There is no specific date for first registration of newly entering postgraduate students who are registering for a PhD or MSc (by dissertation only) - commencement is by mutual arrangement with the supervisor. However, Masters and PhD students who need to have the year of first registration counted as an academic year for their minimum period of registration (1 year for an MSc, 2 years for a PhD) must have been registered for the degree concerned by 30 April. Registration follows formal acceptance by the Faculty of an application for admission and involves completion of 2 forms - a registration form and most importantly a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).
PhD registration requires a short written research proposal outlining the scope and intentions of the research that must accompany the registration forms. Final responsibility for registration and acceptance of a PhD student lies with the Doctoral Degrees Board. New PhD students will generally be required to develop a full research proposal during the first six months of their registration, and this may be a stated condition in the MoU. Failure to produce a satisfactory proposal within the allotted time frame will lead to termination of registration at the end of the first year of registration. Acceptance of the full PhD proposal may involve the candidate presenting a seminar, based on a written research proposal, to departmental staff, other postgraduate students and others with specialist knowledge in the field of study, which demonstrates, inter-alia, that:
- The candidate is familiar with the main literature in the field;
- There is sufficient scope in the topic for a PhD and there is a clear definition of the hypotheses proposed;
- The candidate has the ability to undertake the work;
- The potential contribution to knowledge has been identified and there is a clear definition of the key questions to be addressed in the context of the proposed hypothesis;
- The method of research is sound and achievable and there is a clear knowledge of the experimental procedures to be used and the methodology to be pursued in analysing the results.
In the case of Masters degrees, the Head of Department and supervisor must be satisfied that the student is equipped for Masters degree study and has a suitable research topic before he/she is accepted and registered. Candidates are commonly expected to submit, via the proposed supervisor, a written proposal (as a guideline 3-6 pages) which outlines, inter alia,
- The topic to be investigated
- Familiarity with the central literature within the broad field of study
- Clarity on the research methods
MSc by coursework and dissertation
Students registering for a coursework Masters, need to do so by the first day of lectures. Normally a specific day is set aside (consult with the Department concerned in this regard) to complete registration procedures which involves completing a registration form and curriculum form. When registering for the dissertation component (as a separate course code), either simultaneously or the following year, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) will also need to be completed. Registration must have been completed by the third week in February at the latest, or there is a fee penalty for late registration.