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PhD with Practice

The PhD at Ulster University can take the form of either a standard thesis-based PhD or it can incorporate an element of practice.

The University has developed additional guidance on practice based PhDs at this University which must be read in conjunction with the general regulations for the PhD and the Guidelines for PhD submissions involving practice.

PhD by Papers Format

The presentation of thesis by papers format may be suggested by supervisors when it is considered that chapters from a dissertation may be suitable for publication as papers in international journals, with little modification.

Framework for Distance Research Study

Our PhD programme may also be undertaken by 'distance' where PhD Researchers who are not based in the UK may wish to remain in their home country and guidelines for this approach have been developed to support candidates. This is available in full-time and in part-time modes.

Other regulatory matters governing your research studies

You should also be aware of a number of regulatory matters which may affect your research studies.

These are noted below:

  • Attendance

    Full-time researchers are required to attend the University campus on a daily basis except by mutual agreement with your supervisors and Postgraduate Tutor.

    You are entitled to 40 days of annual leave per academic year, to include public holidays and periods when the University is closed. To request annual leave for dates outside these closure dates, please submit an annual leave request on PhD Manager.

    Furthermore, if you hold a Student Visa, you will be required to meet monthly in person with your supervisor and record these meetings on PhD Manager. These contact points are monitored to enable the University to comply with UK Visas and Immigration regulations to maintain its sponsorship of Student Visas.

    If you need to spend a period of time studying away from the University for purposes directly related to your research (e.g. for field work, industrial placement, internship), you should submit a 'study away' request for your supervisor's approval in PhD Manager. This includes a risk assessment and will provide the University with details of where you plan to be based (please see below).

  • Disclosure of Personal Circumstances Affecting Progress 

    You are encouraged to disclose any disability or long-term ill health condition at the earliest opportunity so that the University can consider appropriate reasonable adjustment(s) to support you. The University has in place excellent support structures for PhD researchers. For general assistance please contact Student Wellbeing in the first instance. In some cases the Students' Union may also be able to advise.

    If you wish an examining/assessment board to take into account any difficult personal circumstances which have impacted on your ability to progress with the research programme, it is your responsibility to make the board aware of these circumstances before the examination/assessment.

    If you choose not to disclose any such circumstances before an examination/assessment, they cannot be used as grounds for appeal of a decision at a later stage. These conditions apply to all assessments and progress stages.

  • Health and Safety

    As part of your induction you will be provided with a basic level of health and safety information and instruction to allow unsupervised access to low risk areas and activities (e.g. the library, computer laboratories etc.).

    As a researcher you are expected to keep yourself reasonably informed through the information and instruction provided by the University of the health and safety issues which are relevant to your activities.

    Depending on the nature of your research studies, you may be required to contribute to any risk assessment process.

    The University's health and safety policies and procedures are available online. These include specific policies on fieldwork (including advice on activity which is potentially dangerous for political, societal or geographic reasons), risk assessments and supervision of students.

  • Research Governance and Ethics

    Research governance relates to the regulation, monitoring and quality assurance of research. The remit of the University's Research Governance section is to keep local, national and other policy under review, and to disseminate relevant information to the disciplines and researchers that are affected.

    Research governance is also a mechanism for managing certain parts of the research process, including permissions and authorisations.  For our purposes it primarily relates to research involving human beings as participants in and especially subjects of research, particularly in the sciences and social sciences. However, all research in all disciplines should be conducted with similar principles in mind.

    Research ethics is about ensuring that research, especially research involving human participants or subjects, is conducted appropriately. There are a number of issues that researchers need to address in their research design that must be considered and approved by a research ethics committee.

    All researchers are required to undertake and pass the University's online short course on Research Integrity, which is available through Blackboard. The course takes approximately one hour to complete and provides grounding in the essentials of good research conduct, and guidance on how to avoid bad practice.

    You can find more information on the Research Governance and Ethics web pages and in the University's Code of Practice for Professional Integrity in the Conduct of Research.

  • Access NI Procedures

    If you are required to work in close contact with children or vulnerable adults as part of your research studies, you may need to complete an Access NI (ANI) check. You can ask your supervisor about this, and if a check is necessary, your subject area can request one for you.

    Further guidance is available online and if you are applying for an ANI check you are advised to also consult the ANI Code of Practice.

  • Plagiarism

    All assessment material, including your final thesis, must be submitted to TurnItIn for review by the Board of Examiners and/or Faculty as part of your assessments. For this purpose, you should use industry standard software in the production of theses.

    The University's Plagiarism policy, procedures and guidance for research degrees provides further guidance on all aspects of plagiarism and how instances will be dealt with.

  • Intellectual Property Rights

    As a researcher, you will have signed up to the Universitys IP Policy, assigning rights to the University for the duration of your studies.

    The IP Code of Practice provides more information on matters relating to IP, copyright, patents, etc and procedures in relation to re-assigning of IP upon completion.

  • Data Protection

    As a researcher, you may be required to hold and process, both electronically and manually, personal data and you must do so in line with the University's Data Protection Policy.

  • Appeals and Complaints


    If your studies have been discontinued by the University during your registration period (either following an interim assessment or on the basis of a lack of progress), or if you do not succeed in attaining the award for which you registered, you may choose to appeal.

    This is known as A Request for a Review of the Decision of the Examiners and must be received by the Doctoral College within one month of the notification of the recommendation.


    Information about the University's complaints procedures are available online.

  • Use of Generative Artificial Intelligence (AI)

    Generative Artificial Intelligence (Gen AI) refers to the use of AI to create new content including text, images, audio, video, computer code and music.

    The University has developed guidance outlining our position on the use of Gen AI, please ensure you familiarise yourself with this content.

In this section

Framework for Distance Research Study image

Framework for Distance Research Study

Get more information on the Framework for Distance Research Study.