Postgrad code won't favour elite, QAA says

September 10, 2004

A code of practice for research students will not impose a "one-size-fits-all" model on universities, a conference on the UK doctorate was expected to hear today.

The Quality Assurance Agency's long-awaited code of practice for postgraduate research programmes is due out at the end of this month.

There had been fears that it would concentrate research. But Gill Clarke, assistant director at the QAA, said: "The code recognises that different students need to be taught in different ways. So, for example, while the code says students should 'normally' be supervised by a team, this is not a requirement," she told The Times Higher . She also said the code recognised that the research assessment exercise was not the sole indicator of research strength.

Rama Thirunamachandran, director of research at the Higher Education Funding Council for England, said: "Once the code is published, universities will have 12 months to comply. Those that fail to rectify shortcomings will face financial penalties."

Tim Brown, general secretary of the National Postgraduate Committee, said:

"The key is transparency. We are moving away from a situation where students were assessed behind closed doors and had no means of redress."

The UK Grad annual conference in London this week is sponsored by The Times Higher .

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