Registration of your thesis (UEL-validated doctorates)

Once you have completed the taught part of your course (where applicable) and before you conduct any research, you must register your thesis. This is distinct from Enrolment, which is an annual process of paying fees to entitle you to supervision and facilities at the Tavistock and (where applicable) Associate Centres. 

The registration of your thesis proposal and gaining ethical approval are separate but linked processes. The first phase of the process (the peer review by the Course Registration Board of your research proposal) is the first step for both gaining ethical approval and for the registering of your proposal.

It can take a long time to gain ethical approval for your project. You may have to apply to several different R&D departments and your application may be sent back for amendments several times. Expected approval time is between 3 and 9 months, but can take anything up to 18 months. Please bear this in mind when designing your project as much as is reasonably possible.

There are four phases to the registration of your thesis, and until the final phase is completed you are not fully registered. Please note that until you have acknowledgement of ethical approval from UREC you cannot work with any human data.

Research proposal flow diagram

When the Course Team agree that you are ready to submit your thesis proposal, you must complete a Registration for a Postgraduate Research Degree (REG) form. If you do not know details such as your student number or enrolment date (your first year of entry onto the course), please ask your Course Administrator. Details for your Course Administrator can be found on your course page on moodle.

You will be allocated an interim supervisor known as a ‘Registration Tutor’ to guide and support you through the registration process until your official supervisors are approved. Your registration tutor may become your supervisor but this is not necessarily the case.

You and your Registration Tutor will  review and amend the proposal. You will also need to discuss your ethical route with your Registration Tutor to seek advice on the correct route to apply for.

Once you and your Registration Tutor are happy with the proposal, you must submit the form to the Course Registration Board.

Please note that ALL UEL Prof Doc students are also required to complete the UEL Online Research Integrity Module and are expected to present a Certificate of Completion before registering their research study.

Information regarding Research Integrity Modules can be found by logging on to your UEL Moodle account and can be located under 'Catherine Fielleteau, Remy Test: https://moodle.uel.ac.uk/

Please note that students are required to use their UEL username and password to access Module.  If your account has not been activated and the password changed (which would be their date of birth) the account may need to be reactivated. Students are advised to contact the UEL IT department: 0208 223 2468 for assistance on technical issues.

Phase One: Course Research Proposal Review Board (RPRB)

The course RPRD sits between one and three times a year, depending on the number of students enrolled on the course. It is made up of internal and external academic staff including members of your course team.

The board will receive and consider your initial research proposal in terms of academic merit and will verify that the ethical approval route you have chosen is correct. They will either:

  1. Recommend the form with no conditions. In this scenario, the form will be taken forward without requiring any action from you.
  2. Recommend the form with conditions. In this scenario, the course tutor will be in touch with you to advise you on the amendments they require before the form can go forward to the next stage.
  3. Refer the form back. If the form is referred back, the course tutor will be in touch with you to advise you on how to proceed.

Phase Two: Trust-School Research Degrees Subcommittee (TSRDSC)

Once the registration form is recommended by the Course RPRB and any conditions of the board have been met, you must submit the form to your Registration Tutor.

Your Registration Tutor will ensure supervisory details are completed. They will also check the entire form to ensure it is correct.

You must also submit a risk assessment form along with your final draft of the registration form and your Certificate of Completion of the UEL Online Research Integrity Module.

The registration documentation will then be taken forward to The Trust-School Research Degrees Subcommittee (TSRDSC) who will consider the application to ensure that due process has been followed.

The TSRDSC will make one of the following decisions:

  1. Recommend the proposal with no conditions. In this scenario, the form will be taken forward without requiring any action from you.

  2. Recommend the proposal with conditions. In this scenario, the course tutor will be in touch with you to advise you on the amendments they require before the form can go forward to the next stage.

  3. Refer the proposal back. If the form is referred back, the course tutor will be in touch with you to advise you on how to proceed.

The TSRDSC readers use this aide memoire when checking your registration form and therefore it is a useful checklist for you when completing the form. Please note that although the aide memoire is comprehensive, the TSRDSC reserve the right to refer the form back based on an issue other than the items on the aide memoire, although this would be a rare occurrence.

If you are domiciled outside of the UK, you are a ‘split-site’ student and must ensure that the UEL-Tavi Research Degree Regulations, clause 4.6, is met. More information about split-site arrangements.

Phase Three: UEL Research Degrees Subcommittee (UEL RDSC)

Once the form is recommended by the TSRDSC and any required amendments have been made by you or your Registration Tutor as appropriate, the form will be taken forward to the University of East London Research Degrees Sub-Committee (UEL RDSC) who will consider the form to ensure due process has been followed. The UEL RDSC will either:

  1. Approve the registration
  2. Refer the form back. If the form is referred back, your course tutor will be in touch with you to advise you on how to proceed.

Phase Four: Ethical Approval

  • Once you have received confirmation of your ethical approval you send the letter of approval from the UREC to the secretary to the Trust School Research Degrees Subcommittee. Until you have completed this step, the Trust does not regard your proposal as fully registered.

Once the letter has been received by the TSRDSC, you will receive an email confirmation and a ‘pass’ to begin working on human data. You will be required to present your ‘pass’ at Annual Review and at various other stages of your research phase.