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Study Regulations for Higher Doctorates

1. Registration 2. Period of Study 3. Temporary Withdrawal
4. Adviser 5. Assessment/Award  

The following regulations apply to the Higher Doctorate degrees: Doctor of Divinity (DD), Doctor of Laws (LLD), Doctor of Letters (DLitt), Doctor of Science (DSc), Doctor of Science (Economics) (DSc(Econ)), Doctor of Science (Education) (DSc(Ed)), and Doctor of Social Science (DSSc).

Note: Where specific members of staff or committees are designated in these regulations to undertake particular School-related responsibilities, the relevant Head of School retains the discretion to appoint a nominee or equivalent committee as appropriate.

1. Registration

1.1 Registration will be on a part-time basis.  This incurs the Higher Doctorate fee. Once a submission has been presented for examination, the student’s status will be changed to Graduation Only. No further tuition fee is incurred.

2. Period of Study

The normal period of study shall be 12 months part-time, from the date of first registration.  This period excludes suspension of studies.  In exceptional circumstances, a request to allow an extension beyond the normal period must be endorsed by the School Postgraduate Research Committee (SPRC), and approved in line with the relevant academic governance process on behalf of by the Education Committee (Quality and Standards).

3. Temporary Withdrawal

3.1 Students may apply to withdraw voluntarily from their programme on a temporary basis, subject to approval of the SPRC.  Students may be directed to withdraw temporarily by a SPRC, Occupational Health Service. Fitness to Continue in Study Panel or a Fitness to Practise Panel.

3.2 A person on temporary withdrawal does not possess entitlements to any rights or privileges associated with student status, unless this is expressly stated in a letter from the appropriate University authority stipulating the person’s status and entitlements, including insurance status if appropriate.

3.3 The SPRC may permit students to withdraw temporarily from the programme for a period of up to one year at a time, up to a cumulative maximum of two years, where it is satisfied that good cause exists or continues to exist.

3.4 A period of permitted temporary withdrawal shall not count as part of the time allowed by the University for submission or completion.

3.5 Students who do not resume/re-register at the appropriate time and who do not seek permission to withdraw temporarily shall be deemed to have withdrawn from the University.  Students who are dissatisfied with such a ruling may submit an academic appeal (research degree programmes) if a ground for appeal is evidenced.

3.6 Any suspension or extension to the period of study of visa-holding students must be reported to the International Student Support Office as soon as it is known, for report to UK Visas and Immigration.

4. Adviser

4.1 Students registered for a Higher Doctorate must have one adviser to advise on the summary that shall accompany the published works, and to support the student through the submission process.

4.2 The adviser shall be an academic member of the University staff, who is experienced in and actively engaged in research, who holds a research degree at the same level as the degree being advised on or who has appropriate equivalent experience or professional qualifications or status, and who has an understanding of University and School policies and procedures concerning research students and adviser responsibilities.

4.3 The following categories of staff are eligible to be considered for appointment as an adviser: professors and readers of the University.

5. Assessment/Award

5.1 Notice of Intention to Submit

5.1.1 Students must give at least 3 months’ notice to the SPRC of intention to submit.  The Student Registry website provides hardbound thesis submission deadlines regarding eligibility for graduation.  

5.1.2 Students must be registered as research students in the academic year in which the submission is made.

5.1.3 Students who fail to submit by the notified date must notify the SPRC of a new date of submission.

5.2 Title and Format of Submission

5.2.1 Students shall specify the title of the submission when giving notice of intention to submit.  The title may not be changed thereafter, except with the permission of the SPRC.

5.2.2 All submissions must be written in English.  Students may, however, apply to the SPRC at the time of registration to submit material in a language other than English where the language is relevant to the subject of the research.  Where permission is given to write in a language other than English the summary of the submission and its title must be given both in English and the approved language.

5.2.3 The layout of the submission must conform to the format prescribed by Student Services and Systems.  

5.2.4 The submission for the Higher Doctorate degree shall comprise:

  1. A title page, giving the author’s full names, degrees, School, the title of the work, the degree for which it is offered, and the date.
  2. A statement, in the case of multi-authored, joint or collaborative work, of the extent of the student’s own contribution, substantiated by the co-author(s) or collaborator(s).  It is expected that the student will have been a major contributor to each published work.
  3. A CV demonstrating the student’s standing in the field.
  4. A 2000-3000 word summary incorporating a research record, and outlining clearly research interests and achievement through reference to selected publications.  Clear evidence of how the submission meets the requirements for the degree must be provided (see 5.3).
  5. Copies of the published works which should comprise research outputs which match the criteria for submission to the periodic national research assessment exercises.  A work shall be regarded as published only if it is traceable in ordinary catalogues, abstract or citation notices, and web-based materials only if copies of it are, or have been, available to the general public through normal channels.  Documents prepared for a restricted readership and/or on a confidential basis shall not normally be eligible for inclusion in a submission for this degree.  Any material which has been previously submitted by the student for another degree must be clearly specified and will not be included in the assessment of the works.
  6. Candidate-attested translation for any publications in a foreign language, if required by the SPRC.

5.3 Requirements for the Higher Doctorate

5.3.1 A student will have a minimum of ten years research experience at a postdoctoral level.

5.3.2 Higher Doctorates are awarded to students who have demonstrated:

  1. A contribution of originality and merit to their field of study.
  2. A sustained, consistent and substantial contribution to the advancement of knowledge over a number of years.
  3. An authoritative standing in the field of study.
  4. Seminal publications which have led to extensions or the development of knowledge by others.

5.4 Procedure for Submission for Examination

5.4.1 Students must submit to Student Services and Systems an electronic copy of the full submission for the Higher Doctorate degree to be examined. Should the examiners request physical copies of the published works, this will be communicated to the student who shall supply sufficient copies (normally two).

5.4.2 At submission, students must sign a statement that:

  1. The submission is not one for which a degree has been or will be conferred by any other university or institution.
  2. The submission is not one for which a degree has already been conferred by this University.
  3. The work for the submission is the student’s own and that, where material submitted by the student for another degree or work undertaken by the student as part of a research group has been incorporated into the submission, the extent of the work thus incorporated has been clearly indicated.
  4. The composition of the submission is the student’s own work.

5.5 Appointment of Examiners

5.5.1 The SPRC shall appoint internal examiners and nominate external examiners for approval in line with the relevant academic governance process on behalf of Academic Council.  For Higher Doctorate students who are not academic staff at Queen’s, there shall be one internal and one external examiner.  For Higher Doctorate students who are current academic staff at Queen’s, a second external examiner must be appointed in lieu of the internal examiner.  The two external examiners must each come from different institutions or organisations.

5.5.2 Only persons of seniority and experience who are able to command authority within the area of research concerned shall be appointed as examiners.

5.5.3 The examiners shall not have had substantial co-authoring or collaborative involvement in the student’s work, nor examine a submission whose focus is the examiner’s own work, nor have any links, including personal links, with the student which could be perceived to influence their judgement.

5.5.4 The external examiner shall be appointed from amongst the current professors, or readers (or equivalent) from an external university.  External examiners from outside the higher education system, for example from industry or the professions, may be appropriate for submissions in some disciplines, subject to evidence of appropriate experience.  An external examiner must not have been a member of staff or a student of the University at any time during the three years prior to appointment.

5.5.5 The internal examiner shall be appointed from amongst the current professors and readers of the University.

5.6 The Examination Process

5.6.1 The examiners shall each prepare anindependent report on the submission, which shall contain one of the following decisions:

  1. The Higher Doctorate be awarded for the work submitted.
  2. No degree be awarded.

5.6.2 If there is no agreement on a decision, the SPRC shall arrange for an additional external examiner to be appointed following the procedures set out in 5.5, and the majority decision shall prevail.  The decision of the examiners shall be final.

5.6.3 Where the examiners’ decision is that no degree be awarded, individuals may reapply for candidature on one more occasion, after a minimum period of two years has elapsed.

5.6.4 If the Board of Examiners wishes to depart in any way from the normal examination procedures, the SPRC Chair shall seek permission from the Director of Academic and Student Affairs.

5.6.5 Students who are dissatisfied with the outcome of the examination process may submit an academic appeal (research degree programmes) if a ground for appeal is evidenced.

5.7 Copyright

All copies of the submission, whether or not adjudged by the examiners to deserve the degree, remain the property of the University.  The University shall assign the copyright of the submission back to the author.

5.8 Library Regulations

5.8.1 Where the examiners decide to award a degree and before the result is officially posted, the student must submit to Student Services and Systems one copy of the submission bound in the manner of a book and certified by an examiner as being the accepted copy, and the approved summary of the work.  This copy shall be deposited in the University Library.

5.8.2 Students must also make the final submission available in electronic format. The student must agree that the submission be stored and made available publicly in electronic format unless an embargo period has been approved.

5.8.3 Upon ratification of the electronic submission to the University’s Research Portal, and submission of the hard bound copy, Student Services and Systems will confirm completion of the degree to the student.