The majority of postgraduate research students registered for the MPhil/PhD degree programme at De Montfort University (DMU) are based on the main campus in Leicester, UK. However, the International PhD Programme allows students based outside the UK to register with DMU for the MPhil/PhD degree course but to undertake the majority of their studies in their home country. As described below, students registered on the International PhD Programme receive the same level of support and supervision as those based in the UK barring the obvious restrictions imposed by the geographical separation but modern communication technologies mediated by the internet (including e-mail and video-conferencing) have now minimised the difference between international and campus-based research students. The following notes describe the general operation of the International PhD programme at DMU.
Application and Registration
• The principle of the International PhD programme is that students based outside the UK can undertake research degree studies in their local environment supported by staff at De Montfort University.
• To achieve this you must first be sure that the facilities available locally are both appropriate and adequate to allow successful completion of the research. This must be confirmed by the DMU supervisor(s) in collaboration with the local supervisor as part of the application process.
• You must apply to join the post-graduate research degree programme through the normal procedure. You must indicate whether you will be studying for the research degree full-time (FT) or part-time (PT). This obviously depends primarily on the proportion of time you can spend on these studies, but also has implications on the amount of contact you can
expect from your supervisors, the minimum and maximum registration times.
• After acceptance onto the International PhD Programme, two supervisors from the DMU
research staff with relevant expertise will be appointed to assist the student. Normally you should also identify someone locally with experience of research (preferably someone who has previously completed a PhD) to act as a mentor or local supervisor, unless you can demonstrate significant research experience yourself. The supervisory team will then provide guidance on the nature and direction of the research studies and the university procedures governing the research degree programme.
• You must agree with your supervisors about the appropriate frequency and mode of communication for your research discussions. This and other details are formally identified in the Study Protocol document which must be completed (following discussion with your supervisors) within 3 months of starting for FT students and within 6 months of starting for PT students. We recommend that student and supervisors should establish contact at least once per month for FT students and at least once every two months for PT students, although this frequency may vary at different stages of the research and often tends to be higher at the beginning and end of the programme.
Research Programme Milestones
• Throughout the research period, you must submit regular Progress Reports via myResearch, recording interim achievements and objectives agreed with your supervisors, similar to that required of UK-based research students. It is a requirement that full-time students submit such reports monthly and part-time students at least every other month.
• Following an initial probationary period, you must complete the First Project Review process for the specific research degree programme you wish to follow. FT students must submit their First Project Review form within 6 months of their start date and PT students form within 12 months of their start date.
• All students registered on the Doctoral Researcher Programme need to apply for Formal review progression to PhD registration. Advice will also be provided by the DMU supervisors.
• Each student must complete the Annual Review process each year within 2 months of the anniversary of their start date. This will normally take the form of an oral presentation by the student on their progress over the previous year and plans for the forthcoming year and is therefore best carried out when the student is visiting the Leicester DMU campus. This is a mandatory procedure for all research students within DMU attended by the student and supervisors and another member of the university staff (named the assessor) who has relevant expertise but is not part of the supervisory team and so can give an external opinion on the nature and direction of the research.
Visiting the Leicester DMU Campus
• To establish and develop the relationship between International PhD students and DMU, each student must meet face-to-face with their supervisor at least once per year. We recommend that this should normally occur by you attending the DMU campus in Leicester as this will allow you access to all the facilities available to research students within the university including research training courses (as explained below).
• International PhD students can spend up to (but not more than) 12 weeks per year at the university campus in Leicester and the number and duration of such visits should be agreed as part of the Study Protocol document and updated annually. Whenever possible the university will try to provide accommodation space for students during their visit to Leicester but availability is generally limited during the undergraduate study periods. There is no specified minimum period that International PhD students must spend in Leicester each year but again this element should be agreed in advance between you and your supervisors within the Study Protocol.
• Each International PhD student must attend the Leicester campus at least once before submitting their thesis for examination.
Research Training Programme
• In addition to the subject-specific training associated with the principal research project, all UK-based research degree students at DMU must undertake a generic Research Training Programme which is promoted by the Research Councils UK. At present this comprises a selection of training courses delivered on the Leicester campus in the form of workshops, training sessions and discussion groups on a variety of topics aimed at developing key-skills in communication, project management and employability as well as some more subject- specific optional courses. Courses are also available in an on-line format making them available to all our research students including the International PhD students based overseas.
• International PhD students are strongly encouraged to register for any appropriate face-to-face courses available during your period of attendance at the Leicester campus.
Thesis Submission and Completion
• At least 6 months prior to the anticipated date for submission of your thesis, the DMU supervisors need to identify examiners appropriate to the research topic and submit the relevant details to the Higher Degrees Committee. You must therefore give your supervisors adequate warning of the likely thesis submission date as otherwise examination of the thesis may be held up until the proposed examiners have been officially approved.
• On completion of the research project, you must submit at least two printed soft-bound copies of your thesis to the Doctoral College which will be sent to the approved examiners.
• The final stage of the PhD programme is the oral examination (viva voce) which should normally take place in Leicester and will be arranged by the DMU supervisors.
• On successful completion of the research degree programme, you will be entitled to receive your research degree from De Montfort University in the traditional manner.