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Research support – how it works

When you are sent an offer of registration, we will send you a link to the Research Student Handbook which contains the policies and Codes of Practice relating to your studies and how you are supported.

Supervision and how it works

As an OU MPhil/PhD research student you will have two internal supervisors who are members of the University’s academic staff (EdD students should refer to EdD application FAQ's). You may also have an additional external supervisor, either because of your location as a part-time student or to contribute specific expertise to the supervisory team.

Supervisors provide encouragement and constructive critical advice but also monitor your progress. It is on the basis of progress reports that the University continues your registration. Continued registration is dependent upon maintaining satisfactory progress and meeting all fee liabilities.

The number of meetings you have with your supervisors will depend on the nature of your project and whether you are studying full- or part-time. The minimum number of meetings required is set out in the Research Degree Regulations.

Third-party monitoring

In addition to your supervisors you will be allocated a ‘third-party monitor’. This person will be independent of the supervisory team. You can discuss freely with them any issues or concerns you may have about any aspect of your studies, or you might just confirm that everything is going well. Their role is to provide pastoral care as required.

Formal planning and milestone meetings

Regular meetings with your supervisor(s) are held to make sure your research is on track and that your studies are progressing.  You may spend a considerable period at the beginning of your project on a preliminary reading programme and literature survey before you produce a significant piece of written work. Subsequent meetings will focus on data gathering, analysis and presentation.

Prior to each meeting, you may be asked to submit a written progress report which then serves as the focus for discussion. You might include your achievements and progress since the last meeting, followed by your future plans for the next quarter and any issues or concerns you may have.

Your questions

For advice about applying for a research degree, or sponsoring a research student, send us an email or call +44 (0)1908 654882.