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Research degrees

The York St John Postgraduate Research Student Lifecycle

Following York St John University's successful application for research degree awarding powers, research students are now admitted on to York St John University research degree programmes only.

When the University was granted Research Degree Awarding Powers (RDAP), a number of postgraduate researchers (PGRs) transferred to York St John research degree programmes. Since then all research degree applications are made to York St John research degree programmes. The information below is specific to PGRs studying for a York St John Research Degree.

The Document Directory contains all documentation relevant to Research Degrees at York St John University, with a specific page for York St John research degree programmes. Please refer to the Document Directory as you read the Quality Gateway.

Key Documents

 The links below provide information on the process and requirements for research degrees:


All applications for research degrees should be made using the online application form links available on the website.  Applicants are advised to contact potential supervisors before making an application in order to identify whether supervisory capacity is available in their chosen topic.

Admissions and Interviews

For staff involved in selecting, interviewing and admitting prospective PGRs, the University recommends consulting the Research Student Admissions Policy and Interview Guidance Notes (doc, 101 kB). This document includes:

  • Entry Requirements for research degrees
  • Interview Guidance
  • An outline of the admissions process for research degrees

For successful candidates, the relevant School Research Lead should send the Interview Proforma and Admission Approval Form (docx, 27.8 kB) to Registry ( for consideration by RDSC. The sub group of RDSC considers applications and decides whether to recommend admission.

Once the recommendation to admit a candidate is approved, Registry will inform Admissions that a formal offer may be sent out to the student.  Only Admissions can issue formal offers of admission to research degrees.

Applicants must then complete the reply slip confirming their acceptance of the offer and meet any outstanding conditions, such as providing original certificates to Admissions.

International students should note that:

  • Once they have arrived in the UK and have obtained their Tier 4 student visa, it is not possible to delay their start date.
  • Prior to arrival, if a visa application has not yet been made, the start date can be changed and a new offer will be made.
  • Prior to arrival, if a visa application has been made, a delayed start of up to 6 weeks can be made which can be absorbed into the standard period of study without affecting the end dates as per the original CAS.

Periods of study

Students are registered for research degree programmes with standard periods of study in which the University expects the programme to be completed. 


Mode of Study

Minimum period of registration

Standard Period of study

Normal maximum period of registration to submission

Doctor of Philosophy

Full time

2 calendar years

3 calendar years

4 calendar years

Part time

3 calendar years

6 calendar years

7 calendar years

Professional Doctorate

Part time

4 calendar years

6 calendar years

7 calendar years

Master of Philosophy

Full time

1 calendar year

2 calendar years

3 calendar years

Part time

2 calendar years

4 calendar years

5 calendar years

Master of Arts/Master of Science by research

Full time

1 calendar year

1 calendar year

1 calendar year

Part time

2 calendar years

2 calendar years

2 calendar years


On, or soon after, the first day of attendance, each PGR receives a full and comprehensive induction to York St John University.  Induction arrangements are co-ordinated by the Research Office ( 

Training and Development

PGRs should complete the Training Development Needs Analysis (docx, 82.5 kb) and produce a Training Plan in liaison with their supervisor within one month of their start date (for full-time PGRs and within two months for part-time PGRs). The TDNA is based on the Vitae Researcher Development Framework (RDF) that describes the knowledge, behaviours and attributes of successful researchers. It is used to identify strengths and gaps in development, prioritise development needs and monitor progress. Training and development needs should be discussed with the supervisor and will be reviewed as part of academic progress monitoring procedures.

Details of training and development courses and opportunities are available from the Research Office. 

Progress Monitoring and Transfer Assessment Process

Progress Monitoring

Regular reviews of PGR academic progress are carried out throughout the candidature and a record of these is retained using a suite of forms. Information relating to progress monitoring can be found in section 6 of the Code of Practice for Research Degrees (docx, 1.3 MB). Progress monitoring reviews must occur by the designated amount of time after commencement, as follows:


Full time

Part time PhD

Full time MPhil

Part time MPhil

Full time Masters

Part time Masters

First formal review

6 months

9 months

6 months

9 months

6 months

9 months

Transfer assessment

12 months

24 months





Annual Review

24 and 36 months

36, 48, 60 and 72 months

18 and 30 months

18, 30, 42, 54 and 66 months


21 months

For each review meeting, the PGR must submit:

  • A piece of written work – the content of which will be agreed between the supervisor and the PGR and should be appropriate to the point the PGR has reached in their candidature;
  • A reflection on progress to date, which might include completed chapters / laboratory work and conference attendance;
  • A plan for completion of the research and the thesis within the remaining period of study (eg Gantt chart);
  • Completed Progress Report for Review;
  • Completed/updated
  • Training and Development Needs Analysis and Training Plan.
  • Completed Supervision Log (on e:vision)

Review meetings are chaired by an independent assessor who will be an academic member of staff, from a cognate discipline but outside the supervisory team. The PGR, main supervisor (and co-supervisors if available) will be present at the meeting. The Progress and Monitoring forms can be found on the Document Directory.

For more information on the review process, refer to the Code of Practice for Research Degrees (docx, 1.3 MB).

Processing Review forms

  1. Progress Reports should be signed by the PGR, the supervisory team and provided to the review panel in advance of the meeting.
  2. TDNA/Training Plan and supervision log should be signed by the PGR and a supervisor and provided to the review panel in advance of the meeting.
  3. The Review Report should be completed and signed by the Chair of the panel and the main supervisor.
  4. The Chair of the Panel must provide the progress report, TDNA and review report to the School Research Lead for countersignature within ten working days of the meeting.
  5. The School Research Lead should provide the signed progress report and review report, along with the TDNA/training plan and supervision log (within five working days of receipt), to Registry for consideration by RDSC.


For Provisional PhD PGRs, assessment at the transfer stage is intended to identify whether the individual PGR and the research project have the potential for research at doctoral level and also whether completion of a thesis within the standard period of study for the programme concerned is a reasonable expectation.

The process includes two stages:

  1. Completion of the Progress Report - Pre-Transfer (on e:vision) by the PGR and supervisors and submission of written work by the PGR. These will be made available to the panel in advance of the transfer meeting.
  2. The PGR attends an oral assessment at which a transfer assessment panel considers the written work, progress report, previous reviews and training plan.

As with final examinations, a member of the supervisory team may attend the transfer assessment meeting as an observer/note-taker at the request of the PGR. After the transfer meeting the Joint Report of Transfer Panel (on e:vision) is completed by the chair of the panel.

Transfer Panels will comprise of at least two academics from the same or a cognate subject or discipline who are independent of the supervisory team. The panel will be chaired by a senior YSJU academic who has relevant supervisory experience. All members of the panel will read the written submission and participate in the oral examination. In exceptional cases, consideration may be given by RDSC for the use of an external assessor on the Transfer Assessment Panel.

Full details of the process can be found in the Code of Practice for Research Degrees (docx, 1.3 MB).

Unsatisfactory Academic Progress Procedure

Where a supervisory team has concerns about the progress of a PGR the Unsatisfactory Academic Progress Procedure should be considered. Its purpose is to investigate the concerns and identify whether the PGR may be able to continue their degree through to successful completion within the remaining period of study. Through using the UAPP a series of actions may be set to enable immediate improvement of academic performance. The UAPP may take place at any stage in a research degree.

A supervisor must initially raise their concerns in writing with the PGR and if there is no improvement then the supervisor should formally bring the matter to the attention of the relevant School Research Lead. The SRL will arrange an unsatisfactory academic progress meeting with the PGR to consider what action is required. If it is agreed that the UAPP should be instigated an action plan and milestones will be set and a date for formal review will be arranged.

Full details of the Unsatisfactory Academic Progress Procedure, along with template forms and sample letters, are available in the Code of Practice for Research Degrees (docx, 1.3 MB). and Document Directory.

Suspensions and extensions

Where PGRs experience events or circumstances which disrupt their academic progress a suspension or extension may be requested.

Normally the PGR will complete a Postgraduate Researcher Suspension/Extension Request Form (docx, 31.5 kB) and submit it to their supervisor and the School Research Lead for authorisation.

The request will be considered by the RDSC sub group.

Further details on suspensions and extensions can be found in the Code of Practice for Research Degrees (docx, 1.3 MB) and the Suspensions and Extensions FAQs (docx, 26.1 kB).

Thesis Submission and Examination

Thesis submission and examination information is available in full on the York St John Thesis Submission and Examination pages.


Student expenses are managed by the Research Office and PGRs should contact for information on account limits and procedures. 

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