We support a community of over 30 students across a range of Professional Doctorate programmes at the Tavistock.The following guidance and resource pages are for Professional Doctorate students on UEL-Validated courses, and their supervisors, as well as any other interested parties. We also run Essex-validated Doctoral courses. For information for current Trust-Essex Doctoral students please go to the Student Regulations and Policies pages.
If you are on a professional doctorate validated by the UEL, the first phase of your course is described as the taught phase, or training/clinical part of your course. Most of the information that you will need whilst on the taught phase of your courses can be found on your course page on Moodle and in your course handbook.
After you have completed the taught element, in order to gain the doctorate award you need to complete a thesis. You will be required to register your thesis proposal and gain any required ethical approval before you can begin. The process of registration, ethical approval and other processes you may need (or in some cases are required) to complete while registered are described step-by-step in these pages. Please click on the menu items on the left hand side to navigate to the required pages.
For information relating to the management and governance of all research carried out within the Trust, including funding opportunities, please visit the getting started webpages. Alternatively, please visit Noclor Research Support.
Once you have registered, you have a finite amount of time in which to complete your thesis.
The registration period is calculated from your date of registration, and not from the date that your registration is approved. This is clearly articulated in your registration approval letter.
Please note that irrespective of your registration period, you have eight years to complete from the point of first enrolment on the course. For Professional Doctoral students this includes the Taught and/or Clinical phase of the course.
Full-time: minimum 24 months, maximum 48 months
Part-time: minimum 30 months, maximum 60 months
If you are unsure whether your course is full-time or part-time, please refer to the course programme specification.
Changes to your period of registration
If you wish to submit your thesis outside of these timescales, you must complete the relevant form and submit to the TSRDSC.
- To submit your thesis before the minimum registration period, please complete the Approval of Shorter Period of Registration (SRP).
- To submit your thesis after the maximum registration period, you must apply for an Extension of Registration Period (EXT).. Please note that you can only submit this form if you are in the final year of your registration period.
Downloadable documents can be found at the UEL-Tavi Downloadable Forms pages.
Once you have completed the form, please ensure that it is fully signed and then submit to the Secretary to the TSRDSC.
Suspension of studies
If your studies are being disrupted by exceptional circumstances outside of your control, you may be able to apply for a Suspension of Enrolment / Registration for between one and three terms, which is not counted as part of your registration period. For further guidance regarding suspensions, please visit the suspension of studies pages.
Please note that your Enrolment and Registration are two entirely distinct processes.
Enrolment refers to joining the course (including the payment of fees and registering your details with the Tavistock and UEL). You can be enrolled on your course for a maximum of eight years. Any suspensions that are applied for and approved, will apply to both registration and enrolment. Extensions can only be applied to registration period if you have enough enrolment time left’. Please see UEL-Tavi D-Level Modular Regulations found here.
Registration refers to the registration of your thesis proposal. In order to register, you must be fully enrolled.
Registration of your thesis
Once you have completed the taught part of your course (where applicable) and before you conduct any research, you must register your thesis. This is distinct from Enrolment, which is an annual process of paying fees to entitle you to supervision and facilities at the Tavistock and (where applicable) Associate Centres.
The registration of your thesis proposal and gaining ethical approval are separate but linked processes. The first phase of the process (the peer review by the Course Registration Board of your research proposal) is the first step for both gaining ethical approval and for the registering of your proposal.
It can take a long time to gain ethical approval for your project. You may have to apply to several different R&D departments and your application may be sent back for amendments several times. Expected approval time is between 3 and 9 months, but can take anything up to 18 months. Please bear this in mind when designing your project as much as is reasonably possible.
There are four phases to the registration of your thesis, and until the final phase is completed you are not fully registered. Please note that until you have acknowledgement of ethical approval from UREC you cannot work with any human data.
When the Course Team agree that you are ready to submit your thesis proposal, you must complete a Registration for a Postgraduate Research Degree (REG) form. If you do not know details such as your student number or enrolment date (your first year of entry onto the course), please ask your Course Administrator. Details for your Course Administrator can be found on your course page on moodle.
You will be allocated an interim supervisor known as a ‘Registration Tutor’ to guide and support you through the registration process until your official supervisors are approved. Your registration tutor may become your supervisor but this is not necessarily the case.
You and your Registration Tutor will review and amend the proposal. You will also need to discuss your ethical route with your Registration Tutor to seek advice on the correct route to apply for.
Once you and your Registration Tutor are happy with the proposal, you must submit the form to the Course Registration Board.
Please note that ALL UEL Prof Doc students are also required to complete the UEL Online Research Integrity Module and are expected to present a Certificate of Completion before registering their research study.
Information regarding Research Integrity Modules can be found by logging on to your UEL Moodle account and can be located by searching Research Integrity Modules, Catherine Fieulleteau, Remy test’.on UEL Moodle: https://moodle.uel.ac.uk/
Please note that students are required to use their UEL username and password to access Module. You are advised to use the FireFox browser.If your account has not been activated and the password changed (which would be their date of birth) the account may need to be reactivated. Students are advised to contact the UEL IT department: 0208 223 2468, email@example.com for assistance on technical issues.
Phase One: Course Research Proposal Review Board (RPRB)
The course RPRB sits between one and three times a year, depending on the number of students enrolled on the course. It is made up of internal and external academic staff including members of your course team.
The board will receive and consider your initial research proposal in terms of academic merit and will verify that the ethical approval route you have chosen is correct. They will either:
- Recommend the form with no conditions. In this scenario, the form will be taken forward without requiring any action from you.
- Recommend the form with conditions. In this scenario, the course tutor will be in touch with you to advise you on the amendments they require before the form can go forward to the next stage.
- Refer the form back. If the form is referred back, the course tutor will be in touch with you to advise you on how to proceed.
Phase Two: Trust-School Research Degrees Subcommittee (TSRDSC)
Once the registration form is recommended by the Course RPRB and any conditions of the board have been met, you must submit the form to your Registration Tutor.
Your Registration Tutor will ensure supervisory details are completed. They will also check the entire form to ensure it is correct.
You must also submit a risk assessment form along with your final draft of the registration form and your Certificate of Completion of the UEL Online Research Integrity Module.
The registration documentation will then be taken forward to The Trust-School Research Degrees Subcommittee (TSRDSC) who will consider the application to ensure that due process has been followed.
The TSRDSC will make one of the following decisions:
- Recommend the proposal with no conditions. In this scenario, the form will be taken forward without requiring any action from you.
- Recommend the proposal with conditions. In this scenario, the course tutor will be in touch with you to advise you on the amendments they require before the form can go forward to the next stage.
- Refer the proposal back. If the form is referred back, the course tutor will be in touch with you to advise you on how to proceed.
The TSRDSC readers use this aide memoire when checking your registration form and therefore it is a useful checklist for you when completing the form. Please note that although the aide memoire is comprehensive, the TSRDSC reserve the right to refer the form back based on an issue other than the items on the aide memoire, although this would be a rare occurrence.
If you are domiciled outside of the UK, you are a ‘split-site’ student and must ensure that the UEL-Tavi Research Degree Regulations, clause 4.6, is met. More information about split-site arrangements.
Phase Three: UEL Research Degrees Subcommittee (UEL RDSC)
Once the form is recommended by the TSRDSC and any required amendments have been made by you or your Registration Tutor as appropriate, the form will be taken forward to the University of East London Research Degrees Sub-Committee (UEL RDSC) who will consider the form to ensure due process has been followed. The UEL RDSC will either:
- Approve the registration
- Refer the form back. If the form is referred back, your course tutor will be in touch with you to advise you on how to proceed.
Phase Four: Ethical Approval
- Once you have received confirmation of your ethical approval you send the letter of approval from the UREC to the secretary to the Trust School Research Degrees Subcommittee. Until you have completed this step, the Trust does not regard your proposal as fully registered.
Once the letter has been received by the TSRDSC you will receive an email confirmation and a ‘pass’ to begin working on human data. You will be required to present your ‘pass’ at Annual Review and at various other stages of your research phase.
Please visit the Research Ethics pages for more guidance on Ethical Approval Routes.
Supervision information for students
Getting the right supervisory team together is obviously extremely important. You will be working with the Course Team in ensuring the nomination of your supervisors is suitable and relevant.
There are a few requirements that the team must fulfil in order to be approved.
- The Director of Studies (sometimes known as the ‘1st Supervisor’) MUST be employed by either the UEL, the Tavistock or Associate Centre.
- The overall team must have supervised at least three other students to successful completion (as a combined number)
- The supervisors cannot be themselves studying on a doctoral programme. However, if someone does not fulfill the above requirements, they can be appointed additionally as an advisor.
For the full list of requirements, please go to the Trust-UEL Research Degree Regulations.
To change your supervisory arrangements, your Director of Studies should complete a Change in Approved Supervisory Arrangements (CSA) and submit the completed, signed form to the Secretary to the TSRDSC.
Supervision information for supervisors
The guidance throughout the Postgraduate Degrees webpages is useful information for both you and your supervisee and therefore should be referred to by you as part of your duties as a supervisor.
Your duties comprise practical/pastoral and academic. If you are external to the Trust/UEL, you will be paid a fee which is arranged by the course team of the particular course that your student is enrolled on.
As part of your contract, PGR supervisors are required to undertake supervisory training within the first six months of taking up the role of supervisor. For more information, please contact the Secretary of the TSRDSC. If you have previously undertaken supervisory training within the UEL or the Trust, it is not compulsory to undertake further training.
The Trust strongly recommends that supervisors keep their skills and knowledge up to date through training, peer review, sharing best practice and other activities. There may also, from time-to-time, be compulsory or non-compulsory training for all supervisors to update you on important regulatory, procedural or other developments.
The Trust expects supervisors to be in regular contact with their supervisees and the guideline amount is one hour per month. This need not be face to face, but can be a combination of Skype, email, phone and face-to-face. If your student is an International student, you must keep records of supervisions in case they are needed by the UK Border Agency. Failure to provide this information if requested has serious consequences. See part 12 of the above Code of Practice for more information.
Supervisors who are employed by the Trust or UEL can only supervise a maximum of nine (full time or part time) students at any one time – this is pro-rata for fractional staff.
Your supervisee, once their thesis is registered, must partake in an annual review every academic year. This is a progression point, and the student can, in exceptional circumstances, be withdrawn from the course if they do not complete this procedure satisfactorily.
It is your responsibility to ensure the student is supported and prepared for their annual review, and that you provide your report(s) in a timely fashion.
You are responsible for making the examination arrangements, in liaison with your supervisee. This means you must approach and secure examiners and complete the required forms. More information about the examination arrangements processes.
Please note that once the examination arrangements have been approved, neither you nor your student should have direct contact with the examiners – all communication around the examination and any documentation must go through the quality assurance office. Failure to do so may invalidate the examination.
Please see section 18 of the Code of Practice for more information about supervisory duties (particularly 18.8 a-w).
Suspension of studies
If you are a UEL Doctoral student, and your studies are being disrupted by circumstances outside of your control, you may be able to apply for a suspension of studies, which is not counted as part of your registration period.
The maximum period of enrolment on a UEL validated Professional Doctorate (ProfDoc) programme is eight years (clause 4.2.2) and the max time permitted on the research phase is normally 5 years. In addition to the normal enrolment and registration periods and as part of the agreed teach out of the UEL – Tavistock validated ProfDoc programmes, students may only be allowed an additional one year intermission/suspension during the normal enrolment period of their programme (inclusive of both the taught and the research side). The one year intermission/suspension is not additive and replaces the existing intermission/suspension period of two years during the taught side and two years during the research side. Please note that applications for intermission/suspension will need to be supported by documentary evidence; and will be considered by both the Trust and UEL on a case by case basis before being approved.
Normally, the following scenarios are considered as (but not limited to) ‘exceptional circumstances’:
- If you or a partner or spouse, close family or friend has suffered from a serious physical or mental illness;
- If you have suffered the bereavement of a partner, close family or close friend;
- If you have been the victim of a criminal act;
- If you have suffered distress due to a natural disaster or catastrophe;
- If your source of funding for the programme of research or postgraduate research degree tuition fee has changed;
- If you have experienced a delay in obtaining ethical approval for the programme of research due to external factors and where the application was submitted in a timely fashion;
- If you have been selected for jury service;
- Standard maternity or adoption leave;
- If your research has been subject to delays caused by a change in members of the supervisory team;
- Any period of internship or vocational placement essential to the degree programme.
Please note that a change in employment would not normally be considered as ‘exceptional circumstances’.
Applying for Suspension of Studies – for students who have registered their thesis (on their research phase)
- In order to apply for a suspension of studies, please complete the Suspension of Enrolment / Registration (SR) form. You must accompany this form with documentary evidence (for example, a doctor’s certificate). Without relevant documentary evidence covering the period of time you wish to suspend, the application will be rejected.
- Please note that although the form requests the period of suspension in semesters, the Tavistock is not semesterised and we require the suspension period to be completed in terms.There are three terms per academic year: Autumn Term (normally September-December); Spring Term (normally January-April); Summer Term (normally May-July). You can apply for a minimum of one term and a maximum of one academic year (in the first instance).
- Scan and email the fully signed and completed form to Academic Governance and Quality Assurance along with your documentary evidence, or bring hard copies to the Academic Governance and Quality Assurance Office room 260 of the Tavistock Clinic. Please note that this form must be signed by both you and your Director of Studies (1st Supervisor) prior to submission.
For the full regulations relating to suspension of studies, please see section 3.9 of the Trust-UEL Research Degree Regulations.
Applying for an Intermission of Studies – for students on the ‘taught phase’ of the programme
- In order to apply for a intermission of studies, please discuss with your Course Lead and complete an Intermission form. You must accompany this form with documentary evidence (for example, a doctor’s certificate). Without relevant documentary evidence covering the period of time you wish to suspend, the application will be rejected.
- Please note that although the form requests the period of intermission in semesters, the Tavistock is not semesterised and we require the suspension period to be completed in terms.There are three terms per academic year: Autumn Term (normally September-December); Spring Term (normally January-April); Summer Term (normally May-July) You can apply for a minimum of one term and a maximum of one academic year (in the first instance). Further breaks will be considered on a case by case basis.
- Scan and email the fully signed and completed form to Academic Governance and Quality Assurance along with your documentary evidence, or bring hard copies to the Academic Governance and Quality Assurance Office room 260 of the Tavistock Clinic. Please note that this form must be signed by both you and thee Course Lead prior to submission.
For the full regulations relating to suspension of studies, please see section 3.9 of the Trust-UEL Research Degree Regulations.
Once you are registered, you must undergo a Review of your progress annually. Annual Reviews are a UEL/Tavistock regulatory requirement. These are usually held in May or July at the end of each academic year.
The purpose of the Annual Review is to ensure that you are being supported appropriately and that you are progressing as expected. In order to continue on your programme and re-enrol on your course you must first successfully complete your Annual Review. Details regarding Annual Reviews, Proformas, Submission of Annual Review documents can also be found on the Professional Doctorates Review Moodle page:
Documentation for an Annual Review
All documentation for Annual Reviews can be found at the UEL-Tavi Downloadable forms website
Agree a meeting date
Your Course Administrator will contact you to arrange the date of your annual review. If you cannot attend in person we may be able to arrange for the review to take place via a conference call or video link.
Complete ‘Form A’ and Progress Report
Once the date is agreed, you must submit your forms to your Course Administrator at least three weeks prior to the meeting. The progress report supports ‘form A’ and should include the following:
- The title of your research programme and start date
- The aims and methodology of your research
- A summary of research training to date and identification of any skills training needs
- A forward plan for submission
- A literature review (first year only)
- Draft chapters or presentations made (not in first year)
If you are within 12 months of your viva examination, you do not need to submit a progress report, as the meeting will be used to prepare you for your viva examination.
The Director of Studies (1st supervisor) completes Form B prior to the meeting.
Attend Annual Review meeting
The meeting will be held at the Tavistock. There will be a panel present, comprising at least two members of staff who are not your supervisors, one of whom will chair the meeting. The chair will ensure that the meeting is being carried out according to the Tavi-UEL regulations.
You will be required to deliver a short oral presentation lasting no more than fifteen minutes. This should provide a brief summary of progress and a narrative account of the work undertaken since the last annual review (or since you registered if in your first year). You should conclude with any issues you wish to discuss with the panel or other skill development issues.
The panel can recommend:
- That you should progress to the next academic year
- That you submit an amended progress report, and the panel reconvene to consider it within two months of the original meeting. If this option is taken, the panel will give you written guidance to address prior to the subsequent meeting
- That you be withdrawn. This would be recommended if you fail to attend the meeting after reasonable attempts by the Course Team to arrange one, or if you fail to engage with the review process. It could also be recommended if the panel feels that it is not in your best interest to continue on your course.
The Chair of the panel will then complete Form C.
Receive written feedback
Within two weeks of the annual review meeting, you will receive written feedback.
Re-enrol onto your course
Once you have written confirmation from the annual review panel that you can progress, you must re-enrol. If you have any queries regarding re-enrolment please contact your Course Administrator, whose contact details can be found on your course page on Moodle.
To summarise, we require from you:
- Your attendance at the meeting
- Form A completed and signed
- Your Progress Report
- An oral presentation
Your viva and submitting your final thesis
This unit specification describes how your thesis will be assessed by the examiners.
Much of the information available in the Unit Specification is taken from the UEL-Trust Research Degree Regulations but it is a useful guide regarding your thesis and the viva examination. Please read this document thoroughly.
Your examination arrangements must be approved before you intend to submit your thesis. The process of approval takes about two to three months, and this should be factored in. This means your supervisor should submit examination arrangements well ahead of when you intend to submit your thesis. Please see the deadline dates for the TSRDSC here. If your examination cannot take place within six months of approval, you must re-apply for examination arrangements.
Please note that, where examination arrangements are not approved the first time they are submitted for approval at either Trust or University level, this will delay the process. If forms are submitted separately, in an incomplete state or are not fully hand-signed, this will delay the approval process.
Examination arrangements documentation
The supervisor(s) will, in liaison with you, complete the Examination Arrangements documentation which includes the Examination Arrangements Application and the Examiner Nomination forms (EXA and EXN respectively). The date of your viva (month and year) must be at least seven weeks after your thesis is submitted, and within six months of approval of the examination arrangements.
Please note that the examination panel consists of an internal examiner, an external examiner and a Chair. If the student is employed by the Trust, the panel will consist of an internal examiner, two external examiners and a Chair..
Viva via video link
In exceptional circumstances it may be possible for one or more of your examiners to attend the examination via video link. Please bear in mind that this will be considered as part of the examination arrangements and may be rejected if it is felt that it will put you at a disadvantage in your examination as a result. Details and guidance can be found at the UEL Graduate School/Tavistock webpage.
Ethical approval letter
Your examination arrangements form should be accompanied by a letter confirming your ethical approval status.
Change of thesis title application
If your thesis title has changed in any way to the title that was initially registered, you must also complete and submit a Change of Thesis Title (ACT) form along with the above.
Please be aware that if you have changed your thesis title or if your original registered proposal has changed substantially you may need to seek an amendment to your research ethics approval from the relevant body. Failure to report such changes may lead to an academic misconduct. Please contact the Academic Quality office or the relevant ethical approval awarding body for further guidance.
Submitting your examination arrangements for approval
At least two months (depending on the deadlines for the TSRDSC) before you wish to submit your thesis, your supervisor must submit the completed and signed examination arrangements form, the examiner nomination forms and ethical approval letter (and thesis title change form where applicable) to firstname.lastname@example.org. The forms must be fully hand-signed and completed and submitted together. Any submissions that are missing information or forms, or are not fully signed risk being returned after committee, significantly delaying approval.
Please note that once your examination arrangements have been submitted you are under exam conditions and must not have contact with your examiners.
Submitting your thesis to TurnitIn
Currently, due to the COVID-19 crisis, students are not required to submit hard bound copies of their thesis and all students MUST SUBMIT THEIR THESIS ELECTRONICALLY BY UPLOADING THE FINAL DOCUMENTATION ELECTRONICALLY AS A PDF DOCUMENT via the thesis submission Moodle page:
It is recommended that you submit your thesis to Turnitin at least three days before your submission hand-in date.
Please contact Moodle Support DigitalEducation@tavi-port.ac.uk when you are ready to begin the Turnitin submission process.
Format of your thesis
- 40-60K words
- The font should be sans serif (for example Helvetica or Ariel) and size 12.
- The text should be 1.5 or double-spaced (except for quotations and footnotes which can be single-spaced).
- Pages should be clearly numbered.
- The submissions must include a copy of the Turnitin receipt.
Please be advised that students MUST submit the final thesis EITHER before the final thesis submission date OR when they receive a letter confirming the approval of exam arrangements.
If you have any queries regarding your thesis submission or about the viva exam process, please do not hesitate to contact Academic Quality – email@example.com
The viva examination
The examination panel are required to consider your thesis and complete a preliminary report (PGRA) form before they attend the examination.
The panel then meet half an hour before your examination begins, to discuss your thesis and any questions that they would like to ask. The examination itself usually takes between one and two hours. At the end of the examination, it is likely that you will leave the room to allow them to discuss the decision they wish to make. Once they have made a decision, you will be invited back into the room where they will inform you of their decision.
After your Viva
After your viva, it is quite normal to be required by the examiners to make amendments to your thesis. If this is the case, you must submit your amended thesis to the Academic Governance and Quality Assurance office by the date specified in our email to you.
The final version of the thesis should be emailed as a PDF to firstname.lastname@example.org. The final version must include your UREC approval letter embedded either in the methodology section or appendices of your thesis.
You will also be asked to submit the following forms with your final thesis:
- Student Declaration Form and EThOS Form Deposit Agreement Form
- Thesis Access Declaration – Confidential Status Request form for a restricted access request (due to confidentiality concerns)
This unit specification describes how your thesis will be assessed by the examiners. Much of the information available in the Unit Specification is taken from the UEL-Trust Research Degree Regulations but it is a useful guide regarding your thesis and the viva examination. Please do read this document thoroughly.
Fees during the examination period
In terms of doctoral students examined by viva-voce, no further charges will be applied for students who have minor corrections to compete after the viva(normally this is three months) because during this period, students require little in the way of supervision. However, it is recognised that for students who essentially fail the viva and are referred for a period of 12 months are required to make more significant amendments and will therefore require significant supervision. With this in mind, students will be charged the continuing student fee for the 12-month period of the referral. Please be advised, that students opting to submit before the one-year deadline will not be offered a fee rebate.
We have devolved responsibility for the quality assurance and enhancement of our courses. Therefore, the policies and procedures differ from those of the University of East London, but are approved by the UEL Quality and Standards Committee.
Below you can find the Trust-UEL policies, regulations and procedures:
- The Code of Practice
- UEL-Tavi Research Degree Regulations (July 2012)
- UEL-Tavi D Level Modular Regulations (March 2011)
- UEL D Level Descriptor (April 2011)
- UEL Research Misconduct Policy (June 2013)
- PGR Attendance Policy (2012)
- UEL Code of Good Practice in Research
- Assessment and Feedback Policy for Masters and Doctoral Level Courses
Please note that these regulations relate to Research Students only. For students who are on the taught phase of a professional doctoral course, most of the units are M-Level and therefore the regulations for M-Level courses apply.