SUMMARY REPORT ON VALIDATION OF THE STRUCTURED ELEMENTS OF PhD PROGRAMME Q 3

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1 SUMMARY REPORT ON VALIDATION OF THE STRUCTURED ELEMENTS OF PhD PROGRAMME Q 3 Part 1 Programme details Proposed titles Nature and duration of programme DIT awards sought Classifications of award Parallel award sought Professional accrediting body PhD Programme 4 years full-time / 6 years part-time PhD Unclassified MPhil, PgDip (Res) N/A Part 2 BACKGROUND / STRUCTURE Background DIT, ITB and ITT established a formal alliance in October In 2014, a joint Graduate Research School was established and a single Graduate Research School Office provides a unified and comprehensive support service to PhD students across all three partner Institutions. Traditionally the Apprenticeship Model of a PhD was of 3-4 years duration with students working alone or in very small groups with a single supervisor within their own Higher Education Institution. The PhD thesis and viva voce examination was the basis on which the award was made and training in generic and discipline skills was delivered as supplementary to the core aspect of the work. A Structured PhD Programme incorporates the apprenticeship model and as such recognizes that the central element of any PhD is research and generation of knowledge and therefore the thesis remains the basis on which the award is made but also includes compulsory credit rated generic and discipline based modules. In order to facilitate provision of a well rounded PhD education, generic and discipline specific skills, which support personal, career and professional development are embedded in a 4 year programme. Proposed Programme structure The proposed structured PhD model has four main elements: Element 1 Original Research 270 ECTS Element 2 Research & Professional Development Plan 30 ECTS Element 3 Generic Skills ECTS Element 4 Discipline Skills ECTS Original Research While students may be registered on a structured PhD programme in a particular discipline / thematic area each student still follows their own individual programme

2 the core of which must be a coherent body of original research. Research & Professional Development Plans The proposed distribution of ECTS for Research & Professional Development Plans is as follows~: Research and Professional Development Plan Annual Evaluation Transfer / Confirmation Examination 5 ECTS (for each plan) 5 ECTS (for each evaluation) 5 ECTS Generic Skills Training Graduate students may choose to attend modules at any time during their PhD programme. However, they are encouraged to attend and develop their skills early in their PhD Programme. Discipline Specific Skills Training Discipline specific modules for structured PhD programmes are to be developed by Colleges, Schools, Research Institutes or Research Centres. Masters of Philosophy The proposed Structured MPhil model allows students to accumulate a total of 10 ECTS for research and professional development planning and annual evaluation, an additional ECTS for successful completion of generic and discipline specific training (including at least 2 generic modules, Ethics including Plagiarism and one other module) and original research equivalent to 135 ECTS. Postgraduate Diploma by Research The proposed Structured PgDip by research model allows students accumulate a total of 5 ECTS for research and professional development planning and an additional ECTS for successful completion of generic and discipline specific training, including Ethics including Plagiarism and original research equivalent to 75 ECTS. Entry requirements In accordance with the Regulations for Postgraduate Study and Research. The entry requirements for the PhD programme are as follows: Minimum of a 2.1 honours degree (level 8) in a relevant discipline or Transfer from the research Masters degree (level 9) The entry requirements for a research Masters programme are as follows: Minimum of a 2.2 honours degree at level 8 in a relevant discipline or Transfer from the Postgraduate Diploma by Research (PgDip(Res)) The entry requirements for a PgDip(Res) programme are: Minimum of a pass degree at level 8 in a relevant discipline An international applicant, whose native language is not English, must obtain 5.5 IETLS or equivalent for the average score and not lower than 5.5 in the written

3 category. Any student whose native language is not English and who has obtained a score between 5.5 and 6.0 on the IELTS or equivalent must successfully complete the English Language for Academic Purposes module during stage 1 of their programme.** (see panel recommendation) A student can be admitted with recognition of prior learning and exemption from some taught modules by application to the Graduate Research School Board prior to registration. Student assessment In accordance with the General Assessment Regulations and the Regulations for Postgraduate Study by Research of the Institute. Derogations, if any, sought from the General Assessment Regulations Each module is to be assessed on a pass/fail basis. Two attempts at each module assessment. Part 3 Validation/review dates Dates of Validation Event: Wednesday, 24 th and Thursday, 25 th October Membership of Validation Panel: Internal Members: Dr Noel O Connor (Chair), Dr. Lorcan Sirr, School of Surveying and Construction Management, DIT, DTU Alliance Members: John Vickery, Registar, Institute of Technology, Tallaght, Dublin 24, Dr. Brian Nolan, Head of Informatics and Engineering, Institute of Technology, Blanchardstown, Dublin 15; External Members: Professor Mick Fuller, Graduate School, University of Plymouth, Devon, UK, Dr. Eoghan O Faolain, Irish Business and Employers Confederation (IBEC), Dublin 2 Part 4 Findings and Recommendations The Panel would like to commend the staff who worked on the development of the proposed programme. The panel recognizes that a structured programme, including access to other national and international programmes, assists students to be more efficient in their learning and fosters a wide variety of interactions in a supportive research environment. The panel recognizes the challenges and achievements of bringing the three Institutions to consensus. The panel commends the Graduate Research School in coordinating this very important initiative and recognizes the significant effort involved in its creation. The panel was impressed with its interaction with the programme committee, and the support of the supervisors and students who they met. The Panel is recommending to Academic Council approval for the Structured PhD Framework at level 10 within the National Framework of Qualifications, subject to the following conditions and recommendations: Conditions Review and revise the assessment for Module GRSO1003. Recommendations

4 1. Clarify who is responsible for the assessment for each module and record this in the documentation. 2. Clarify the ECTS for the programme components such that they amount to 360 or 340 ECTS and not a range. 3. Develop a TU4D wide implementation plan that enables the structured programme to be rolled out and operationalized effectively. This implementation plan should provide for clear communication and dialogue between the Graduate School/Programme Committee and Colleges/Schools, Students and Supervisors. This plan should provide for appropriate induction for all stakeholders and training where appropriate. 4. The Panel encourages the Programme Committee to reflect on the minimum English language requirement of IELTS of 5.5 and consider revising it to 6.0 in light that there is now a taught element and consider specifying the minimum threshold in each IELTS component. 5. Consider how to incorporate and assign ECTS credits (where possible within the existing modules / elements) to research activities including conference presentations, publications, seminar programme attendance, internships and laboratory rotations. 6. Check that the research plan element is not been overly weighted / double counted for ECTS purposes. 7. Undertake a skills mapping exercise across the programme and produce a matrix and incorporate this in the student handbook. 8. Review workload allocation models to ensure that research supervision is accounted for and that the proposed workload of research supervisors ensures that they are able to accommodate the needs of the structured programme. 9. Each academic school needs to consider how the discipline specific modules can be delivered within existing resources. 10. The Panel notes the wide range of students recruited and the input student profile should be mentioned in the documentation and the different progression pathways available should be made more explicit. More explicit reference should be made to the part-time route. Information should be provided in relation to what happens if the students do not complete during the specified time period. 11. Revisit the section on the recognition of prior learning with a view to making it more flexible particularly in relation to the employability modules. This is of particular relevance to mature entrants. 12. Specify the structure for the approval of new modules to be added to the programme. This should be included in the documentation.

5 13. Consideration should be given to the balance of the distribution of modules throughout the programme and to providing more flexibility with an emphasis on more front loading in earlier years. 14. The programme committee should monitor the student workload and reconsider the breakdown of ECTS on the programme if required. 15. Remove reference in the student handbook to the Programme Committee providing modules, and consider further the procedure / contingency plan in areas where discipline specific modules are not available. 16. The Panel recommends that the Graduate School / Programme Committee arrange regular meetings with key external stakeholders e.g. industry / public sector bodies to ensure that the programme remains contemporary, relevant and of value to the students. Consider appropriate Advisory Boards for each of the four pillars. 17. The Panel noted that there was not a balance of modules across all of the research pillars and some need further discipline specific modules made available, in particular for the Society and Culture Research pillar, to ensure an appropriate choice for students. 18. The Panel strongly recommends, that all module descriptors are reviewed to improve consistency, ensure all assessment weightings add to 100% and to update reading lists as appropriate. 19. A single source/catalogue of all available modules should be developed for students and published online and kept up to date. 20. The programme documentation should be reviewed to remove all editorial inconsistencies. Remove reference to Professional Doctorates as these have their own defined and approved structures. 21. Consideration must be given to the metrics for measurement of success of the programme e.g completion rates, time to completion, employment stats. The Panel welcomed the surveying of graduates as tabled at the meeting and would recommend that this is extended to non-graduating students, and to the undertaking of longitudinal studies. Observation The panel noted the intention that some on-line modules and materials will be provided by a company specializing in online education Epigeum.

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