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The University of Southampton
Quality HandbookPostgraduate Research


Postgraduate research degrees follow different approval mechanisms depending on their type.

Research degrees without a formal taught component

If the programme consists purely of research without a formal taught component which contributes to the outcome of the degree, discipline areas will be required to have a Doctoral Programme Profile. Prior to an offer being made to an applicant, checks on the suitability of the PGR place will be made.

Research degrees with a taught component



Research programmes with a taught component may include professional doctorates, which contain a substantial taught element combined with the development of professional skills, placements and training; and iPhDs which normally combine a number of taught modules with professional and transferrable skills, research and thesis preparation. These programmes will be required to have a Programme Specification and must be approved through the Programme Validation process.

The following are points to remember when designing a new research degree programme that contains taught components contributing to the overall award of the student’s degree.

  • All new programme proposals require strategic approval from the Faculty and from AQSC before further development of the programme takes place.  Strategic approval should be incorporated with business planning processes and Faculties should make an annual report of all proposed programmes to AQSC.
  • Proposed new programmes of study should be drawn up on the basis of best practice in the academic subject, and in line with the Regulations for Research Degrees and the Code of Practice for Research Degree Candidature and Supervision.
  • Staff should also refer to the guidance on Different Types of Doctoral Programmes and the Integrated PhD Programmes Guidance.
  • Staff designing new programmes should give due consideration to the viability and sustainability of proposed programmes.

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