If you are a full-time internal student, a single composite fee is payable annually throughout the period of your registration.
RD 3.2 If you are a part-time external student, your liability for the registration fee is incurred annually until you submit your thesis or formal notice of withdrawal from your registration.
RD 3.3 If you are a part-time internal student, there are separate arrangements for your fees.
RD 3.4 If you are a student registered through a sponsoring establishment, a single composite fee is payable annually throughout the period of your registration. The sponsoring establishment is responsible for collection and payment of the fees, however you remain liable for payment.
RD 3.5 If you are awarded the result of permission to resubmit a thesis, your fee liability will be resumed as from the date of this result, up to and including the quarter in which you notify the University of withdrawal or resubmit your thesis for examination.
RD 4.1 Credit regulations do not apply to these unitary awards.top ^
RD 5.1 The University provides research facilities for internal students only.
RD 5.2 You must be allocated to supervisors appointed by the Senate.
RD 5.3 You are required to attend regularly for supervision.
RD 5.4 You must spend a minimum period of study before submission of your thesis. The following table sets out the required period of study for full-time and part-time students.
|Full-time students||MPhil||1 yr 3 m||4 yr|
|PhD||2 yr||4 yr|
|Part-time students*||MPhil||2 yr||6 yr|
|PhD||3 yr||6 yr|
Registration extensions will only be granted in the most exceptional circumstances*.
RD 5.5 Research or other work undertaken before registration as a research student cannot count as part of the minimum period of study required before the submission of a thesis for the award of a research degree.
RD 5.6 If you fail to make satisfactory progress you will cease to be a registered student of the University.
RD 5.7 If you are a full-time student your research degree registration may be suspended, usually only on grounds of certified serious ill-health, for a maximum of twelve months in total. Periods of suspension do not count towards the maximum four-year registration period.
RD 5.8 If you are a part-time student your research degree registration may be suspended for a maximum of twenty-four months in total. You may request a suspension of your registration on grounds of serious ill-health or because of personal, family or work-related difficulties. Suspensions will normally only be approved by the Research Degrees Committee in periods of three, six, nine or twelve months. Periods of suspension do not count towards the maximum six-year registration period.
RD 5.9 You must give three months’ notice, in writing, of your intention to submit a thesis for the award of a research degree.
RD 5.10 If your supervisors report that you have completed the normal minimum period of study required for the degree, but have not developed the topic of your thesis to a level which justifies its submission to examiners, the Senate may require you to undertake further research.
RD 6.1 You will be required to submit, within the appropriate maximum period of study, three copies of a thesis on the research or study completed. Your thesis must conform to regulation RD 6.2 and must also conform to regulation RD 6.1.1 or RD 6.1.2 as appropriate.
RD 6.1.1 MPhil Your thesis must show evidence of:
a) your proficiency in the methods and techniques of research
b) good style and presentation
c) an adequate knowledge and/or understanding and critical evaluation and discussion of a field of study in an appropriate context
d) initiative and independence of thought.
Your thesis must also be a distinct contribution to scholarship. You will be required to attend a viva voce (oral) examination on your thesis.
RD 6.1.2 PhD Your thesis must:
a) be of good presentation and style
b) be a significant contribution to knowledge and/or to understanding
c) demonstrate your capacity to pursue further research without supervision
d) contain a significant amount of material worthy of publication or public presentation.
You will be required to attend a viva voce (oral) examination on your thesis.
RD 6.2 Regulations RD 6.2.1 to RD 6.2.14 apply to any thesis submitted for a research degree.
RD 6.2.1 The work must be written in English unless:
a) you have been given permission, under the terms of your letter of registration as a student of the University, to submit the work in Welsh
b) you have been given permission, under the terms of your letter of registration as a student of the University, to submit the work in Gaelic.
Brief quotations in foreign languages are permitted.
RD 6.2.2 The length of your thesis must be appropriate to the subject area covered and must not exceed 60,000 words (including footnotes) for the Master of Philosophy or 100,000 words for the Doctor of Philosophy. If you want to submit a thesis of greater length, you must apply for approval to the Research Degrees Committee well in advance of the notification of submission of your thesis.
RD 6.2.3 You must submit for examination:
a) three copies of your thesis, including supporting material (e.g. diagrams and non-book media)
b) four copies of an abstract of the thesis, not exceeding 300 words, in a form suitable for publication; one copy must be placed at the front of each copy of the thesis and bound with the text (if you are awarded the degree, the University may publish this abstract in any manner approved by the Senate)
c) a statement as to what part, if any, of the material offered has previously been submitted by you for a degree or other qualification to this or any other university or institution, and, if joint work is submitted, what part of it is your independent contribution.
RD 6.2.4 You must indicate, in the thesis and in the accompanying statement, any material which has been published.
RD 6.2.5 You may not submit for a research degree material that has been incorporated in a previous submission for a degree of this or any other awarding body. However, reference may be made to such material provided that this is clearly acknowledged within the thesis and in the accompanying statement.
RD 6.2.6 You are required to submit your work in a condition suitable for preservation in the University Library.
RD 6.2.7 If you are successful, two copies of your thesis and any supporting material (e.g. diagrams and non-book media) will be deposited in the University Library. The third copy will be held by your academic unit. However, if you are registered through a sponsoring establishment, you will, instead, be required to deposit the third copy in the library of that establishment, and, if you have a collaborating establishment or establishments, you may also be required to deposit a copy in the library of each of those establishments.
RD 6.2.8 There must be no restriction of access to a thesis for which a research degree has been awarded. You must submit, together with your thesis, a statement in which you agree that the work, if approved for the degree in question, be deposited in the University Library and:
a) may be made available at the discretion of the Director of Library Services
b) may be photocopied at the discretion of the Director of Library Services.
Under exceptional circumstances, and subject to the approval of the Senate, you may restrict access to your thesis for a maximum period of two years from the date of the award of the degree. Approval for restriction must be obtained before you register for a research degree.
RD 6.2.9 The text of the work must be typed on international A4 (297 mm x 210 mm) paper of good quality; it may be typewritten or printed on both sides of the paper. The typescript must have double spacing. The minimum widths of margins must be as follows:
The pages must be numbered consecutively. A contents list and a table of illustrations (if any) must be provided. A list of all separate items appended (e.g. maps, plans, slides, tapes, films, etc.) must be provided. The work must carry on its title page:
An abstract of the thesis, as specified in regulation RD 6.2.3 (b), must be placed at the front of each copy and bound with the text.
RD 6.2.10 The examination copies need not be fully bound until after the examination; this will enable you to complete any corrections required by examination panels without having to unbind and rebind the thesis. For the examination, all copies should have the leaves securely fixed within a folder or binder or by a spine (i.e. fixed so that the pages remain secure in the cover when the volume is opened fully). Folders which release the pages when opened are not acceptable, nor are loose pages submitted in a wallet folder. Care should be taken if ring binding is used that the holes punched in the pages do not make binding after the examination impossible. Three copies of the thesis must be submitted for examination. If you are successful, two copies will be deposited in the University Library, one fully bound (as specified in regulation RD 6.2.11 and one bound to a less rigorous specification (as specified in regulation RD 6.2.12).
RD 6.2.11 One of the two copies to be deposited with the University must be sewn with thread and bound in a fixed binding of black boards with cloth or in full cloth in the manner of a book. The volumes should bear on the spine, in lettering running from the top to the bottom:
The leaves of the typescript should be clean and not mutilated by dog-ear folding, manuscript comments, underlining, etc.
RD 6.2.12 The second copy for deposit in the University Library need not conform to the full binding specifications given in regulation RD 6.2.11. Its leaves must be secured in order, by some means which ensures that they remain firmly in place when the volume is in use. Stapling is an adequate means of securing leaves up to a thickness of 1.5 inch (40 mm). If the leaves are more than 40 mm thick, the thesis should be divided into more than one volume. Each volume should be marked to show its position in the set (e.g. if there are three volumes, they should be marked Volume 1 of 3, Volume 2 of 3 and Volume 3 of 3 respectively). The stapled volumes should be cased in stout card covers to protect them adequately when in use. Comb bindings and the use of spring binders or plastic slide clips to grip unstapled sheets are not satisfactory as they fail to hold the sheets together during use. The leaves of the typescript should be clean and not mutilated by dog-ear folding, manuscript comments, underlining, etc.
RD 6.2.13 The third copy (to be held by your academic unit or sponsoring establishment) should also be securely bound to the lesser specification given in regulation RD 6.2.12.
RD 6.2.14 Work submitted in other forms (e.g. non-book media such as film, slide, audio tape, etc.) should be recorded by a suitable process on good quality stock. The system used should produce a durable item suited to preservation over a long period without excessive deterioration of the message. The item should be suited to viewing or playback on equipment in use at the University. The item should be provided with an appropriate container approved by the Director of Library Services and bear on its exterior the particulars listed in regulation RD 6.2.11. (You should consult the Director of Library Services about the specifications for all such items that you intend to submit as part of your thesis.)
RD 7.1 A thesis submitted for the award of a research degree will be submitted to internal and external examiners appointed by the Senate. The examiners may find the thesis to be:
b) acceptable after corrections and minor modifications which you must implement satisfactorily before the degree may be awarded
c) acceptable after substantial amendment which you must implement satisfactorily before the degree may be awarded
d) acceptable after major revision and resubmission
RD 7.2 Where corrections and/or minor revisions to a thesis are required after the examination, these must be completed within two months of the date of the examination result letter; where major revisions are required, the revised thesis must be submitted within six months of the date of the examination result letter.
RD 7.3 Where major revision and resubmission of a thesis for re-examination is required after the examination, this must be completed within 12 months of the date of the examination result letter.
RD 7.4 You are permitted only one resubmission of your thesis where an examination panel is re-examining your thesis after major revision and resubmission (see regulation RD 7.1 (d)). This result recommendation may not be made again.
RD 8.1 You may appeal against the following academic decisions of the University:
a) termination of registration to read for a higher degree
b) registration for a particular higher degree
c) refusal of permission to submit a thesis
d) the result of the examination of a thesis.
RD 8.2 The procedure relating to appeals must be published in the Research Degree Student Handbook.