This is the University’s policy framework for Integrated PhD programmes. It should be read in conjunction with the University’s Policy on Research Degrees (PoRD) and with the University’s Regulations for Research Degree Awards (Regulation 2). If there is any inconsistency between the PoRD and this framework, this framework should apply.
An Integrated PhD programme at York combines taught modules at Master’s level, enabling PGRs to broaden and/or deepen their knowledge in a specific area, with a substantive PhD research project. It differs from a standard three-year or four-year PhD programme at York with respect to the volume and timing of the taught element and the award of a Postgraduate Diploma alongside the PhD to successful PGRs.
The approval of an Integrated PhD may be of particular value:
All Integrated PhD programmes should be approved for planning purposes, prior to approval of the academic case being sought from PGR Policies and Programmes Committee (PPPC). Standard home/international PhD fees apply.
Departments will need to ensure that full details of the integrated studies year of the Integrated PhD are supplied, as specified below. The taught element of the integrated studies year must be approved as set out in section 1 of the PoRD.
Minor exceptions to this framework may be agreed by the PPPC where there is a clear justification (eg to meet reasonable requirements from a funding body).
An Integrated PhD programme comprises:
a) an integrated studies component of one-year duration (or part-time equivalent), which includes a taught component leading to a named Postgraduate Diploma;
b) a PhD research project of three years duration (or part-time equivalent).
An Integrated PhD programme has a normal period of enrolment of four years full-time (eight years part-time), with a minimum enrolment period of three years and nine months full-time (seven years and six months part-time) and a maximum period of enrolment of five years full-time (nine years part-time). PGRs on an Integrated PhD programme (iPhD PGRs) should plan their research so that they will submit within the normal period of enrolment. If iPhD PGRs exceed their normal period of enrolment they will enter into a continuation period (of up to one year) and be subject to the continuation period policies and procedures as set out in the PoRD (including payment of the continuation fee).
Requests for leave of absence for iPhD PGRs will be dealt with according to the rules and processes for PGRs. If, however, an iPhD PGR needs to take a leave of absence during the taught element of the integrated studies component, then (depending on the duration and timing of the leave of absence) they may need to take a leave of absence for a full academic year in order to ensure that they receive all the required teaching and undertake all the required assessment for the taught element.
An Integrated PhD programme should normally be described as PhD (Integrated) in XXXX (where XXXX is the title of the standard PhD programme that the Integrated PhD programme maps onto).
PGRs who successfully complete an Integrated PhD programme will be awarded a PhD in XXXX (eg PhD in Linguistics, PhD in Biology), together with the named Postgraduate Diploma (and will also receive a transcript of module marks). The award of the named Postgraduate Diploma will take place at the same time as the award of the PhD.
The named Postgraduate Diploma can also be awarded to iPhD PGRs who: (i) at the final examination, fail their PhD or are awarded an alternative qualification, or (ii) withdraw from the Integrated PhD programme, or have their enrolment terminated, having progressed to year two (or part-time equivalent).
The academic admission requirements for an Integrated PhD programme are the same as for other PhD programmes, as set out in the University’s Admissions Policy and should align with the department’s standard academic admission requirements for a PhD ie including the requirement for a Master’s degree at a suitable level of attainment if applicable.
The English language requirements for entry to an Integrated PhD programme are the same as for admission to a department’s non-integrated PhD programmes.
Where applicable, prospective PGRs should be asked to submit an outline research proposal during the application process as, although a detailed research proposal can be developed during the integrated studies year, it is important to ensure, from the outset, that there is expertise (and capacity) to supervise the prospective iPhD PGR in their area of interest. Submission of an outline research proposal can also enable the most appropriate PGR supervisor to be allocated from the start of the Integrated PhD programme (if that is the approach that the department wishes to take).
Most Integrated PhD programmes will have a single-entry point in October of each academic year (ie that corresponds with the start of the standard PGT provision) in order to make use of existing Master’s level taught modules.
iPhD PGRs are expected to be present in York for all the teaching associated with the taught element. If an individual accepted onto an Integrated PhD programme is not able (eg due to visa issues) to arrive in York before the teaching associated with the taught element starts, then their place on the programme must be deferred until the following academic year.
Given that the key purpose of an Integrated PhD programme is to ensure that PGRs receive a comprehensive package of training, iPhD PGRs are not eligible for any recognition of prior learning towards the taught element. If a department wishes to have flexibility to accommodate the differing academic backgrounds of incoming iPhD PGRs, they may achieve this by setting up a bespoke integrated PhD Diploma with appropriate option modules.
All new iPhD PGRs should receive an iPhD handbook from their department.
An iPhD PGR is treated as a PGR and subject to the rules of the PoRD from the outset of their programme, other than where specified in this framework. In their first year, they should, for example, attend induction events for new PGRs, complete BERT and the Research Integrity Tutorial, have access to PGR and GTA training opportunities (although it is strongly recommended that they do not undertake any GTA work during the taught element of the integrated studies year to avoid overload), and make use of PGR facilities and resources.
The integrated studies component is one year in duration (or part-time equivalent) and should be completed (including any reassessment/resubmission opportunities) within the first year of enrolment (or part-time equivalent). Care must be taken to ensure that there is a reasonable spread of workload across the integrated studies year.
The integrated studies year should comprise: (i) a taught element, and (ii) a research element.
The taught element is 120 credits of assessed taught modules, at least 90 credits of which should be at Master’s level or above, with no credits below Honours level (NB modules at Honours level are taken on a pass/fail basis). The 120 credits of taught modules should be presented as a named Postgraduate Diploma, which is aligned with the York pedagogy and documented as a standard new postgraduate taught programme. A named Postgraduate Certificate lower exit award should be specified. All taught modules should be listed in the module catalogue.
The taught element may be an existing Postgraduate Diploma (i.e. available for existing PGT students as an entry, transfer or lower exit award) or a bespoke Postgraduate Diploma ie approved solely for delivery as part of an Integrated PhD programme.
The taught element may focus on research skills and methods training, or on specialist subject knowledge, or a mixture of both. The taught element may: (i) include tutorial modules ie which enable a PGR to study a particular subject in depth supported by tutorials with a named academic; (ii) include laboratory rotations if these are set up as taught modules, including an appropriate assessment regime (alternatively laboratory rotations may form part of the research element of the integrated studies year); and (iii) enable PGRs to choose, in consultation with their supervisor from defined sets of option modules (which may be from more than one department) to achieve a coherent collection of modules that are most appropriate to their individual circumstances.
A Postgraduate Diploma that is approved solely for delivery as part of an integrated PhD programme, may include up to 30 credits at Doctoral level (and exceptionally up to 60 credits at Doctoral level). PPPC will expect a convincing academic rationale for the inclusion of Doctoral level credits. An associated Postgraduate Certificate lower exit award may include no more than 20 credits at Doctoral level.
The procedures for the assessment of the taught element are as set out for Postgraduate Diplomas in the Guide to Assessment, Standards, Marking and Feedback (unless otherwise specified in this framework). This includes the identification of an appropriate external examiner for the modules and Postgraduate Diploma if this is not already in place.
For full-time iPhD PGRs, it is expected that the taught element will be scheduled towards the start of the integrated studies year, so that an iPhD PGR can focus on the research element in the latter part of that year. Assuming an October start date, the taught element would normally be completed (including any re-sit opportunities) by the end of the Summer Term at the latest. For part-time iPhD PGRs it is expected that the taught element would be scheduled in the first year.
When undertaking the taught element, iPhD PGRs are entitled to access the same learning support as taught postgraduate students.
The research element should be the equivalent 600 hours of notional learning and should comprise: (i) the development of a detailed research proposal for the PGR’s PhD research OR a literature review, AND (ii) a small-scale research project (which may include one or more laboratory rotations) assessed by a written submission. The decision whether to require a research proposal or literature review will be taken by the relevant department (subject to PPPC approval when the iPhD is approved) depending on the nature of the discipline.
The details of the assessment of the research element (ie including the relative weighting allocated to the research proposal/literature review and small-scale research project, and formats, word lengths, submission dates, re-submission dates and pass/fail assessment criteria for each task) must be specified for each iPhD by the relevant department (subject to PPPC approval when the iPhD is approved). In determining the pass/fail assessment criteria for the research proposal/literature review and small-scale research project, the key issue is whether a PGR is able to demonstrate readiness for their PhD research project (see below for full details).
Departments should specify what tailored support they will provide for iPhD PGRs to help them with the research element. This should be provision separate to/in addition to that provided to postgraduate taught students for their dissertation – given the different aims of the research element of the integrated studies year.
As the research element does not form part of the Postgraduate Diploma, an iPhD PGR may incorporate work undertaken as part of the research element into their PhD thesis. The research element is not credit-rated and is not the equivalent of a Master’s dissertation (as it is focused on preparation for the PhD research project) meaning that iPhD PGRs who exit having completed the first year (or part-time equivalent) will not be eligible for a Master’s degree.
The duration of the PhD research project is three years (or part-time equivalent).
The format and word length of the PhD thesis should be the same as the equivalent non-Integrated PhD programme in the department.
The final examination for an Integrated PhD programme follows the rules set out for PhD programmes in the PoRD.
Each iPhD PGR will have a PGR supervisor from the start of their Integrated PhD programme. There are two options:
a) the PGR supervisor(s) is appointed at the start of the Integrated PhD programme;
b) a provisional PGR supervisor (who might be the nominated programme leader) is appointed at the start of the Integrated PhD programme, with the appointment of the confirmed PGR supervisor(s) by the end of the integrated studies year at the latest.
During the integrated studies year, iPhD PGRs should meet regularly with their supervisor (confirmed or provisional) including formal supervision meetings at least every 6-7 weeks as set out in the PoRD (although when they are undertaking the taught element they will not be expected to submit and receive feedback on written work at their formal supervision meetings).
A Thesis Advisory Panel (TAP) should be appointed by the end of the integrated studies year at the latest and should meet as required by the PoRD from this point onwards (earlier, on an informal basis, if the department wishes).
Progression from year one to year two (or part-time equivalent) of an Integrated PhD programme is dependent on meeting two progression criteria:
a) obtaining 120 credits from the taught element in accordance with the standard postgraduate taught programme rules of assessment (including the rules on compensation, reassessment and eligibility for merit or distinction). A department may make a case to PPPC for setting the threshold for progression above a pass e.g. that PGRs must obtain a merit or above but if so there must be a clear academic rationale (eg that this is the standard expected of PGRs progressing to a PhD from the department’s own Master’s programmes). If setting the progression threshold above a pass, any permitted exceptions to this rule (eg if a PGR produces an exceptional research proposal/literature review and project) must be clearly outlined from the outset (subject to PPPC approval when the iPhD is approved);
b) passing the research proposal/literature review and small-scale research project. The research proposal/literature review and small-scale research project should be assessed by the PGR’s PGR supervisor (or prospective PGR supervisor, if their appointment has not yet been confirmed) and the Graduate Chair or their nominee (who should not be a member of the PGR’s supervisory team or Thesis Advisory Panel) against the approved pass/fail assessment criteria (see below) and a consensus reached. PGRs have one opportunity to resubmit their research proposal/literature review and/or small-scale research project if they do not meet the criteria at the first attempt.
iPhD PGRs who meet both progression criteria (ie (a) and (b)) will progress to the second year of the Integrated PhD programme. iPhD PGRs who do not meet both progression criteria will have their enrolment on the Integrated PhD programme terminated, but those who have met progression criterion (a) will receive the named Postgraduate Diploma as a lower exit award. If a PGR does not meet (a) or (b), they may still be eligible to receive the named Postgraduate Certificate as a lower exit award.
Progression from year one to year two of an Integrated PhD programme, including any resits of taught modules and/or resubmission of the research proposal/literature review and/or small-scale research project, must be completed by the end of the twelfth month following first enrolment (or part-time equivalent).
Progression from year two to year three (or part-time equivalent) of an Integrated PhD programme follows the rules for the first formal review of progress for a standard three-year PhD programme as per Appendix 2 of the PoRD.
Progression from year three to year four (or part-time equivalent) of an Integrated PhD programme follows the rules for the second formal review of progress for a standard three-year PhD programme as per Appendix 2 of the PoRD.
IPhD PGRs should be included in departmental and University mechanisms for PGR representation and engagement, as per other PGRs.
Departments should monitor the progress of, and outcomes for, iPhD PGRs. The effectiveness of Integrated PhD programmes should be specifically considered as part of the Annual Review and Periodic Review processes. The University may also wish, on occasion, to conduct a more in-depth review of Integrated PhD provision.
Each Integrated PhD programme (or suite of related programmes) should have a nominated programme leader who is responsible for overseeing the provision, particularly the integrated studies year. It may be appropriate for the programme leader to serve as a provisional supervisor for iPhD PGRs.
To progress from the integrated studies year, in addition to passing (or receiving the required mark in) the taught element, an iPhD PGR needs to achieve a pass in the research element:
Departments should specify:
Departments should also:
The pass/fail criteria for the research element of the iPhD should be based on the principle that they should enable a department to determine if an iPhD PGR (who has already been judged as suitable for admittance to a PhD programme) has demonstrated that they have the required research skills to progress to the PhD research project element of the iPhD (ie the equivalent of the start of year one of a standard three or four-year PhD).
The following are model criteria that can either be used as they are or adapted by departments (subject to PPPC approval alongside the approval of the iPhD).
The aim of the research proposal is to ensure that, where a PhD project is largely PGR-led, the PGR has developed a comprehensive, workable plan for initiating their PhD research, which should enable them to successfully complete within the normal period of enrolment.
To pass, a PGR’s research proposal should demonstrate the following criteria:
The aim of the literature review is to enable a PGR to demonstrate their understanding of key literature/sources relevant to their PhD project. The literature review should normally serve as the starting point for a PGR’s introductory chapter within their PhD thesis.
To pass, a PGR’s literature review should demonstrate the following criteria:
The aim of the small-scale research project is to ensure that PGRs have direct experience of some aspect of primary research relevant to their PhD project, and that the department can ascertain the PGR's aptitude in this area.
The choice of small-scale research project will vary considerably depending on the discipline (for example, it might be a trial of one or more laboratory techniques, the first analysis of an existing data set, an investigation into a limited number of items from a historical archive, a detailed textual analysis of a small number of primary sources) and its nature may be determined by the supervisor or by the PGR with guidance from the supervisor. The degree of supervisor guidance must be considered when assessing the project submission. In science subjects, the small-scale research project may include a number of laboratory rotations.
To pass, a PGR’s project submission should meet the following criteria:
- Appendix 1: Policy on the recording of second progress review meetings and oral examinations for research degrees
- Appendix 2: Policy on PhD/EngD and MPhil PGR progression
- Appendix 3: PGR Academic Misconduct policy
- Appendix 4: Paid parental leave policy
- Appendix 5: Policy framework for distance learning PGR programmes
- Appendix 6: Policy framework for collaborative off-site and collaborative split-site PGR programmes
- Appendix 7: Policy framework for integrated PhD programmes
- Appendix 8: Policy and process for the appointment of examiners for research degrees
- Appendix 9: Guidance for Examiners on Degree Outcomes