11.23 Responsibilities of Postgraduate Selectors

1. The designated Postgraduate Selector(s) within each academic department is responsible to the relevant Faculty Pro Vice-Chancellor for the management of admissions to that department. A Postgraduate Selector must be a member of the academic staff at AU. However, administrative staff can co-ordinate the selection procedure within their respective faculty/department.

2. Departments may have more than one Postgraduate Selector. In these cases, there will be one member of staff appointed to co-ordinate the operation of selection and to liaise with the Postgraduate Admissions Office. Departments should ensure that there are back-up selectors in place for both Postgraduate Taught and Postgraduate Research applications.

3. Departments are asked to confirm the names and contact details of Postgraduate Selectors prior to the start of each admissions cycle, and should notify the Admissions Office promptly should this change during the course of the year.

4. New Postgraduate Selectors, or those returning to the role following a period of absence, are invited to contact the Postgraduate Admissions Office to arrange initial training on the current admissions systems and processes in place. Further training and support is provided by the Postgraduate Admissions Office to Postgraduate Selectors as required. Email bulletins are also circulated to admissions tutors, Heads of academic department and other stakeholders on various admissions related matters as required.

5. Departmental staff with admissions responsibilities are invited to attend the University’s Recruitment Action Group, the minutes of which are reported to the Recruitment and Marketing Board. In addition to discussing recruitment activities and events, admissions training and information dissemination takes place on a regular basis.

6. In respect of the processing of postgraduate applications, Postgraduate Selectors have the following overall responsibilities:

i) The Postgraduate Selector will give appropriate advice and will consult with the Postgraduate Admissions Office, as necessary.

ii) The Postgraduate Selector will support the implementation of the University’s admissions policies, and will be responsible for implementing and maintaining the Faculty / Department's stated policy criteria on admissions.

iii) Where an application is forwarded for departmental consideration, the Postgraduate Selector will make a decision whether to accept or reject it on the basis of the information submitted, and in accordance with the University’s general principles of admission. The Postgraduate Selector will take the entire portfolio of application materials into account, and will request further information as necessary.

iv) Postgraduate Selectors should base their decisions on academic grounds only. In the case of non-native speakers, Postgraduate Admissions staff will already have assessed English language proficiency, and included a note to the academic department, via the electronic admissions system, as to whether the applicant currently meets the required English language entry criteria. An English language condition will automatically be added to any offer made to an applicant that has not already met the required proficiency standards.

v) The Postgraduate Selector should work within the University’s deadlines to ensure prompt and efficient decision-making. Selectors should make their decisions within 2 weeks of receipt of the application for Postgraduate Taught applications and within 4 weeks for Postgraduate Research applications. Should this timeframe not be feasible, Postgraduate Selectors should liaise with the Postgraduate Admissions Office in order that an update can be provided to the applicant as necessary.

vi) Postgraduate Research applications should be screened by the academic department’s Postgraduate Selector within five working days of it being referred to them by the Postgraduate Admissions Office. Potential supervisors should be identified and consulted with regard to the application within two weeks.

vii) At least two members of departmental staff must be involved in the decision making process for postgraduate research applicants. These should include the relevant Postgraduate Selector, and one of the prospective research supervisors or the Head of Department.

viii) Shortlisted postgraduate research applicants should be invited to interview, either face-to-face or via Skype/Teams, to discuss the research proposal, associated costs and relevant funding opportunities, ethical considerations and any other issues associated with the proposed project. This should take place within 4 weeks of receipt of application unless a gathered field is required, for example, for scholarship competitions.

ix) Departments are advised to ensure that a log is maintained to monitor the progress of an application at Departmental level, and the date on which a decision is due to be confirmed with the Postgraduate Admissions Office.

x) Postgraduate Selectors will notify the Postgraduate Admissions Office of their decision on an application via the decision form on the electronic admissions system. Postgraduate Selectors should not communicate the decision directly to the applicant.

xi) At the point of accepting a postgraduate research applicant, the name of a proposed supervisor should be noted on the electronic decision form. The Postgraduate Selector should also confirm that the facilities and resources for the proposed research project are sufficient. Bench Fees are only applicable to specific research areas within IBERS. However, should it be anticipated that the proposed research project will incur additional research costs and/or require resources that the student will be required to provide themselves, Postgraduate Selectors should provide the specifics of these to the Postgraduate Admissions Office in order that they can be included in the applicant’s offer letter.

xii) The Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) is a statutory requirement for visa nationals in specified science subject areas. Please see https://www.aber.ac.uk/en/postgrad/apply/atas/. Aberystwyth University currently has a number of postgraduate research courses where ATAS is applicable. In order that an offer can be issued in these cases, Postgraduate Admissions staff will require the Postgraduate Selector to provide the relevant HECoS code and a mini-abstract for the research proposal. The applicant will require this information in order to apply for ATAS clearance and obtain a certificate prior to applying for a visa. As this process can take several weeks, it is essential that this information is provided without delay, and submitted with the completed electronic decision form. Securing ATAS clearance will be a condition of any offer made where relevant.

xiii) With the applicant’s consent, the Postgraduate Selector will alert the Postgraduate Admissions Office in all cases where there are potential student support requirements that would benefit from being referred to other relevant sections of the institution. This information will be shared with relevant teams as consented to by the applicant.

xiv) The Postgraduate Selector will liaise with tutors in other Faculties / Departments in the case of research applicants requiring inter-departmental supervision in order to make decisions jointly.

xv) The Postgraduate Selector will return to the Postgraduate Admissions Office any application that is not relevant to their department, or that the initial department is unable to supervise. Where supervision by an alternative department is more appropriate, such applications should not be forwarded directly, but returned to the Postgraduate Admissions Office, noting which department may wish to consider the application. Where no alternative department is suggested, the Postgraduate Selector should provide feedback on why the project cannot be supervised in order that the Postgraduate Admissions Office can convey this to the applicant accordingly.

xvi) Where an application is to be rejected, the Postgraduate Selector should provide detailed feedback which will be conveyed to the applicant by the Postgraduate Admissions Office.

xvii) Under the Data Protection Act 2018, GDPR, and under certain circumstances, the Freedom of Information Act, individuals both within and outside the University, have the right to access their own personal data as held by AU. Therefore, applicants are able to request access their files, including full details concerning reasons for not offering a place.

xviii) If a departmental studentship is to be offered to the applicant this must be indicated on the electronic decision form in order that it can be noted in the applicant’s offer letter. The Departmental Studentship form should also be completed and returned to the Postgraduate Admissions Office as soon as possible. This information is vital to ensure that invoices for fees are not issued inappropriately, and that maintenance payments are available promptly for the relevant students. The exact level of any award must be communicated clearly to applicants, specifying the amount that will be paid towards tuition fees, and, where applicable, the level of the stipend. See Appendix 7.

xix) Should a PhD applicant be eligible for exemption from the probationary period, an application must be made prior to admission, and ideally confirmed at the decision stage. Exemption may not be sought post-registration.

xx) Should a postgraduate taught applicant seek credit transfer, a transcript of the relevant studies, together with the relevant syllabus should be submitted at the application stage and forwarded to the Postgraduate Selector for consideration. Applications for credit transfer should be resolved at the decision stage, and communicated to the Postgraduate Admissions Office via the Credit Transfer Authorisation Form – PGT Schemes. See Appendix 8.

xxi) The Postgraduate Selector should not communicate with an applicant who has declined their offer of a place, or withdrawn their application, or with an applicant whose record has been cancelled. Postgraduate Selectors are advised to check the status of any applicant prior to making contact with them.

xxii) The Postgraduate Selector will adhere to the Code of Practice in the use of the networked Aberystwyth Admissions System (AStRA and APEX).

xxiii) Neither the University nor the Faculty / Department can take responsibility for advice given over the phone. Misunderstandings can often arise. It is therefore the responsibility of the Postgraduate Selector to ensure that advice proffered is not misleading or incorrect. Important advice should be followed up in writing.

xxiv) The Postgraduate Admissions Office and the Postgraduate Selector will be vigilant to false statements, omissions or misrepresentations, and will alert the relevant Department/Faculty to any serious inconsistencies in application materials submitted.

xxv) The Postgraduate Selector should ask their department to inform the Postgraduate Admissions Office of any prolonged period of absence e.g. through illness. The Head of Department or Faculty Pro Vice-Chancellor should nominate an alternative and inform the Postgraduate Admissions Office accordingly.

xxvi) The Postgraduate Selector should ideally be in post for an entire admissions cycle to ensure continuity between offer making and decisions concerning acceptance. It is essential that the Postgraduate Selector is available during peak periods such as those relating to funding opportunities.

xxvii) The Postgraduate Selector is responsible to the relevant Head of Department and Faculty Pro Vice-Chancellor for ensuring best practice in admissions, and will look to identify applicants with the potential to progress and succeed at the University.