Research Degrees Student Handbook
The Open University’s mission is to be open to people, places, methods and ideas. This is reflected in our research which has the same openness and global reach. Welcome to our research community where you will join approximately 1,000 postgraduate research students, working in our Affiliated Research Centres (ARCs) around the world, at our state-of-the art research facilities on campus in Milton Keynes, and online. 182 students were awarded research degrees by The Open University in the academic year 2013-14.
The Open University’s innovative research and development ranks in the top half of all UK universities. Our research influences national and international policy and practice, and enriches the lives of ordinary people around the world every day.
In the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014, 72 percent of all Open University research submitted was graded as internationally excellent or world leading. In Music, 94 percent of research was assessed as internationally excellent and above, ranking it 8th in the UK in its field. Assessment in the REF of the impact of research on society has shown that Open University research makes a substantial contribution to the economy, policy making and quality of life in the UK and across the globe. Examples of the outstanding impacts of Open University research include:
We aim to ensure that Open University research continues to be recognised for excellence and impact, delivering substantial benefits to the University’s mission and priorities.
The aims of our Research Plan 2020 are to:
This handbook is your guide to the University’s academic and administrative arrangements for research degree study. It tells you about the services available to you, the regulations that apply to your registration, and gives advice about what to do at key points.
Please read this handbook before you start your studies – you’ll also need to refer to it throughout your registration. When you accept your offer of registration you will be bound by the terms and conditions described here, and those on our essential documents website.
The Open University Student Charter website sets out the responsibilities The Open University and its students have towards each other, to allow students to achieve their full potential.
Contact details for the offices and departments are in Part 10.
Our research degree qualifications, mode and location of study, the organisational structure for delivering research degrees, administrative arrangements and Equality and Diversity.
Your student record, the terms and conditions of your registration, fees, financial support and grants.
Key milestones, facilities and services, your research community, professional development, participating in Open University life, help and support.
Your examination, qualification criteria, getting your results, award ceremonies and next steps.
If you are studying for the Doctorate in Education (EdD), some parts of this handbook don’t apply to you. Part 5 and Part 7.4 provide information specifically for EdD students.
If you are studying for the Master of Research (MRes), some parts of this handbook don’t apply to you. Part 6 and Section 7.3 provide information for MRes students only.
The regulations relating to research degree qualifications are given in Part 7. Our Student Regulations which apply to all Open University students are published on our essential documents website.
The Codes of Practice set out a framework for the conduct of research students and their supervisors, and serve as a standard for external audits and research degree appeals. Policies on a range of issues are provided in this part.
Information on how to make a formal appeal or complaint.
You will find a wealth of information about the University, our research degrees, and your student registration online. Visit our research degrees website.
The Virtual Research Environment (VRE) is your gateway to online training and development resources. Forms and guidance notes you will need throughout your studies are available on the Virtual Research Environment. All of the University’s policies, statements and regulations can also be found on this website.