Abertay University Academic Regulations

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Abertay University Academic Regulations

The Academic Regulations set out the requirements and expectations for the University’s undergraduate, postgraduate taught, and research degree programmes.

The Academic Regulations are approved by Senate and are binding on all staff and students.

Regulations for research degree programmes


  1. These regulations are the most important part of the University’s information for research students. They set out requirements and expectations for the University’s research degrees. Further information is available in the Research Student and Supervisor Handbook and on the University web pages, but in all cases these regulations take precedence.

Admission, registration and fees

  1. Students who are admitted to the University should complete registration prior to the start date specified in their offer letter. Students are not entitled to supervision or access to University facilities until registration has been completed. In all cases, students must have completed registration no later than two weeks after the specified start date.
  2. The University reserves the right to withdraw the registration of students who have failed to disclose relevant information, or who have presented misleading or false information, in applying for a programme of study. The University also reserves the right to decline or withdraw the registration of students who do not hold the appropriate immigration status, or who fail to comply with the conditions of their visa.
  3. Research degree students will abide by the principles of good research practice, as set out by the University in the Research Student and Supervisor Handbook and the Research Code of Conduct.
  4. Students must register at the start of each subsequent year of their programme, unless suspension of studies has been approved in advance. In order to be eligible to register in subsequent years, students must have complied with the progression requirements of their programme.
  5. Fees will be paid in accordance with the published schedule of fees which are set on the basis that students will pay the relevant fee (and any associated bench fees) for the expected period of study appropriate to the student’s mode of registration and target exit award. Should studies continue beyond this period, a registration fee will be charged.
  6. Where a student submits a thesis before the end of the normal period of study, they must make arrangements to pay any balance of fees owing for the normal period of study before they may graduate.

Accreditation of prior learning

  1. A student may be permitted to transfer registration from a research degree programme at another recognised higher education institution in order to enter the MPhil or PhD programme at the University of Abertay. Such requests will be considered by the Research Degrees Sub-Committee, and where granted

will be specified as completed years of full-time study, to allow entry with advanced standing to a specified stage of a programme.

Programmes of study

  1. The research degrees of the University are:

Doctor of Philosophy PhD

Doctor of Business Administration DBA

Master of Philosophy MPhil

Master of Arts MA

Master of Science MSc

Master of Laws LLM

  1. The award of one of the Master’s by Research degrees demonstrates a practical ability to undertake research studies, a systematic understanding of knowledge and a critical awareness of current problems and/or application of original thought.
  2. The award of the Master of Philosophy demonstrates a systematic understanding of knowledge and a critical awareness of current problems and/or application of original thought, much of which is at or informed by the forefront of the field of study or area of professional practice.
  3. The award of the Doctor of Philosophy demonstrates the main focus of the candidate’s work to be their contribution to knowledge in their discipline or field, through original research, or the original application of existing knowledge or understanding.

Mode of attendance, suspension and duration of study

  1. Research students may be registered on a full-time or part-time basis. A student may apply to the Research Degrees Sub-Committee to transfer from full-time to part-time, or vice-versa, with a statement of support from their Principal Supervisor. Approval to change will depend on the appropriateness of the proposed mode of study for the student’s programme of research, a compelling plan for completion of the programme of research, and visa status.
  2. A student may apply to the Research Degrees Sub-Committee to suspend study for a period of up to 12 months. Suspension will be granted only in multiples of one month. Normally not more than 12 months’ suspension in total will be granted during a student’s period of study.
  3. Where suspension is granted, a return to study date will be agreed. The student must register and resume their studies on that date; otherwise they will be withdrawn from study.
  4. The maximum period of study, not including any approved suspension, in months for each award is:
Award Minimum Expected Maximum
PhD full-time 24 36 48
MPhil full-time 12 24 36


MbR full-time 10 12 14
PhD part-time 48 72 96
MPhil part-time 24 48 72
MbR part-time 20 24 28


  1. The Research Degrees Sub-Committee may permit a student to register for a full-time PhD where the normal and maximum period of study are both set at 48 months, in cases where the funding body requires this to be the case, owing to the nature of the proposed programme of research, and provides funding to support an extended period of full-time training.
  2. Where a student transfers between full-time and part-time modes of study the maximum period of study will be calculated on a pro-rata basis.
  3. The maximum period of study will be reduced to take account of each year of advanced standing granted in recognition of prior learning.
  4. A candidate who is a previous graduate or a current member of staff of the University, or who has a relevant academic connection to the University, may be permitted to register for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy by published work. In such cases, the student must provide evidence of having authored a minimum of six peer-reviewed refereed publications. In such cases, the normal period of study is one year full-time, or two years part-time, to produce a sustained narrative that integrates the published research, through coherent theoretical and methodological evaluation, as an original and independent contribution to knowledge.
  5. In exceptional circumstances, the Research Degrees Sub-Committee may recommend to Senate that the maximum period of enrolment for an individual student be extended.
  6. Postgraduate research students will normally pursue their programme of study and research at the University of Abertay. The Research Degrees Sub-Committee may exceptionally permit a candidate to pursue the whole or part of their research programme elsewhere, providing that appropriate supervisory arrangements have been made, and that the student has access to appropriate research facilities and researcher development and training.

Supervision of research students

  1. All research students will have a supervisory team to guide their research training and to provide an oversight of their programme of research. Supervisory teams will have expertise of the field of the proposed research, appropriate supervisory experience and training, and comprise a minimum of two permanent staff members of the University.
  2. Scrutiny on the behalf of Senate of the prospective supervisory team and the student learning environment will be undertaken by the Research Degrees Sub-Committee. No applicant will be offered a place as a research student without prior approval of appropriate supervisory arrangements.
  3. The Principal Supervisor will have overall responsibility for monitoring the progress of the research student and ensuring that the student has regular supervisory support.
  4. Supervisory teams may not be changed without the approval of the Research Degrees Sub-Committee.



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