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Proposed guidance regarding research hours for part-time postgraduate
research students in the Faculty of Medicine & Health
Part-time study for research degrees is very common in the Faculty of Medicine & Health;
however the time available for part-time students to conduct their PhD or MD research
projects varies considerably. Some part-time students are employed as members of
University staff and whilst some have the opportunity to work almost full time on their
PhD/MD others may have an agreed allocation of time for their research (with much
variability). Other part-time students are employed full-time outside the University and are
working towards their PhD/MD with an agreed time allocation from their employer or
exclusively in their own time.
The University regulations state that part-time research degree candidates within the STEM
faculties shall normally be employed in a relevant teaching, scientific, clinical or industrial
role for a minimum of 20 hours per week. In signing the Faculty Supervision Form at first
registration the University considers the Supervisors and Heads of Schools/Institutes are
making an undertaking that a part-time candidate will have sufficient research time available
to complete their project over the duration of the candidature. However, there are currently
no guidelines provided by the University for part-time students regarding the expected time
available for their own research.
The Faculty is committed to ensuring a high quality academic research experience for all
students and has therefore developed the following guidelines for prospective post-graduate
research students in the Faculty and their supervisors to consider in discussing their plans
for PT study. These guidelines aim to ensure both prospective students and their
supervisors have realistic expectations about the level of commitment likely to be required to
ensure successful completion.
Part-time PhD Students
The standard (minimum) period of study for PT PhD students is 5 years compared with 3
years for full-time students. It is generally expected that full-time students work on their
research for at least 37.5 hours a week, 44 weeks of the year (1650 hours per annum, 4950
hours in 3 years). On this basis the Faculty recommends that part-time PhD students should
anticipate spending an equivalent total number of hours on their research (an average of 990
hours per year, or 22.5 hours per week) for completion within the 5 year standard period
of study.
Part-time MD Students
The standard (minimum) period of study for PT MD students is 3 years compared with 2
years for full-time students. It is generally expected that full-time students work on their
research for at least 37.5 hours a week, 44 weeks of the year (1650 hours per annum, 3300
hours in 2 years). On this basis the Faculty recommends that part-time MD students should
anticipate spending an equivalent total number of hours on their research (an average of
AM Carter
Prepared for LIGHT SMT 23rd May 2011
Revised 24th May 2011 and 7th June 2011
1100 hours per year, or 25 hours per week) for completion within the 3 year standard
period of study.
Prospective students and their supervisors are advised to consider these recommendations
carefully in the context of their outside commitments and the amount of time for research
during normal working hours to satisfy themselves that adequate time is available either
through agreed work time allocations and/or free time to accommodate their research.
AM Carter
Prepared for LIGHT SMT 23rd May 2011
Revised 24th May 2011 and 7th June 2011
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