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The University of Southampton
Doctoral CollegePostgraduate Research Handbook

Research Programme Information


All students are invited to attend induction meetings run by the Graduate School.  

The main/coordinating supervisor must organise the first supervisory meeting with the student and supervisory team within 2 weeks of the student commencing their studies.

Please see the induction presentations Part 1 and Part 2 and the PGR induction accompanying information, which all contain essential information to support your doctoral research experience. 

Thesis in a Language Other than English

If English is not the student's first language and they feel that they would need to submit their thesis in a language other than English, they need to discuss this with their supervisor. This decision needs to be made within the first year of candidature.

If the supervisor and student wish to request that the thesis be written in a language other than English they must complete the General Approval Form and obtain the relevant discipline Doctoral Programme Director's (DPD) signature before submitting the form to the Graduate School Office. The Director of Graduate Studies will then review the request. The Graduate School Office will then contact the student and supervisor with the outcome.

Thesis Length

If a student's thesis exceeds the prescribed length, they must complete the General Approval Form and obtain the relevant discipline DPD's signature before submitting the form the the Graduate School Office. The Director of Graduate Studies will then review the request. The Graduate School Office will then contact the student and supervisor with the outcome.

Integrated PhD

iPhDs in Applied Linguistics and Film Studies are on offer within the Faculty of Humanities.

Candidates are required to undertake the scheme of study over a period of four years full-time registration, to pass the required examinations, and to submit a thesis not more than 12 months later than the end of the fourth year of study. If part-time candidates are permitted, they are required to submit a thesis not more than 12 months later than the end of the seventh year of study. 

In the first year candidates will be required to follow a prescribed programme of modules (120 CATS credits at M-Level and 15 CATS credits at D-Level) which will be taught in the University. Candidates who successfully pass these credits and gain the required part average will be permitted to proceed to the second year of the programme.

Across the second and third years candidates must complete a further 30 CATS credits at D-Level and an advanced skills portfolio worth 15 CATS credits at D-Level and skills training sessions leading to the preparation of a thesis.

Information regarding modules on offer during years 1, 2 and 3 can be obtained from the Humanities Student Office.

Please contact Jane Glenn: for Applied Linguistics queries and Carol Churchouse: for Film Studies queries.

Information regarding skills training sessions and completing the advanced skills portfolio can be found by contacting the PGR Training team at:

For details of the timeframe for students to upgrade/confirm please refer to the relevant table in paragraph 17 of the Higher Degree Regulations.

The full time candidate’s fourth (or equivalent if part time) year will be devoted to supervised research and preparation of a thesis.

Please read the Integrated PhD Programmes Guidance found in the University's Quality Handbook. Please read paragraph 16 of the Higher Degree Regulations and the Code of Practice for Research Candidature and Supervision.


  • Students in year 1 of an iPhD programme should contact the Student Office (, 65/1121) for all enquiries.
  • Students in years 2 and 3 should also contact the Student Office if their query relates to their modules. However, students in year 2 onwards should contact the Graduate School Office (, 65/2093) for all other enquiries.

Distance Learning PhD

The PhD by Distance Learning is governed by the University's Higher Degree Regulations and the Code of Practice for Research Candidature and Supervision.

Please read the University Framework for a PhD by Distance Learning found in the University Quality Handbook. This document covers the following principles of the programme:

  • the approval process
  • awarding
  • registration and enrolment
  • residency requirements and periods to be spent in Southampton
  • fees
  • the research environment
  • the facilities available to the student
  • research training and transferable skills training
  • supervision
  • monitoring and reveiw;
  • the upgrade from MPhil to PhD or confirmation of PhD status; and
  • the PhD examination.

The Faculty of Arts and Humanities currently has the following distance learning programmes:

  • PhD by Distance Learning in Applied Linguistics (Part-time)
  • PhD by Distance Learning in Archaeology (Full-time and Part-time) 
  • PhD by Distance Learning in English (Full-time and Part-time) 
  • PhD by Distance Learning in Film (Full-time and Part-time) 
  • PhD by Distance Learning in History (Full-time and Part-time) 
  • PhD by Distance Learning in Modern Languages (Full-time and Part-time) 
  • PhD by Distance Learning in Music (Full-time and Part-time)
  • PhD by Distance Learning in Philosophy (Full-time and Part-time) 

If a student is considering changing to one of these programmes, they should speak to their main supervisor in the first instance. More information regarding the structure of this programme can be obtained from the Graduate School Office.

If a change is to be made the following forms must be completed by the student, main supervisor and discipline's Doctoral Programme Director and returned to the Graduate School Office: 


Change of Programme

Changing the programme of study encompasses going from full-time study to part-time study or vice versa; changing to distance learning or vice versa; and changing the field of study. For further guidelines please read Different types of doctoral programmes.

If a student receives funding for their programme, they should refer to the Terms and Conditions of this to determine whether a change in programme is permissible.



Change of Mode of Study (full time to part time or vice versa)

Paragraph 18 of the University's Higher Degree Regulations stipulates the period of candidature for part-time and full-time students. Also paragraphs 61 and 62 of the University's Code of Practice state that leave holidays and absences due to ill-health are applicable for part-time students on a pro-rata basis. This should be noted by students who wish to change their mode of study.

Should a student wish to change their mode of study from full time to part time or vice versa, they will need to complete and submit the General Approval Form. The supervisor is also required to sign their support of the change on this form before passing it to the discipline's Doctoral Programme Director (DPD) and Graduate School Office. The Graduate School Office will ask the Director of the Graduate School to approve it and then notify the student and supervisor of the outcome and revised end of candidature deadline.


Change of Programme (changing PhD subject/transferring to MPhil/changing to or from distance learning)

If a student wishes to change their PhD subject or transfer to MPhil, they must complete a PGR Change of Programme Form and pass it to their supervisor who must sign their support of the change. The supervisor should then submit this form to the Graduate School Office who will ask the Director of the Graduate School to approve it. The Graduate School Office will then notify the student and supervisor of the outcome.

Should a student wish to change to a Distance Learning programme, they should refer to the Distance Learning tab above. The student should complete a PGR Change of Programme Form and pass it to their supervisor who must sign their support of the change. The supervisor should then submit this form to the Graduate School Office who will ask the Director of the Graduate School to approve it. The Graduate School Office will then notify the student and supervisor of the outcome. The student and supervisor will then need to complete an Individual Arrangements for Distance Learning PhD form as well. Please refer to the Distance Learning PhD section above to download this form.

For students studying on a Visa, please refer to our Getting Started pages where you will find essential Visa/Tier 4 information and further guidance.




If a research student wishes to withdraw from their programme, they will need to complete the Withdrawal Form. The supervisor also needs to sign this form before returning it to the Graduate School Office. The Director of Graduate Studies will then consider the request and the Graduate School Office will confirm the outcome to the student and supervisor.

Please note:

Students who were issued with a University laptop will be required to return it if they withdraw from their programme.
It is important that the Graduate School Office is notified of withdrawals as soon as possible to avoid the students being chased for fees or paid their stipend after withdrawal.

Academic Integrity

Academic Integrity

  • As a member of a 'learning community' students will be expected to maintain high standards of academic conduct and professional relationships based on courtesy, honesty and mutual respect (with both university staff and fellow students) throughout their degree. Developing skills in presenting well supported and referenced work is a significant part of students' work at University. As a student, working in accordance with standards of academic integrity means you are open, honest and must give due regard and recognition to the sources and resources which have informed the development of your learning as you progress through your degree programme and achieve success in your studies. Students will be given support and advice by their supervisory team about standards of good academic practice: from referencing conventions, through feedback on written work and advice on copyright. Students are expected to take responsibility for the honesty and integrity of their academic work and will have to declare that they are aware of the requirements for good academic practice and the potential penalties for any breach when they submit their work. The University takes any breaches of academic integrity (such as plagiarism, cheating, recycling of their or another student's work, or falsification of research) extremely seriously and any evidence of such can result in the termination of their programme.
  • The Faculty is aware that students may have experienced differing standards at other non UK institutions but it is essential that students take steps to ensure their full understanding of the standards expected at Southampton as significant penalties can be imposed if these are breached.
  • If it is suspected that students have not worked with academic integrity and investigation will be conducted within the University's defined procedures.
  • If students are found to have followed one of these practices there are a range of penalties which may be applied. These penalties will always affect the mark the student receives for the piece of work in question, and the most serious cases could lead to a reduction in degree classification or even termination of programme. Any breaches may also impact on any future references the University may be asked to provide. 
  • All research conducted by students and staff within the Faculty of Arts and Humanities involving human participants must receive ethical approval before commencement, through the Electronic Research Governance Online II (ERGO II) system.


All students should read the Ethical Guidelines for the Arts and Humanities.

Students who started before September 2019

Please read Ethics Approval Process - guidelines for student researchers projects starting before September 2019.

Students in Humanities will need to complete the Student Ethics Checklist before carrying out any research. A copy of the completed checklist must be handed into the Arts and Humanities Graduate School Office. Students must also keep a copy for themselves. If a change in the research topic happens, students must complete a new checklist and submit it to the Office to ensure that ethics has been considered before moving forward with the new direction of study. Other useful documents, can be found on the ERGO website under Downloads.

​Students who started September 2019 or after

Please read Ethics Approval Process - guidelines for student researchers projects starting after September 2019.

Winchester School of Art have not previously used checklists but are considering introducing them for some programmes. Check with your supervisor if you need to complete an ethics checklist.

If you do not complete an ethics checklist, then you will need to register your project on ERGO II, if:

  • Your project involves human participants or human tissue less than 100 years old
  • Your project involves tangible Cultural Heritage

Students undertaking research with human participants must disclose the full details of their project for approval via ERGO, well in advance of research commencement. It is a disciplinary breach to begin research without approval. Forms for the applications for ethical approval can be found under Faculty/Department forms in the Downloads section on ERGO. Please see ERGO Research Submissions for further guidance.

For queries regarding ERGO, please contact Fiona Woollard, chair of the Faculty Ethics Committee or the Ethics Coordinator​ in Research Innovation Services.

Nominal Registration

A request for transfer to nominal registration must be initiated by the student by completing the General Approval Form.

A research student may remain in nominal registration for up to one year initially at which point the position should be reviewed by the Faculty. Time spent in nominal registration will count towards the total period of candidature.

In order for a student to transfer to nominal registration, the main supervisor will need to confirm that the criteria stated in paragraphs 37-41 of the ​Regulations for Research Degrees have been met:

  • that the minimum period of candidature for either the MPhil or the PhD has been completed;
  • that the upgrade/confirmation has taken place (in the case of a PhD research student);
  • no further supervision is required;
  • that the structure of the thesis has been agreed and that the supervisory team has seen a significant part of the thesis in draft form and has provided feedback;
  • a likely completion date has been discussed with the research student;
  • the prescribed programme of taught modules has been successfully completed as required in the Academic Regulations of the University Calendar.

The student must obtain the signatures of their main supervisor and the Discipline DPD before returning the form to the Graduate School Office for approval by the Faculty Director of Graduate School.   

During the period of nominal registration, it is possible for a student to suspend or request an extension to candidature subject to the Higher Degree Regulations (paragraph 41).

Money matters: Students transferring to nominal registration should discuss the implications to their council tax with their local council directly. Please see the University's Council Tax page for more information. Also, students should be aware that student fees are payable up to the date of the transfer to nominal registration. 

Please refer to the Nominal Registration section on our Degree Candidature page for further information.


The Faculty of Arts and Humanities does not have a specific policy on referencing. Students should discuss options with their supervisor and refer to the Library which has a useful site about referencing found here.

Thesis Submission

Two soft-bound copies (glued spine with black covers, not comb or spiral binding with acetate covers) of the thesis must be submitted to the Graduate School Office. An electronic copy of the thesis must also be submitted, either by email ( or using the Safe Send facility.

A signed copy of the declaration of authorship form must be included in each copy. A member of the Graduate School Team will issue the student with a receipt upon submission. The Graduate School Office will then pass the copies of the thesis to the examiners. It is the responsibility of the main supervisor to arrange a suitable time and venue for the viva and will inform the student of these.

Please refer to our generic Thesis Submission page for further information.

In accordance with the Code of Practice for Research Degree Candidature and Supervision (paragraphs 8-10) an alternative format of thesis submission may be permitted for some disciplines (Art and Design, English, Film, Music). The submission must consist of two parts: a body of work as appropriate to the discipline (eg substantial original practical work) completed in conjunction with a critical written component. Examples for two disciplines are set out below:

Submissions for Music PhDs may be via the standard model of a written thesis (examined by a viva voce), or via the alternative format of a written thesis supported by a public/lecture recital of 75 minutes playing time and a viva voce.

Where an extended and original piece of work is submitted in part fulfilment of a degree in creative writing, this would normally take the form of either a novel or section of a novel, poetry, a collection of short stories, a play, a book of narrative non-fiction, or another form of creative output (eg performance of dramatic composition). The piece of creative work will be accompanied by a shorter critical essay. The following parameters for submission for PhD should be followed:

Creative prose

  • 50,000 - 85,000 words of creative prose; and
  • 20,000 words of critical writing


  • 8,000 - 15,000 words of poetry; OR 45-60 pages of poetry*


  • 20,000 - 40,000 words of critical writing

Performance of dramatic composition

  • 3 hours performance time
  • 20,000 words of critical writing

The following parameters for submission for MPhil should be followed:

Creative prose

  • 25,000 - 35,000 words of creative prose; and
  • 10,000 words of critical writing


  • 4,000 – 7500 words of poetry; OR 20-30 pages of poetry*


  • 10,000 words of critical writing

Performance of dramatic composition

  • 1.5 hours performance-time
  • 10,000 words of critical writing

Amendments and Submission After a Successful Recommendation of an Award


Please see paragraphs 38-40 of the Higher Degree Regulations and paragraphs 101-103 of the Code of Practice for possible recommendations and timescale for the student to complete corrections following the viva voce. The student will be notified of the outcome and specific due date for submission of amendments by the Graduate School by email.

Students should submit their amendments by email to the Graduate School Office, attaching an electronic version of their corrected work and a document clearly outlining the amendments they have made. These will then be forwarded to the examiner(s) by the Graduate School Office. If necessary, students can use the University SafeSend facility if their document is too large to email.

When minor corrections have been submitted, the research student should normally be informed whether they have been approved within three weeks of their submission. In the case of modest corrections/amendments, the research student should normally be informed whether they have been approved within six weeks of their submission, or sooner if possible. It is the responsibility of the main supervisor to ensure that the corrections are approved promptly so that the research student's degree can be awarded as soon as possible. (See paragraph 103 of the Code of Practice).

Submission After a Successful Recommendation of an Award 

The Graduate School Office will confirm to the student once amendments have been approved and include information regarding the final submission of the thesis. The following must be submitted to the Graduate School Office before the student's award can be considered for approval by the University Senate:

  • One final soft-bound copy of your completed thesis (including a signed Declaration of Authorship page)
  • An electronic copy of your thesis in PDF format. Further information on electronic submission and file formats can be accessed via the Library website. Your signature should not be included on the Declaration of authorship form that you submit with the electronic copy of your thesis. You can submit your electronic copy on CD or USB in person to the Faculty Graduate School Office, or as an attachment via email (use the SafeSend facility if the document is too large to email as an attachment.

Don’t forget to include a Thesis Copyright Statement (licence) at the front of your electronic thesis. You can find more information and a link to the form at (see box ‘Thesis Templates’ and scroll down). You do not need to include it in your hard copy but it doesn’t matter if you do.

  • Permission to deposit thesis form(signed by yourself and your main supervisor). The Faculty Graduate School Office will arrange for the signature of the Faculty Director of the Graduate School. (NB: If you are an SWW DTP funded student the maximum embargo you may request is 12 months)
  • Laptop (if applicable)
  • Locker/Study room key (if applicable)

If you send your thesis to the university print centre and have it delivered direct to the Graduate School Office, please ensure that you sign the declaration of authorship on the electronic copy that you submit to the print centre. A typed name on the declaration of authorship is not acceptable and it could hold up your award. The electronic copy that you submit to the Graduate School should not be signed.

Absence/Annual Leave

Annual Leave 

The annual leave year runs from 1 August to 31 July. Full-time research students may take up to eight weeks holiday (annual leave) per academic year (1 August and 31 July). This includes public holidays and University closure days. Please see Closure Days & Public Holidays for details of the dates. This leaves a balance of 26 working days (Monday- Friday) which can be requested as annual leave. Please note that any unused annual leave cannot be carried over to the following academic year. The University's regulations regarding annual leave can be found in paragraph 61 of the Code of Practice.

For part-time research students this is applicable on a pro-rata basis i.e. a balance of 13 days annual leave excluding public holidays and University closure days.

New students who begin their first year later than 1 August are likely to have 22 days of annual leave in their first year if they start at the end of September or 13 days if they start at the end of January. Please refer to the Pro-Rata Leave Chart for details of exact leave entitlement dependent on start dates.

Annual leave for iPhD students in their taught year (year 1) is treated the same as PG taught students for annual leave entitlement purposes. Once they begin their research phase, annual leave is calculated using the pro-rata entitlement and is calculated from the date they commence the research phase (normally the start of year 2).

All students who wish to take annual leave must seek approval from their supervisor in the first instance and then forward this on to the Graduate School for recording.

Further regulations around attendance can be found under Attendance and Completion of Programme Requirements.

Tier 4 Visa Holders

Students with a Tier 4 visa who would like to request a leave of absence for any reason (including research leave or holidays within/outside the UK) should submit their request in writing on the relevant form, in a timely fashion. Students must obtain a signature from their supervisor before bringing the completed form to the Graduate School Office for processing. There are THREE forms:

Remote Study Leave (data collection, research leave and conferences),

Annual Leave

Compassionate Leave (including illness).

All three forms can be downloaded here. Please make sure that the correct form is completed.

If the request is to attend a conference please include details of the conference otherwise your request may be returned. To speed up the process it is recommended to add a link to the conference website or attach confirmation of your attendance.

At particularly busy times of year it may take the Visa Team longer to approve absence/leave requests so please allow plenty of time for the request to be considered. 

Please note that if a student does not take a period of authorised annual leave and does not inform the Graduate School Office until after the period of leave has passed, the student will be not be able to claim back this period of annual leave.

For any visa related queries, students and supervisors should refer to the Visa page or contact the Visa Guidance Team for more information. 

Supervisor Information: Supervisors must be aware of the Tier 4 visa regulations but should not give visa advice to students. Supervisors should not agree any leave commitments which conflict with the regulations. Please forward any queries to the Humanities Graduate School Office in the first instance who can liaise with the Visa Guidance team.



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