Graduate School Handbook Part 2 - Postgraduate qualification descriptors

Information about qualification descriptors for postgraduate research degrees at UWE Bristol.

PGR 2.1 Expectations

PGR2.1.1 In higher education, levels of learning and achievement are described in the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications of degree awarding bodies in England, Wales and Northern Ireland (FHEQ) published by the QAA.

PGR2.1.2 Qualification descriptors are used to describe the relative intellectual demands, complexity, depth and independent learning associated with a particular level of learning. To gain an award students are expected to be able to demonstrate that they meet the outcomes and have developed the wider skills and abilities set out in the descriptor for that qualification level.

PGR2.1.3 Postgraduate research degree descriptors at UWE align with the QAA qualification descriptors for Doctoral Level 8 and Masters Level 7.

Regulations about the qualifications descriptors

PGR2.2 Doctoral descriptor

PGR2.2.1R The award of a doctorate of the University requires the postgraduate researcher to demonstrate that they:

a. have conducted enquiry leading to the creation and interpretation of new knowledge through original research or other advanced scholarship, shown by satisfying scholarly review by accomplished and recognised scholars in the field;
b. can demonstrate a critical understanding of the current state of knowledge in that field of theory and/or practice;
c. show the ability to conceptualise, design and implement a project for the generation of new knowledge at the forefront of the discipline or field of practice including the capacity to adjust the project design in the light of emergent issues and understandings;
d. can demonstrate a critical understanding of the methodology of enquiry;
e. have developed independent judgement of issues and ideas in the field of research and / or practice and are able to communicate and justify that judgement to appropriate audiences;
f. can critically reflect on their work and evaluate its strengths and weaknesses including understanding validation procedures.

PGR2.3 MPhil descriptor

PGR2.3.1R The award of a Master of Philosophy requires the postgraduate researcher to demonstrate that they:

a. have engaged in enquiry which makes a contribution to knowledge within their field of study;
b. can demonstrate a systematic understanding of the current state of knowledge within their field of theory and/or practice;
c. show the ability to conceptualise, design and implement a project capable of contributing new knowledge close to the forefront of the discipline or field of practice;
d. can demonstrate a sound understanding of the methodology and techniques of enquiry relevant to the discipline or field of study;
e. have developed a capacity to form judgements of issues and ideas in the field of research and  /  or practice and communicate and justify these to relevant audiences;
f. can critically reflect on their work and evaluate its strengths and weaknesses.

PGR2.3.2 The overall difference between a doctorate and an MPhil is not one of time or length but rather an issue of depth and sophistication.

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