(Site last updated 21 February 2013)
The Open University welcomes you into a vibrant and expanding research community. We aim to provide excellence in research through our support structures, intellectual endeavour and research facilities thus furthering the advancement of the University, staff and research students.
You can find out more about The Open University's mission by clicking the link below.
This online handbook is your introduction to the University’s academic and administrative arrangements for research degree study. It tells you about the services available and offers advice about what to do if you have difficulties with your studies.
We suggest that you look quickly through the handbook before you start your studies, to familiarise yourself with its contents. You’ll need to refer to it throughout your studies, whenever you need information about the research degree programme. The handbook will be revised regularly, usually annually.
Addresses of all the central offices and departments mentioned are in Part 4.
The handbook has been prepared by the Research Degrees Office and the Student Services Communications Team of The Open University.
While we have done everything possible to ensure accuracy, the information in this handbook may change during the life of this edition due to changes in regulations or policy, or because of financial or other constraints. When regulations and policies are updated, the most current edition will apply to all students irrespective of when you registered, unless special provision is made for particular groups or cohorts of students.
Please note that some telephone calls to the University may be monitored for staff training purposes.
The handbook is divided into four parts:top ^
Part 1 provides an overview of important information about the University of particular interest to research students. It tells you about our support structures and describes our academic arrangements and some of the processes we use to help us administer your research studies.top ^
Each qualification is governed by a set of regulations which forms part of the contractual agreement between the University and each student registered for that qualification. The regulations relating to research qualifications are set out in Part 2 of the handbook. Our Student Regulations which apply to all Open University students are not included in this handbook but are published on our website at:
The Codes of Practice set out a framework for the conduct of research students and their supervisors, and serve as a standard for external audits and research degree appeals. Our procedures set out our formal framework for appealing against decisions made by the University and our policies set out the University’s policy on a range of issues.top ^
Part 4 sets out some useful contact details for you to use should you wish to get in touch with us at any time during your studies.top ^
If you are studying for the Doctorate in Education (EdD), you'll find that some parts of this handbook don't apply to you. Section 8 and Section 10.4 provide information specifically for EdD students.top ^
If you are studying for the Master of Research (MRes), you’ll find some parts of this handbook don’t apply to you. Section 9 and Section 10.3 provide information for MRes students only.top ^