Accessibility statement

2. The criteria for the award of PGR degrees

    2.1

    The degrees of PhD, EngD, MPhil and MA/MSc (by research) are all obtained by research and are assessed through the submission of a thesis (or equivalent) and, in the majority of cases, an oral examination.

    2.2

      The degrees of PhD and EngD are Doctoral degrees (level 8 of The Framework for Higher Education Qualifications in Degree-Awarding Bodies in England, Wales and Northern Ireland (FHEQ), and third cycle (Doctoral) qualifications within A Framework for Qualifications of the European Higher Education Area (QF-EHEA)).

      2.3

        The degrees of MPhil and MA/MSc (by research) are Master’s degrees (level 7 of the FHEQ, and second cycle qualifications within the QF-EHEA).

        2.4

          A thesis will be a piece of work which a capable, well-qualified and diligent PGR, who is properly supported and supervised, can complete successfully within the normal period of enrolment for the degree in question.

          The descriptor for the award of the degrees of PhD and EngD

          2.5

          The degrees of PhD or EngD are awarded to PGRs who have demonstrated all of the following:

          • the creation and interpretation of new knowledge, through original research or other advanced scholarship, of a quality to satisfy peer review, extend the forefront of the discipline, and merit publication;
          • systematic acquisition and understanding of a substantial body of knowledge which is at the forefront of an academic discipline or area of professional practice;
          • the general ability to conceptualise, design and implement a project for the generation of new knowledge, applications or understanding at the forefront of the discipline, and to adjust the project design in the light of unforeseen problems;
          • a detailed understanding of applicable techniques for research and advanced academic enquiry.

          Typically, holders of the qualification will be able to:

          • make informed judgements on complex issues in specialist fields, often in the absence of complete data, and be able to communicate their ideas and conclusions effectively to specialist and non-specialist audiences;
          • continue to undertake pure and/or applied research and development at an advanced level, contributing substantially to the development of new techniques, ideas or approaches;

          and will have:

          • the qualities and transferable skills necessary for employment requiring the exercise of personal responsibility and largely autonomous initiative in complex and unpredictable situations, in professional or equivalent environments.

          2.6

          A PhD or EngD thesis (or equivalent) must contain a substantial original contribution to knowledge or understanding.

          The descriptor for the award of the degrees of MPhil and MA/MSc (by research)

          2.7

          The degrees of MPhil and MA/MSc (by research) are awarded to PGRs who have demonstrated:

          • a systematic understanding of knowledge, and a critical awareness of current problems and/or new insights, much of which is at, or informed by, the forefront of their academic discipline, field of study, or area of professional practice;
          • a comprehensive understanding of techniques available to their own research or advanced scholarship;
          • originality in the application of knowledge, together with a practical understanding of how established techniques of research and enquiry are used to create and interpret knowledge in the discipline;
          • conceptual understanding that enables the PGR:
            • to evaluate critically current research and advanced scholarship in the discipline; and
            • to evaluate methodologies and develop critiques of them and, where appropriate, to propose new hypotheses;
          • general ability to conceptualise, design and implement a project for the generation of knowledge, applications or understanding of the discipline. [1]

          Typically, holders of the qualification will be able to:

          • deal with complex issues both systematically and creatively, make sound judgements in the absence of complete data, and communicate their conclusions clearly to specialist and non-specialist audiences;
          • demonstrate self-direction and originality in tackling and solving problems, and act autonomously in planning and implementing tasks at a professional or equivalent level;
          • continue to advance their knowledge and understanding, and to develop new skills to a high level;

          and will have:

          • the qualities and transferable skills necessary for employment requiring:
            • the exercise of initiative and personal responsibility;
            • decision-making in complex and unpredictable situations; and
            • the independent learning ability required for continuing professional development.

          2.8

          The MPhil is a degree of considerable distinction in its own right and an MPhil thesis (or equivalent) is expected to display a good general knowledge of the field of study, a comprehensive knowledge of some part or aspect of the field of study, and a recognisable original contribution to knowledge or understanding.

           

          1. This is a York-specific addition to the FHEQ’s descriptor for Master’s level programmes.