Accessibility statement

Research degree programmes

Getting a new PGR programme approved

New research degree programmes (including PhD, MPhil, professional doctorates, MA and MSc by research) need to be approved by:

  • your department
  • your Faculty Executive Board (FEB), for planning purposes (exemptions apply, see below)
  • York Graduate Research School PGR Policies and Programmes Committee (PPPC), for University academic approval
  • your Faculty Learning and Teaching Group (FLTG) if the programme includes an integrated taught award

For research degree programmes that involve a partner (eg industry, a research institute, or another university) please see the information on Approval of PGR programmes delivered in collaboration with others.

Departmental approval

Departmental approval should be obtained from your Departmental Management Team (planning case) and the relevant committee(s) (academic case) which will normally be your Graduate School Board and possibly your Board of Studies. For ease, you are advised to use the forms required for Faculty and PPPC approval (see below). 

Planning approval (Faculty)

For planning approval, you must liaise with your Deputy Head of Faculty Operations and work together to complete sections 1-3 ONLY of the programme approval document (after opening the template, make a copy of it as the default access is 'view only' for York users) before moving onto the YGRS pro formas, see below.

The form should be submitted to your Faculty Executive Board (unless ask the Dean of Faculty to take Chair’s action, eg for programme variants not covered by an exemption). 

Separate planning approval is NOT needed for the following variants of EXISTING PGR programmes (as blanket planning approval has already been granted):

  1. distance learning variants 
  2. placement variants (incorporating a placement module)
  3. 3.5 year and 4-year variants of three-year PhD programmes (NB ONLY where the 3.5/four-year variant is the same as the three-year variant other than in duration - faculty planning approval is STILL required for four-year integrated PhDs or 3.5/four-year PhDs with a new name and/or which differ from the equivalent three-year PhD other than with respect to the duration)
  4.  off-site or split-site PGR variants including CITY College PhDs.

IN ALL CASES, this blanket approval only be applied if: 

  • (a) there are no additional resource requirements or unplanned costs associated with a variant;
  • (b) the variant is not expected to impact significantly on a department's financial plan and;
  • (c) in the case of an off-site or split-site PGR programme the proposed partner is not high risk.

Academic approval

For academic approval, you should contact the PGR Academic Quality Officer for advice and submit:


  • New integrated PhD programme:
    (i) a one-page summary of the programme
    (ii) a completed YGRS Research degree INTEGRATED PhD approval pro forma 
    (iii) full details of the integrated Postgraduate Diploma on the standard new taught programme form (section 4 of the programme approval document) THIS SHOULD HAVE BEEN APPROVED BY THE RELEVANT FLTG (or FLTG approval should be underway)
    (iv) module descriptors for any new modules [NB all modules should be in the module catalogue]
    (v) a completed external assessor comment form [note the University does not pay external assessors]


It is expected that programme proposers will have sought advice from the PGR AQ Officer and that the proposal submitted to PPPC will have been informed by that advice.

The University does not pay centrally for external assessors of new programmes. If a department believes that it is necessary to pay a fee to obtain a suitable reviewer, it may do so from its own budget (suggested fee £75) and must ensure that the individual commissioned has undertaken the necessary checks before starting work (eg right to work, no conflicts of interest etc.).

Papers for PPPC approval should be sent to the PGR AQ Officer at least three weeks in advance of the next PPPC meeting date