During academic year 2019/20, the University of Nottingham introduced exceptional regulations in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, including ones in relation to Masters of Research (MRes) and Professional Doctorate programmes.
Outcomes from the application of those regulations during the 2019/20 academic year, in relation to MRes or Professional Doctorate programmes, will be honoured, and used in all future decision making.
However, from academic year 2020/21 onwards, the Covid-19 MRes and Professional Doctorate Exceptional Regulations will no longer be actively applied to a student's period of study.
For more information, please consult the 'Exceptional regulations applied in 2019/20' section at the end of this page.
Overview and regulations
1. Requirements for admission to a research degree are set out in the University of Nottingham’s Quality Manual in the section entitled Admissions. For more information, please consult the following:
Programme of study
2. Students will be admitted to a one year, full-time (two years, part-time) programme of study.
Taught and thesis elements
3. Students are required to study modules worth 180 credits, of which a maximum of 60 credits must be obtained from taught modules at Level 4 or from the Research Training Programme run by the Researcher Academy (formerly the Graduate School) or other units offering generic training within the University, or from within any other generic training courses run within individual Schools. The remaining 120-180 credits must be obtained from a thesis module at Level 4. Any taught modules and research training taken must be clearly cognate with the student’s research topic. Supervision while undertaking the thesis module will be as set out in the module specification and in line with the requirements for supervision contained in the regulations for research degrees.
4. The University’s Quality and Standards Committee has approved a variation in the number of taught credits required for this programme, as permitted under Regulation 4. of the University’s Regulations for the degree of Master of Research (MRes).
Transfer to PhD
5. A candidate shall not be permitted to count the same period of research for both the degree of Master of Research (MRes) and the degree of PhD. However a candidate for the MRes degree may, after a period of not less than nine months study for the MRes and prior to the submission of the thesis, with the approval of the supervisor and Head of School (or equivalent), submit an application to the University for permission to be registered as a candidate for the degree of PhD instead of a Master of Research. The period of registration for the degree of PhD should normally be three years (and not less than two years) full-time from the initial date of registration for the MRes.
Includes: module specifications; submitting thesis before end of registered study; viva voce examinations
6. The assessment of all modules is as set out in the specifications for those modules. In regard to the thesis module, the maximum word length of the thesis is adjusted in accordance with the number of taught credits undertaken: such that a thesis module 120 credits should not exceed 25,000 words, a thesis of 140 credits should not exceed 30,000 words, a thesis of 160 credits should not exceed 35,000 words and a thesis of 180 credits should not exceed 40,000 words. The maximum word limit is inclusive of appendices, footnotes, tables and bibliography. The Thesis should embody the result of the candidate’s advanced study and research.
7. Students are required to submit their thesis prior to the end of the period of registered study. Two copies of the thesis should be submitted to Student Services or equivalent (in a form prescribed by the University), who will forward the thesis to the Examiners. The thesis should not, whether in the same or a different form, have been submitted to this or any other University for the award of any degree.
8. The thesis must be the result of the student’s own work. The requirement does not preclude a student obtaining limited assistance with proof-reading and with the routine collection and/or processing of data under guidelines and instructions clearly devised by the student. When such help is obtained it should be with the prior approval of the supervisor who must be satisfied that the spirit of the 'own work' requirement is not breached.
9. The thesis is examined by both an External Examiner and an Internal Examiner appointed under the regulations governing the assessment of research degrees, who should provide independent reports on the thesis, indicating whether the thesis module has been passed; and also whether a viva voce examination is necessary. Where a viva voce examination is required by the examiners, this should be conducted in line with the relevant regulations for MPhil degrees.
For more information about the Viva voce examinations, please consult the following:
Viva voce examinations
Outcomes of examination
Includes: award of degree; where a student obtains a fail mark or failed thesis or training credits; nottingham etheses service
10. The degree is awarded where all taught modules and training credits and the thesis module have been passed. The pass mark for all taught modules is 50%, but marks of 40%-49% can be compensated in up to 20 credits if the overall average for the taught modules taken is 50% or over. Training credits will be assessed on a pass/fail basis.
11. Where a student obtains a fail mark in a taught module, or fails the thesis module or training credits, the student has one further opportunity to pass those modules. All reassessments must be completed within one year of the end of the student's period of registered study.
12. The qualification awarded to the student will include the subject of study undertaken as notified to the student at the time of admission.
13. Successful candidates will be eligible to graduate once their thesis has been uploaded to the University’s etheses service and approved by the Internal Examiner or, in cases where there are two external examiners, the lead External Examiner. For more information, please consult the following:
Students from countries that are not familiar with the MRes qualification may, alternatively, be awarded a MA or MSc by Research in order not to disadvantage those students. The regulations for these awards will, though, be exactly the same as for the MRes. This will also be permitted, with QSC approval, where required by professional, regulatory or accrediting bodies.
Exceptional regulations applied in 2019/20
Please be aware that the following Exceptional Regulations were developed and applied in academic year 2019/20 due to the coronavirus pandemic. These records should be read in conjunction with all other content on this page. For more information, please consult the following:
For more information about the 2019/20 Exceptional Regulations as a whole, please consult the following:
Exceptional Regulations: Covid-19 - 2019/20