Important information for students
Here you will find all of the information you will need about your research degree journey at Leeds Beckett, including details on enrolment, confirmation of registration, annual progression meetings, writing-up, submission of your thesis, and your viva voce examination.
Our Graduate School handbook will be a valuable resource throughout your studies, guiding you through all of the important steps involved in your research degree.
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You will be required to submit a progression report, signed by your supervisors, before your annual progression meeting. Progression report deadlines are normally:
- For meetings in May/June – 31 March
- For meetings in September – 7 July
- For meetings in January/February – 30 November.
Research Degrees Sub-Committee (RDSC) meetings
The university’s RDSC meets each month (with the exception of August), and the deadline for any applications to the RDSC is midnight on the last day of the preceding month. For example, applications received before midnight on 30 September will be considered at the October meeting.
If The Graduate School received your thesis before the end of February, your examination arrangements are in place and your fees are paid to date, we will work to ensure you can attend graduation in July, subject to the outcome of your viva voce examination.
For any amendments and resubmissions (without viva voce) received before the middle of April, we will try to make sure examiners provide feedback in time for you to attend graduation in July. If you resubmit after mid-April, it may not be possible for you to graduate at that summer’s graduation.
If you submit your thesis later than 1 May, your viva voce may be scheduled for the following September, as we do not normally schedule vivas between 1 July and 31 August.
All of our research students need to enrol using our Online Welcome & Enrolment service. You will need to complete this each year on the anniversary of your start date. The student hub offer more information on enrolment for postgraduate students.
The first milestone in your research student journey is your confirmation of registration. The aim of this is to ensure your project is suitable for the level of the degree award, you are able to deliver the project and all the facilities and support you will need are available to you.
Your confirmation of registration meeting will take place four months after enrolment if you are studying full-time and six months after enrolment if you are studying part-time. The meetings take place during set weeks in the academic year.
For your confirmation of registration, you will need to prepare a document detailing your proposed research. Your supervisory team will provide guidance on preparing your document and they will also attend the meeting with you.
Your document will be shared with the confirmation of registration panel before your meeting so they can review this and prepare questions for you. The panel will be made up of a chair and panel member – usually senior academics with expertise in your subject area and significant experience of supporting research students.
The meeting is very important; it will be the first formal opportunity to talk about your research, including your aims, methods and timeframes. While the panel will ask you questions, it is a supportive environment and they will give you recommendations to support your progress.
Your annual progression meetings are a very important milestone in your research degree journey. Their purpose is to make sure you have all the support you need to complete your degree successfully.
Every year you will meet with your panel – a chair and panel member who are usually senior academics with expertise in your subject area. A Graduate School team member will also take notes and offer advice on regulations. Your supervisor will be encouraged to attend the meeting with you. However, if they are unable to attend for any reason, the meeting will still go ahead.
Annual progression meetings usually happen in the month before your enrolment anniversary. For example, if you start your studies with us in February, you can expect to have your annual progression meeting in January the following year.
At The Graduate School, we organise your annual progression meetings and set the dates for you a year in advance. We will email you and your supervisory team to arrange the date. Together with your supervisory team, you will be asked to submit a report before the meeting. This should include your supervisory team’s comments on your progress.
The responsibility for making sure that your annual progression meeting goes ahead, and that your completed report is submitted on time, rests with you.
At the meeting, you will talk through your research and progress to date, where you are now and what you are doing to meet your submission date.
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As you approach your final year of study, you can apply for writing-up status. Your final year is normally year four if you are studying full-time and year six if you are studying part-time. During the writing-up status stage, your fees for that year of study will be reduced.
If you wish to apply for writing-up status, you should have:
- Completed your data collection and data analysis
- Provided your supervisory team with a full first draft of your thesis
Every student’s project is different and some will not need writing-up status.
To apply for writing-up status, you will need to submit a request to the university’s Research Degrees Sub-Committee (see below).
As you approach your final year of study, your supervisory team should consider submitting your examination arrangements to The Graduate School.
The writing-up status is for one year only and you will be charged a set fee.
At the end of your programme of study you will have written an extensive thesis. It will then need to be submitted for examination.
Once you have submitted your thesis, you will be invited to defend your doctorate at a 'viva voce' (Latin for “by live voice”) - an oral examination. Your viva voce is a chance for you to:
- Demonstrate that your thesis is your own work
- Defend what you have written
- Show your understanding of the originality of the work and where it fits within the wider research field
- Respond to examiners’ questions and provide any clarification requested
- Establish whether your work is of a sufficiently high standard for the level of your award.
The examination team and independent chair
The examination team will consist of:
Your supervisors will put together an examination team based on the subject of your research and they will make a formal application to the Research Degrees Sub-Committee (see below) to approve the team.
- One external examiner – this will normally be an academic member of staff from another institution or a professional who has expertise in your area of work. University staff members who are also students will require two external examiners.
- One internal examiner – a member of academic staff at the university who is not one of your supervisors.
- An independent chair – the independent chair is not an examiner and will not take part in the examination process. Their role is to make sure that the examination abides by our university guidelines and that you are not under any undue pressure.
Your supervisory team should let you know who is in the examination team so you can familiarise yourself with their work, but you must not have any contact with them.
The Graduate School is responsible for arranging your viva voce examination and we will co- ordinate this with all parties.
It can take up to three months to confirm a date. If you know of any dates that you will be unavailable, you should make sure The Graduate School is aware of them when you submit your thesis.
The viva voce examination will be held at either Headingley Campus or City Campus. When you receive your room confirmation, we recommend you make sure you know where it is and familiarise yourself with the surroundings.
On the day, the examination team will meet beforehand to discuss the nature and type of questions they will ask you. While all examinations are different, the key to the viva voce is to establish whether your work is at the standard expected for the level of award and that your thesis demonstrates an original contribution to knowledge in its field of study.
Applying to the Research Degrees Sub-Committee
If you need to make changes to your student records during your degree, these should be submitted to the university’s Research Degrees Sub-Committee (RDSC). The sub- committee is also responsible for the approval of your examination team.
As our academic schools have no regulatory control over research studies, the RDSC is the only committee able to make decisions around your studies. It is chaired by Professor Ruth Robbins, Director of Research in the School of Cultural Studies & Humanities, and is made up of academics from across the university.
To request changes to your student record, you should first discuss the request with your supervisory team before completing a request form. This must be signed by all parties, fully completed, and include a full explanation of the reasons for the request. The form should be sent to email@example.com.
The RDSC will also approve the team selected for your examination process. They will discuss the overall experience of team members to ensure they have the appropriate subject expertise. To ensure a robust and fair examination, team members must be independent from you as supervisors.
Only when the RDSC approves the team can arrangements be made for the examination. Please note, the committee’s decision is final.
Whether you are an international student studying with us here in Leeds or you are studying outside the UK (offshore) in your own, or another, country, The Graduate School is here to help you make sure you are abiding by the terms of your visa.
International students in the UK on a Tier 4 student visa
If you are an international student with a Tier 4 visa, our student information pages offer more guidance around the responsibilities attached to your visa.
As a Tier 4 sponsor, our university is required by the UK government to keep certain records and report changes in your circumstances. Our staff and students also have responsibilities around attendance monitoring, reporting and record keeping. By studying at Leeds Beckett University, you are agreeing to these responsibilities and our policies.
At The Graduate School, we have implemented a monthly sign-in policy for research students. This means you must sign a register in person every month (including July, August
and December) – either by visiting our office (room 226, Brontë Hall, Headingley Campus) or by attending the specific sign-in sessions at City Campus. If you fail to sign in, we will record you as an unauthorised absence.
If you are leaving the UK, whether for research data collection or for personal reasons, you should email us (firstname.lastname@example.org) with the dates you are leaving and returning to the UK and the reason for your trip. We will give you a formal letter confirming the university is aware you are outside of the UK. It is useful to have this letter when entering and exiting the country.
International students studying offshore
If you are an international student studying in your own or another country other than the UK, we encourage you to visit the university for your supervisory meetings and to make use of our facilities.
Many of our offshore students also find it useful to spend time in the UK at particularly intensive points in their study – for example, when writing up and submitting your thesis.
We are required to keep records of any student who is visiting our university or meeting with members of university staff. So before you visit you should email us (email@example.com) with the following information:
- Your student number
- The date of your visit and planned exit date from the UK
- The reason for your visit
- Where you will be staying during your time in the UK.
As a student, you can submit research ethics applications through our online system.