|To:||Heads of all UK higher education institutions|
|Of interest to those responsible for:||Research degrees, Postgraduate training, Quality assurance|
|Publication date:||May 2003|
|Enquiries to:||Will Naylor
tel 0117 931 7471
1. This document invites higher education institutions (HEIs) to contribute further to the development of threshold standards and an underlying framework of good practice for postgraduate research degree programmes (RDPs).
2. This is the second consultation undertaken by the four UK higher education funding bodies, as part of a joint programme to enhance the quality of RDPs by developing threshold standards. The first informal consultation was published in January 2003 (HEFCE 2003/01).
3. The threshold standards that we propose are built on good practice already existing in the sector. They are intended to represent an essential minimum for the provision of high quality RDPs across all disciplines, types of RDP and modes of study. We envisage that all HEIs that receive public funding for RDPs from the funding bodies should comply in future with this set of standards.
4. To encourage ongoing improvement in provision beyond the minimum level represented by these standards, we further propose an underlying framework of good practice. This framework is not intended to be prescriptive, but rather for institutions to adopt according to local conditions.
5. Both the proposed threshold standards and framework of good practice are drawn from a research report originally published on the HEFCE web-site in October 2002, and revised in the light of responses to the informal consultation.
6. We now invite HEIs to contribute further to the development of threshold standards and an underlying framework of good practice for RDPs by responding to Table 1 and the questions in paragraph 36. Responses will be incorporated into a formal announcement on the future of the programme, which the funding bodies plan to issue jointly in autumn 2003.
7. Any responses should be sent by e-mail, by 30 September 2003, to Will Naylor at HEFCE, email@example.com