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  • Do I have to live in Milton Keynes?

    Full-time students are required to live within easy commutable distance of the Walton Hall campus, Milton Keynes, to ensure you can engage fully with your research and university life in general. You will be expected to come to the campus every day, to have regular contact with your supervisor(s), academic staff and other students, and to participate in induction and training activities. If in exceptional circumstances, you need to live further away you must obtain approval from the faculty to which you are applying for a residency waiver.

    If you are applying for part-time study you will need to be resident in the UK for the duration of your studies.  Exceptionally this requirement can be waived if the University is satisfied that you can engage fully with your research.  You would still be required to travel to the UK regularly at your own expense and to take your examination in the UK.  Students who are based outside the UK or who do not meet the criteria to be considered a ‘Home’ or ‘EU’ student may be required to pay a higher fee.  Please contact us for advice.

  • What support will I get?

    As an OU student you will be assigned at least two internal supervisors who are University academic staff. Some students have an additional external supervisor.

    Our supervisors draw on their own experience of the subject to guide you, and give encouragement and critical advice. They will also advise you in the preparation of your written thesis. See Being a student for more information.

    You will also attend induction and training events, and you will be supported administratively by the Research Degrees Office.  In 2013 we will be launching a Virtual Research Environment (VRE) where you can access resources to support your studies, and build up a virtual network of fellow students and research staff.

  • How much contact time/attendance is expected of me?

    Full time students are required to study for a minimum of 35 hours a week.  See ‘Supervision and how it works’ in Being a student for further details. There are limits on the number of hours you are allowed to spend in paid work while you are a full-time research student.

    Part-time students should normally expect to spend at least 18 hours a week studying.

  • I am a non-EEA student. Can the OU sponsor me for a student visa?

    Yes, the UK Border Agency has licensed the Open University to recruit and register non-EEA students. We will ask you for some information about your circumstances on your application form and at interview.  We will also check your documents when you register.  If you are in the UK, or coming to the UK, on a dependants’ visa, we advise you to apply for a visa for yourself, to ensure you retain the right to remain in the UK for the duration of your study.  If you are not from a majority English-speaking country you will also need to demonstrate that your level of English speaking, reading, writing and listening is adequate for postgraduate study. See the Overseas students section of 'Being a student.'

  • Can I bring my dependants with me to the UK? Is there any support available?

    Yes, within the rules set out by the UK Border Agency. See the Overseas students section of 'Being a student.'

  • Will I be able to go to conferences / present papers at conferences?

    You will be encouraged to do so, as the ability to present your research and to receive constructive criticism are important skills to develop during your doctoral studies.  See Being a student.

  • What training will the OU provide in research methods?

    The Open University provides a programme of training for the duration of your doctoral studies in line with the Vitae framework. Additionally, you will receive training in developing discipline based skills, and you will have access to the PhD Skills website to support your training. See Being a student.

  • Can I study other OU courses?

    Full-time and part-time research students are eligible to study for an additional OU taught course, as part of research degree training, following approval from your supervisors and head of discipline. Once approval has been given the supervisors will contact the research degrees team to register you on the chosen course. You may not study at any other University while you are registered as an Open University student.

  • What library facilities / access to databases etc does the OU have?

    For details, see the Research facilities section of 'Being a student.'

  • What IT facilities does the OU have?

    For details, see the Research facilities section of 'Being a student.'

  • What experimental facilities does the OU have?

    For details, see the Research facilities section of 'Being a student.'

  • What social clubs / activities are available at the OU and in MK?

    For details, see Living in Milton Keynes and Life on campus in 'Being a student.'

  • Where can I get advice about living in MK?

    Milton Keynes is a vibrant, busy city with a wide range of accommodation.  Although there is no student accommodation on campus, we can help you find a place to live, especially if you are an international student. If your application is successful, we will send you information about our accommodation advice service with your offer of a place..  There is more information about living in Milton Keynes.