The split-site PhD has been identified as a vehicle to increase collaborative research/international partnerships and opportunities for Kurdish students. This document details their regulatory framework. 

Regulatory Framework for Split-site PhDs 

This policy Framework was considered and endorsed by the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) on 4 May 2010.  It was further endorsed, subject to minor amendments, by MHE on 26 Sep 2012. These amendments were made and the Framework received final approval by MHE Council 7 Oct 2012.


In the context of the Koya University’s a brighter education strategy, the University identified the ‘split-site’ PhD as a vehicle to increase collaborative research/international partnerships and opportunities for Kurdish students. 

However, this year climate has appeared right to review the original ground work and framework policy of the split-site PhD as research shows that there is an increasing interest by foreign institutions in split-site arrangements. Schools may therefore find the split-site PhD a useful tool to encourage their supervisor to prepare proposals and increase postgraduate research student numbers and to establish new research links.

Approved Regulatory Framework

It should be emphasised that Split-Site PhD arrangements lead to a Koya University award. 

a) Agreements with partner institutions

An overarching 'split-site' Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) should be signed at institutional level by the Vice-President for Scientific and Higher Education Affairs and the partner institution.
  • If there is no current overarching MoA with the intended partner institution, please see the Guidelines on Selecting an International Partner Institution for a Split-site PhD. An MoA ‘template’ is attached to the  bottom of this page.

  • Once the overarching MoA is in place with the partner institution, and a School wishes to set up a Split-site PhD, the School should ensure that appropriate facilities for the relevant specific research discipline(s) are available at the partner institution - see the guidelines for  Guidelines on Selecting an International Partner Institution for a Split-site PhD and then complete Annexe 1 under the MoA for the specific Split-site PhD, please see attached MoA example at the bottom of this page.
b) Duration of the degree and mode of study

Students registering for a 'split-site' PhD should be registered as full-time at Koya University. The minimum period of candidature is two years, and the maximum is four years.  
c) Away requirements

The University's minimum away requirement for research candidates is 12 months (not necessarily over a contiguous time period). Although this is a minimum period, Schools may feel it is appropriate to make the time spent in partner university longer. Exact timings for periods spent at partner should be agreed at the outset but should normally be between major events as below:
  • A period at the beginning of the degree (to include induction) 
  • Upgrade from MPhil to PhD 
  • Final examination period - submission of the thesis and examination process
d) Admissions  

All admissions information and other arrangements, including for induction, must be available to students and members of the supervisory team at both Koya University and the partner institution/organisation.

e) Fees

Any fee which may be payable to the partner institution for the provision of supervisory support and the use of facilities during the period(s) of study away from Koya University would also need to be negotiated with the partner institution.  This would be an arrangement between the School, the student, and the partner institution.

f) Research and transferable skills training

All doctoral students are expected to undergo a training needs analysis, or equivalent. Arrangements for where and when this is to be carried out should be agreed at the outset of the student's programme. Once the student's research and transferable skills training needs have been identified it should be clearly set out in writing where and when any training will take place (i.e. at Koya University or at the partner institution/organisation), and, if relevant, when it is to be assessed. 

g) Supervision arrangements

Supervision arrangements should be clearly specified. The supervisory team should be based at Koya University, with an additional named supervisory contact(s) at the partner institution. (Composition of the supervisory team should comply with established criteria as set out Regulation 12 of the Regulations for the Degrees of Doctor of Philosophy, together with paragraphs 38, 39 and 41 – 45 of the Code of Practice for Research Candidature and Supervision). In addition, consideration must be given to the level of supervisory input from the partner institution/organisation and this should be clearly defined at the outset.

The timing of, and arrangements for, supervisory visit(s) must be agreed at the start of the student’s programme. There should also be regular contact between student and main supervisor (by email, Video Conferencing, Phone etc.) whilst the student is away. It is also expected that the partner institution will provide any additional sources of support to the student if needed.  

Supervisory requirements and the responsibilities of the supervisory team should comply with the Code of Practice for Research Candidature and Supervision, taking into account any special or alternative arrangements which may need to be made in the light of any supervision being provided at the partner institution. It is also important that students are aware of their responsibilities and that any special arrangements are put in place to enable them to carry out these responsibilities as required at the partner institution/organisation.

h) Monitoring student progress and formal reviews

It is the responsibility of the School, through the supervisory team, to ensure that student progress is monitored and supported and that formal review mechanisms are in place (see the Code of Practice for Research Candidature and Supervision). Arrangements for progress monitoring and formal reviews should be agreed at the outset in writing, in consultation with the partner institution/organisation and with the student.  

Effective supervision, and good organization and planning on the part of both the student and members of the supervisory team, are fundamental to the success of a split-site research degree. It is therefore particularly important that informal monitoring and formal progress review meetings are carried out regularly, according to a pre-arranged schedule. Informal supervision meetings and formal review meetings should be fully documented, involving appropriate communication between supervisors as necessary, so that it is clear to all concerned how, when and where any problems or issues arising are to be addressed, and any subsequent actions taken.

However; The department will formally review the progress of each student within twelve months of registration and also by the end of the penultimate year of study. Additionally, departments may choose to hold annual progress reviews. Published departmental review procedures must:
  • include at least one member of the academic staff other than the supervisor;
  • be based on an appropriate area of the student's research;
  • provide an appropriate amount of time for reviewers to read submitted work;
  • include an opportunity for the student to defend his/her work/progress orally to the review panel.
  • By the end of the penultimate year of study an agreed timetable for completion should be produced that includes ensuring the examination entry is made.
Progress reviews may result in continued registration, with or without conditions, or termination of registration. The Research Degrees Manager will, if applicable, inform the student in writing of the outcome with the reasons for imposing conditions or terminating registration. A student has the right of appeal against a decision to terminate his or her registration. Appeals will be conducted in accordance with the Appeals Regulations for Research Students.

i) Upgrade from MPhil to PhD

The upgrade process should take place according to the Code of Practice for Research Candidature and Supervision. The department will make a decision whether to upgrade a student from the MPhil to the PhD programme at the first formal review or within one year of it. The expectation is that this process will normally take place in Koya.

Upgrade procedures are agreed by each department but should:
  • specify the amount and type of written materials a student is required to produce and indicate the deadlines for submission;
  • require the student's written materials to include a clear framework for the research and a timetable for completion;
  • provide for an upgrade panel that can include the student's supervisor(s) and include at least one member of the department who is not directly involved in the student's supervision. Where a student's supervisor is not included on the upgrade panel, his/her view should be sought before the Panel reaches a decision;
  • include an opportunity for the student to defend his/her written materials orally.
If a student is not upgraded he/she is entitled to resubmit work and be re-examined under the same principles governing the first attempt within a further six months for a final decision.

j) Examination of the PhD

It is expected that the student will submit his/her thesis to their School in Koya and that the viva voce will also take place in Koya University. The student will be required to give notification of intention to submit in the normal way (i.e. no later that two months prior to the date of submission). Examination arrangements and the examination process should be carried out as set out in the Regulations for the Degrees of Master of Philosophy MPhil and Doctor of Philosophy PhD and the Code of Practice for Research Candidature and Supervision.   

The viva voce examination will normally take place in Koya University and the School should ensure that arrangements are communicated well in advance to all concerned including the partner institution. In particular, sufficient time should be allowed to enable the supervisory contact from the partner institution to make arrangements to attend the viva voce should this be requested by the student, see more at examination regulations   

k) Award

On successful completion, the research degree will be awarded by the Koya University.

l) Complaints and Appeals

In accordance with normal practice, students and supervisors should be made aware of the procedures and processes for addressing complaints and appeals (see the Code of Practice for Research Candidature and Supervision). The Koya University’s procedures should also be invoked if a complaint or an appeal is made in connection with the student’s period of study at the partner institution.

m) Approval process 

Whilst such split-site arrangements do not require the development of separate regulations, all such arrangements should be made in consultation with the Faculty and be approved by the relevant Faculty Committee as follows:
  • f there is no current overarching ‘split-site’ MoA with the intended partner institution, the split-site arrangement should be approved by the relevant Faculty Committee/Dean before the MoA is signed by the Vice-Chancellor. Annexe 1, which gives more specific details of the arrangement, should be completed at this stage and signed by the Head of School.
  • If a School wishes to use an overarching ‘split-site’ MoA which has already been set up by another School with that same partner institution, the School should complete Annexe 1 to confirm that appropriate facilities and arrangements are in place for a student or group of students who will be undertaking a Split-site PhD (see the Guidelines on Selecting an International Partner Institution for a Split-site PhD.  Annexe 1 should be signed by the Head of School and the partner institution at the appropriate level. A copy of the signed Annexe 1 should also be sent to the Higher Education Affairs Office. 
N) Absence and interrupting registration
  • If a student is absent from the School for longer than 2 weeks other than permitted absences under regulations 10 and 17, he or she should first notify their supervisor/department and then the Research Degrees Unit. 

  • A programme must be followed continuously except by permission of the Research Degrees Subcommittee Chair. Students who want to interrupt their studies must apply in advance for permission to do so and provide the appropriate documentary evidence. Retrospective interruptions will not normally be approved. Interruption will not normally be allowed for more than a total of two years overall and will not normally be permitted within the first year of study.

بە کوردی
Dilan Rostam,
19 Oct 2012, 08:36