Regulations for the Degree of Master of Philosophy

These Regulations govern the award of the degree of Master of Philosophy at Aberystwyth University, henceforth the University. They apply equally to the degree of LLM by Research.

The degree of Master of Philosophy may be awarded by the University in recognition of the successful completion of a course of further study and research, the results of which are judged to constitute a critical evaluation and analysis of a body of knowledge and/or an original contribution to knowledge.

On completion of an MPhil, graduates will have attained at least Level M, as defined by the QAA’s Framework for Higher Education Qualifications in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Modes of Study

1. A candidate may study for the degree by one of the following methods:

A by pursuing full-time research in the University;
B by pursuing full-time research in an external place of employment;
C by pursuing part-time research in the University;
D by pursuing part-time research externally;
E by pursuing part-time research in the University as a full-time or a part-time member of staff.
2. It is possible, in appropriate cases, to transfer from one method of the regulations to another, e.g., from full-time (Method A) to part-time (Method C) and vice-versa. In such cases the University will determine a revised minimum period of study and will fix the earliest date for the submission of the thesis.
3. In the case of part-time members of staff, candidature is restricted to contracted members of staff in possession of a degree, or equivalent qualification, holding a regular contract of salaried employment equivalent to at least one-third of that of a full-time member in the appropriate categories of staff.


4. A candidate for the degree of MPhil must hold one of the following qualifications prior to commencement of research:

(a) an initial degree of Aberystwyth University ;
(b) an initial degree of another University approved for this purpose;
(c) a non-graduate qualification which the University has deemed to be equivalent to graduation.

A prospective candidate who already holds a doctoral degree must be able to show that the MPhil scheme is in a different field or research from that for which the PhD (or other doctoral degree) was awarded.

5. Irrespective of a candidate’s qualifications, the University must satisfy itself that a candidate is of the required academic standard to complete the scheme of research proposed.

6. All candidates are required to matriculate with the University. The University provides a list of approved standards which will permit entry to candidature for a higher degree of the University. This list is contained in “Regulations for the Approval of Qualifications and/or Relevant Experience for Admission to Higher Degrees, Diplomas and Certificates of Aberystwyth University”.
A special recommendation for the admission of a candidate who does not possess a recognised entry qualification must be made by the Department concerned to the Postgraduate Admissions Office and approval must be confirmed before the candidate's proposed scheme of study is due to begin.

Registration Periods

7. A candidate must enrol as either a full-time or a part-time student of the University, pay the appropriate fee prescribed and pursue the scheme for the minimum period defined below:

Methods A and B:
Minimum period: one year
Methods C, D and E:
Minimum period: two years

Notwithstanding the above, the Department may require a candidate to pursue research for longer than these minimum periods.

8. In order to allow for the examination to be completed, a one-year candidate may submit a thesis, at the earliest, two weeks before the expiry of the period of study. A two-year candidate may submit a thesis, at the earliest, six months before the expiry of the period of study, i.e. one and a half years from the date of initial registration. Tuition fees will nevertheless be liable for the full registration period.
Where an additional period of research is required of a candidate (as described under paragraph 7 above), the candidate’s earliest submission date is extended by a period of time equal in length to the duration of the additional period of study.

Time Limits

9. A candidature shall lapse if a thesis is not submitted, in the form and manner prescribed by regulation, by the following time-limits:

(a) Methods A and B - two years from the official beginning of the candidate’s period of study as a research student, as prescribed in paragraph 6, above.
(b) Methods C, D and E - four years from the official beginning of the candidate’s period of study as a research student, as prescribed in paragraph 6, abov

The above time-limits may be extended by the University, but in exceptional cases only and in accordance with criteria laid down in the Regulations for the Submission and Examination of Research Degree Theses. A reasoned application, supported by appropriate independent evidence, must be submitted by the candidate’s department for consideration by the University.

NB For students admitted from September 2018, the following maximum Time Limits for Completion, including any periods of temporary withdrawal and extensions approved by the Head of the Graduate School, apply:

From initial registration date to the first submission of the thesis for examination:

Full-time MPhil/LLM Research: four years
Part-time MPhil/LLM Research: six years

Extensions to these limits may be granted by the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research) provided that:

1. Evidence of special circumstances is supplied
2. The Student’s department confirms that the research project remains current and viable and that the student is capable of completing the project within the requested extension.


10. The University shall ensure that candidates are supervised, on a regular and continuing basis, in accordance with its general procedures for postgraduate supervision.

11. For each candidature, the University shall approve a supervisory team including a minimum of one main supervisor and a second supervisor nominated by the candidate’s Department.

• The main supervisor will normally be a full-time member of the academic staff of the University;
• The second supervisor will normally be a full-time member academic staff of the University or collaborative institution or organisation.

The procedures for postgraduate supervision shall be made available by the University to students and supervisors through the Codes of Practice and Supervisors’ Handbook.

Thesis Length and Submission

12. Every candidate’s research shall be completed by the presentation of a thesis (normally not exceeding 60,000 words in length, excluding references and appendices) which embodies the results of the research, within the time-limits specified.

13. A properly constituted Examining Board is required to conduct an oral examination of an MPhil candidate who submits a thesis for examination. This requirement might, however, be waived at the discretion of the Examining Board, when an examination of a re-submitted thesis is being conducted and the examiners are recommending a clear pass without amendments, or with only very minor corrections or amendments. In other, exceptional circumstances, a viva for a resubmission may be waived with the approval of the Examining Board and the Head of the Graduate School.

14. Candidates shall sign a declaration to certify that the work submitted has not been accepted in substance for any degree or award, and is not being submitted concurrently in candidature for any degree or other award. The signed declaration shall be included in all copies of the works submitted for examination.

15. The University shall ensure that the form of submission and examination of the thesis conform to the University’s “Regulations for the Submission and Examination of Research Theses”.

Degree Schemes in the Creative Arts

16. In the case of candidates following approved research degree schemes which fall within the University's subject area of Creative and Performing Arts, the thesis may take one or more of the following forms: artefacts, score, text, portfolio of original works, performance or exhibition. The submission shall be accompanied by commentary placing it in its academic context together with any other items which may be required (e.g. a catalogue or audio or visual recording).

In all cases the submission and written commentary shall be bound, and other required items (e.g. tape or other media) shall be enclosed in a container suitable for storage on a library shelf and shall carry the same information on the spine as is required for dissertations/theses. This information shall be placed so as to be readily readable from the container in its stored position.