Quality Manual

PGR students studying away/in outside organisations

This page provides information for students conducting their research studies away from or in an organisation that does not form a part of the University of Nottingham. Its content is relevant to staff and students across all of the UK, China and Malaysia campuses.

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1. Introduction

The research study of any student may in appropriate cases take place away from Nottingham. This may be another higher education institution or a research laboratory within a non-academic organisation, or another location where the student will continue their research work.

Such arrangements may apply equally to full-time and part-time students and may cover all or part of the total period of directed study. 

Students studying for more than four weeks away from a Nottingham site (either UK or overseas) must inform Student Services about the arrangements for this, by completing the study away notification form:

Completion of the study away notification form is not required for students who are part of a partnership agreement, exchange or mobility scheme, or any other formalised external study.


The following procedures apply to those arrangements which involve research students spending more than six months over a three year period (or eight months over a four year period) away from the University of Nottingham.1

1These procedures are not intended to cover those students who are required to undertake extensive periods of fieldwork away from the University.  In such cases it may not be necessary to appoint a local supervisor in the location of the fieldwork but Schools must ensure that effective methods of communication (eg. electronic) are available in order to allow both routine and formal supervision to take place.


2. Application of regulations

Includes: information relating to programme of study and appointment of supervisors; availability of facilities for study away from the University

All students who study for part or all of their period of registration away from Nottingham are subject to the normal regulations and procedures covering research students. In addition the following special considerations should be incorporated into the management of the student/programme.

2.1 Information relating to programme of study and appointment of supervisors

All students accepted for admission to a research degree which will involve periods of time to be spent away from the University must be informed of their outline programme of study at the time the offer of admission is made. In addition it would normally be expected that supervisors (both at Nottingham and at the collaborating institution) had been identified and the student notified at the same time as the offer of admission is made.

2.2 Availability of facilities for study away from the University

In accepting students who will be required to study away from the University for extended periods, it is the responsibility of the Head of School to ensure that the essential facilities, including laboratory and library facilities, at the collaborating organisation are suitable and will allow the student to conduct his/her research at a satisfactory level. In addition the Head of School should ensure that, as far as can reasonably be foreseen, the facilities and resources will continue to be available for the duration of the student's period of registered study.


3. Collaborative arrangements

Includes: Memorandum of Agreement

Many collaborative arrangements will arise from a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) (either at School or institutional level) with another institution.

In such cases the MOA should outline the supervisory arrangements and programmes of study for the students involved in the collaborative agreement, and may include special arrangements for examination.

In other cases the collaboration will be between individual members of academic staff and in such cases the supervisory arrangements and programme of study should be considered on an individual basis.


4. Allocation of supervisors

All students who are permitted or required to spend periods away from the University will normally be allocated at least two supervisors based at the University of Nottingham as well as a supervisor in the outside organisation.

The local supervisor will normally be based in the outside organisation in which the student will be working and must have an appropriate level of understanding in the academic area of the student's topic of research. The local supervisor would normally be expected to be a postdoctoral member of staff, or of equivalent status, at the outside organisation concerned and may in some instances be an Honorary Professor or Honorary Lecturer of the University of Nottingham.

The School shall forward the names and qualifications of the supervisors, together with details of the arrangements for supervision, to the University for approval. 


5. Identification of training needs

It is the responsibility of the School, in conjunction with supervisors, to identify the training needs of individual students, to ensure needs are met and to determine the means by which they are met.

Where possible research training should be undertaken at the University of Nottingham, especially the generic training modules offered by the Graduate School, but subject-specific training may be more appropriate at the outside laboratory/institution.


6. Level of support

In all cases the School should assure itself that the arrangements for study and supervision at the external institution/organisation provide an appropriate level of support and reflect the ethos of the University's quality assurance framework.

Where practice varies between the University and another institution the School should ensure that the support provided is at least equivalent to that defined in the Quality Manual although the detail may vary. 

Students should be made aware of the individual arrangements that apply to them and where the precise Quality Manual arrangements will not apply. 

If you have any problems or queries relating to this page, please contact:

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This content was last modified on 06 April 2022

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