Submission Rate Workshop Christine Wilkinson & Dr. Jon Howse

Submission Rate
An Engineering Graduate School Perspective.
28th April 2015
Christine Wilkinson & Dr. Jon Howse
• Some Numbers and Data
• Why we think the data is the way it is.
How Data is Presented..
• Data is presented as a series of scatter graphs and
• Scatter graphs show the duration of the submitted thesis
• X-Axis of graph is when the student started
• Y-axis of graph is the duration of thesis, from start date
date to submission, adjusted for LOA.
• Data presented for FoE and then departments.
Why is Chemical Engineering
Different ?
• A consistent message from Day 1.
• A HoD message “there are no extensions”
• An induction that reiterates this message.
– Documenting their awareness of p12 in the code of practice (cf.
Plagiarism lectures)
• 30 month presentations / thesis meetings
• 42 month meeting with HoD & PGR tutor (no supervisor)
– Completed form showing % completion of each chapter
– Q1 always is “Are you still in the lab ?”
• Lots of chasing by Admin Staff / lots of reminders.
The Canary in the Mine
The Canary in the Mine
• Students learn from their peers.
• If a student sees people in their group/dept moving into
year 5 with little trouble…then their expectations become
• “He/She is in no hurry…why should I ?”
• A department needs a culture that completes on time.
• A vicious circle or virtuous circle
A final thought….
How long is a PhD ?
How long have they got ?
We (The university) state (in our own code of practice) that the expected duration for a PhD is 3 years, with an absolute max of 4
- fine and we try and enforce this.
If we look at, for example the government funded BBSRC, they say 4 years is the absolute max, irrespective of how long funding
was for, which can be between 3 and 4 years. Same is true for NERC.
However, EPSRC, say studentships can be funded anywhere between 3 and 4 years, with an additional year of cover for any delays
in writing up, potentially allowing up to 5 years.
Question: Where did the time limits in the code of practice originate from?
REF only assesses on the number of awards during the REF period. So the QR - cash returned is only affected by the number of
thesis completed.
Now, in this document:
35.1. BBSRC, NERC and STFC expect submission within the funded period. MRC
expect submission no later than 6 months from funding end date. The AHRC,
EPSRC and ESRC expect submission within a year of funding end date.
So, from the outset clearly, our code of practice does not reflect this.
Our registration system does not tell us who is funding whom
What are we supposed to do ? Ignore the code of practice or ignore the terms and conditions of the research councils ?