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5. Recommendations available to Examiners

5.1 - The Recommendations Permitted for Each Degree
5.2 - Award Degree in Question
5.3 - Pass with Minor Corrections
5.4 - Pass with Major Corrections (available to examiners undertaking vivas on or after 2 October 2017)
5.5 - Consider Master’s by Research Thesis for an MPhil
5.6 - Consider MPhil Thesis for a PhD
5.7 - Award Master’s by Research with Distinction
5.8 - Resubmission of Thesis
5.9 - Award Lower Qualification
5.10 - Failing the Candidate
5.1

The Recommendations Permitted for Each Degree

Regulation 38.8 sets out the recommendations open to examiners for research degrees. Further clarification of the use of each recommendation is set out below:

5.2

Award Degree in Question

(Recommendation (a) (Regulation 38))

“That the degree be awarded”

This recommendation should be chosen if the candidate has met all the requirements for the degree and the thesis is essentially free of typographical errors.

5.3

Pass with Minor Corrections

(Recommendation (b))

“That the degree be awarded, subject to minor amendments or corrections as defined below. In this instance, the examiners should advise the student of the required corrections and the deadline.”

Minor amendments or corrections must be completed by the candidate to the satisfaction of the internal examiner (or the nominated external examiner in the case that two external examiners are appointed). Minor corrections should consist of the correction of typographical errors, minor errors of logic or referencing. The examiners must specify the time available for completion of the corrections, up to a maximum of three months. The internal examiner (or nominated external examiner) shall ensure that the one copy of the thesis has been amended. In the case of a PhD by published work, the examiners may require minor amendments to the covering document.

Examiners are asked to list the ‘Minor Corrections’ as a separate, jointly agreed accompaniment to their report. Examiners do not need to attach a list of typographical corrections to the reports, but may choose instead to annotate a copy of the thesis if this is more convenient. However, any other corrections should be included within the jointly agreed list attached to the examiners’ reports.

They may recommend the award of the degree without delay, so long as the thesis is corrected before deposition in the University Library. The internal examiner (or a nominated external examiner where there is no internal examiner) is requested to confirm that the corrections have been carried out to his or her satisfaction and the degree cannot be awarded until this has been confirmed in writing to the Graduate School.

Alterations of a more substantial nature will require major corrections to be completed within a maximum period of six months (see recommendation (c)) or resubmission of the thesis, which will need to be completed within 12 months or such shorter period as recommended by the examiners (see recommendation (g)).

5.4

Pass with Major Corrections (available to examiners undertaking vivas on or after 2 October 2017)

(Recommendation (c))

“(First submission only, not available for a resubmitted thesis). That the degree be awarded, subject to major amendments or corrections as defined in 8.4 below. In this instance, the examiners should advise the student of the required corrections and the deadline.”

Major amendments or corrections must be completed by the candidate to the satisfaction of at least one examiner (usually the internal examiner, where appointed). Major corrections should not entail a significant amount of further research or analysis and is normally offered where the candidate has satisfied the examiners that the research/analysis has been undertaken, but has failed to be fully articulated in the thesis. The examiners must specify the time available for completion of the corrections, up to a maximum of six months. At least one examiner, usually the internal (where appointed) shall ensure that the one copy of the thesis has been amended. In the case of a PhD by published work, the examiners may require major amendments to the covering document.

Examiners are asked to list the ‘Major Corrections’ as a separate, jointly agreed accompaniment to their report.

Alterations of a more substantial nature will require resubmission of the thesis, which will need to be completed within 12 months or such shorter period as recommended by the examiners (see recommendation (g)).

5.5

Consider Master’s by Research Thesis for an MPhil

(Recommendation (d))

“(MA, MSc and LLM by research) That the thesis (or exceptionally a revised thesis to be submitted within a prescribed period) be re-examined for the degree of MPhil”.

In such exceptional cases, the thesis as first submitted must in the view of the examiners be close to MPhil standard. Where a candidate is permitted to submit a revised thesis for the degree of MPhil, s/he should have the right, should the examiners deem the work as submitted to be of sufficient quality without revision, to be awarded the degree of MA, MSc or LLM (as appropriate) instead. Where a thesis is re-examined for the degree of MPhil, an additional external examiner will be appointed.

Under these circumstances, where a thesis is not subsequently approved for the award of an MPhil, it is expected that the candidate shall be awarded the degree of MA, MSc or LLM as appropriate.

5.6

Consider MPhil Thesis for a PhD

(Recommendation (e))

“(MPhil only) That the thesis (or exceptionally a revised thesis to be submitted within a prescribed period) be re¬examined for the degree of PhD”.

In such exceptional cases, the thesis as first submitted must in the view of the examiners be close to PhD standard and the award of an MPhil would seriously undervalue the work. Where a candidate is permitted to submit a revised thesis for the degree of PhD, s/he should have the right, should the examiners deem the work as submitted to be of sufficient quality without revision, to be awarded the degree of MPhil instead. Where a thesis is re-examined for the degree of PhD an additional external examiner will be appointed.

Under these circumstances, where a thesis is not subsequently approved for the award of the PhD, it is expected that the candidate shall be awarded the degree of MPhil.

5.7

Award Master’s by Research with Distinction

(Recommendation (f))

“(MA, MSc, LLM only) That the degree be awarded with distinction”

This should be recommended only where the thesis is of highly exceptional quality.

5.8

Resubmission of Thesis

(Recommendation (g))

“That the degree be not awarded, but that the student be permitted to submit a revised thesis. The examiners must set a deadline for resubmission of the thesis, within a maximum of 12 months from official notification by the University. In the case of a PhD by published work, the examiners may permit the submission of a revised covering document and/or a different selection of published material”

A candidate should normally be allowed to resubmit a thesis if it contains work which is adequate in substance but which requires greater revision than permitted under recommendation (c) above (section 5.4, “Major Corrections”) but still can be completed within 12 months. Where, however, faults are found in the substance of the work, resubmission should be allowed only if the thesis is generally acceptable, faults notwithstanding, and where the amount of further research required is not such as to constitute virtually a new thesis. On resubmission, the examiners will have available the same range of recommendations as in the original submission, except that a candidate will be permitted to complete major corrections or resubmit on only one occasion (unless the resubmission is specifically for a higher degree than the one for which the thesis was originally submitted – see paras 5.5 and 5.6 above) .

If resubmission is recommended, examiners are required to supply the Graduate School with a jointly agreed note providing details on the points of which the candidate needs to take account when revising the thesis, and in a form suitable for giving to the candidate. It is important that the candidate is given clear and non-contradictory guidance on the revisions required and therefore that a single note is jointly agreed by the examiners. This note should be attached to the examiners’ reports (but be separate from them) and will be forwarded to the candidate by the Graduate School once the examiners’ recommendations have been approved (see section 8 below for further details). Examiners should also specify in their recommendation the length of time which the candidate has for resubmission of their thesis. This is at the discretion of the examiners up to a maximum period of 12 months.

Examiners may advise but not require a candidate to resubmit a thesis for a lower degree. Candidates can be permitted to submit a revised thesis for a degree of lower status providing the thesis is generally acceptable for the lower degree, faults notwithstanding, and where the amount of further research required is not such as to constitute virtually a new thesis. A recommendation to resubmit for a lower degree will be advisory only and will not be binding on the examiners at the time of resubmission. A candidate will be permitted to resubmit on only one occasion for the degree in question. Notes of guidance should be provided as indicated above.

5.9

Award Lower Qualification

(Recommendation (h))

“That a degree of lower status be awarded. The degrees available are listed below. The award of a degree may be subject to minor amendments as defined below. In this instance, the examiners should advise the student of the required corrections.”

PhD and MPhil candidates whose theses clearly do not meet the requirements for the degree for which the thesis was submitted and who are considered unable to bring the thesis up to an acceptable standard within the 12 month period allowed for resubmission may be considered for the award of a lower degree:

PhD; the degrees of MPhil or the appropriate Masters degree by Research may be awarded.

MD; the degree of MMedSci may be awarded

EngD; the degrees of MPhil or MSc by Research in Engineering may be awarded

EdD; the degree of MA or MSc by Research in Education or in Applied Linguistics and English Language Teaching

LLM; the Diploma in Legal Studies.

If award of the lower qualification is subject to minor amendments, these must be completed by the candidate to the satisfaction of the internal examiner (or a nominated external examiner where there is no internal examiner). Minor corrections should consist of the correction of typographical errors, minor errors of logic or referencing only. The examiners must specify the time available for completion of the corrections, up to a maximum of three months. The internal examiner (or an external examiner where appropriate) shall ensure that the one copy of the thesis has been amended.

5.10

Failing the Candidate

(Recommendation (i))

“That no degree be awarded”.

This recommendation will only be made exceptionally and where the examiners deem the thesis of such poor quality as to make it unlikely that the candidate will be able to improve it to an acceptable standard for the award of any degree within the 12 month period allowed for resubmission. Where the examiners wish to make this recommendation for a Master’s degree by Research, it is normal to hold an oral examination.

Next = SECTION: 6 - The Oral Examination (or Viva Voce Examination)