What is expected of Candidates for a Research Degree?

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1 What is expected of Candidates for a Research Degree? The Quality Assurance Agency s definition of what Masters and Doctorates are is given along with their qualification descriptors (QAA framework for higher education qualifications 2001). The University of Hull fully endorses these. The University s guidelines for Examiners are also given at the end of each section, so that you can see what the Examiners of your thesis or dissertation will be looking for. The specific standards and criteria for research degrees at the University of Hull are given at the end of this document. Masters level Much of the study undertaken at Masters level will have been at, or informed by, the forefront of an academic or professional discipline. Students will have shown originality in the application of knowledge, and they will understand how the boundaries of knowledge are advanced through research. They will be able to deal with complex issues both systematically and creatively, and they will show originality in tackling and solving problems. They will have the qualities needed for employment in circumstances requiring sound judgement, personal responsibility and initiative, in complex and unpredictable professional environments. Masters degrees are awarded after completion of taught courses, programmes of research, or a mixture of both. Longer, research-based programmes often lead to the degree of MPhil. Most Masters courses last at least one year (if taken full-time), and are taken by persons with Honours degrees (or equivalent achievement). Descriptor for a qualification at Masters (M) level: Masters degree Masters degrees are awarded to students who have demonstrated: (i) a systematic understanding of knowledge, and a critical awareness of current problems and/or new insights, much of which is at, or informed by, the forefront of their academic discipline, field of study, or area of professional practice; (ii) a comprehensive understanding of techniques applicable to their own research or advanced scholarship; (iii) originality in the application of knowledge, together with a practical understanding of how established techniques of research and enquiry are used to create and interpret knowledge in the discipline; (iv) conceptual understanding that enables the student: to evaluate critically current research and advanced scholarship in the discipline; and to evaluate methodologies and develop critiques of them and, where appropriate, to propose new hypotheses.

2 Typically, holders of the qualification will be able to: a) deal with complex issues both systematically and creatively, make sound judgements in the absence of complete data, and communicate their conclusions clearly to specialist and non-specialist audiences; b) demonstrate self-direction and originality in tackling and solving problems, and act autonomously in planning and implementing tasks at a professional or equivalent level; c) continue to advance their knowledge and understanding, and to develop new skills to a high level; and will have: d) the qualities and transferable skills necessary for employment requiring: the exercise of initiative and personal responsibility; decision-making in complex and unpredictable situations; and the independent learning ability required for continuing professional development. At the University of Hull the guidance for Examiners of theses submitted for a Masters degree by research/thesis (Master of Philosophy, Master of Science, Master of Education, Master of Arts includes the following, that: 1. Candidates may be required to submit themselves for an oral examination on matters relevant to their thesis and to satisfy the examiners in this examination as well as in the thesis presented and in any written examination which may be required. However, the examiners must indicate if an oral examination has been dispensed with at the appropriate place on the form. 2. Each examiner is required to make an independent report of about 300 words on the thesis and send this to the Graduate School. This report should include the following: (a) (b) (c) (d) a clear indication of the subject matter of the thesis; an opinion on the quality and scope of the work; an opinion on the organisation, form and presentation of the thesis; a comment on the candidate s appreciation of the field of study and background relevant to his/her work. Examiners should satisfy themselves that the thesis represents the candidate s own work, or, if the work has been done in collaboration, that the candidate s share in the research was adequate.

3 Doctoral level Doctorates are awarded for the creation and interpretation of knowledge, which extends the forefront of a discipline, usually through original research. Holders of doctorates will be able to conceptualise, design and implement projects for the generation of significant new knowledge and/or understanding. Holders of doctorates will have the qualities needed for employment requiring the ability to make informed judgements on complex issues in specialist fields, and innovation in tackling and solving problems. The titles PhD and DPhil are commonly used for doctorates awarded on the basis of original research. Doctoral programmes, that may include a research component, but which have a substantial taught element lead usually to awards that include the name of the discipline in their title (eg EdD for Doctor of Education). A doctorate normally requires the equivalent of three years' full-time study. Descriptor for qualifications at Doctoral (D) level: Doctoral degree Doctorates are awarded to students who have demonstrated: (i) the creation and interpretation of new knowledge, through original research or other advanced scholarship, of a quality to satisfy peer review, extend the forefront of the discipline, and merit publication; (ii) a systematic acquisition and understanding of a substantial body of knowledge which is at the forefront of an academic discipline or area of professional practice; (iii) the general ability to conceptualise, design and implement a project for the generation of new knowledge, applications or understanding at the forefront of the discipline, and to adjust the project design in the light of unforeseen problems; (iv) a detailed understanding of applicable techniques for research and advanced academic enquiry. Typically, holders of the qualification will be able to: a) make informed judgements on complex issues in specialist fields, often in the absence of complete data, and be able to communicate their ideas and conclusions clearly and effectively to specialist and non-specialist audiences; b) continue to undertake pure and/or applied research and development at an advanced level, contributing substantially to the development of new techniques, ideas, or approaches; and will have: c) the qualities and transferable skills necessary for employment requiring the exercise of personal responsibility and largely autonomous initiative in complex and unpredictable situations, in professional or equivalent environments.

4 At the University of Hull the guidance for Examiners of Doctorates includes the following, that: Each examiner is required to make an independent report of between 300 and 500 words on the thesis. The report should embody the following: (a) (b) (c) (d) (e) a clear indication of the subject matter of the thesis; an opinion on the quality and quantity of the research work presented; an opinion on the exposition and presentation of the thesis; an evaluation of the thesis as an original contribution to the advancement of knowledge; a comment on the candidate s critical appreciation of the field of study and background relevant to his/her work; Although the regulations for the PhD degree do not require that the thesis should be worthy of publication, either in full or in part, an opinion on this question would be helpful to the Graduate Research Committee. Examiners for the degree of Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) are told that the candidate shall be examined by means of: (a) (b) (c) a thesis which must deal with one or more subjects studied in the curriculum for the appropriate postgraduate degree giving a professional qualification degree or with subjects in a cognate field; such a thesis, specially written for the degree, must not have been submitted in candidate for any other degree, diploma or professional qualification; material included in the thesis may be published before the thesis is submitted but that fact must be recorded in the thesis; the thesis must also represent the candidates own work, or if carried out in collaboration with other members of a research group, the candidate must indicate clearly their own substantial contribution to the research. The thesis must be an original work making a significant contribution to knowledge in or understanding of the field of study, containing material worthy of publication, showing a comprehensive knowledge and critical appreciation of the field of study and related literature. It should be presented in a clear manner in accordance with Instructions to candidates for the PhD degree; an oral examination; an assessment of any additional studies prescribed by the candidate s Faculty Examiners for the Clinical Psychology Doctorate Degree (ClinPsyD) are told that the candidate shall be examined by means of: (i) (ii) (iii) multiple-choice compendium examination in July of the first year; a written examination consisting of two papers in the second semester of the second year; a portfolio consisting of (a) a Clinical Research Project of not more than 45,000 words (b) a report of a short clinical research study carried out on placement of not more than 3,00 words; (c) at least one clinical study from five of the six placements;

5 and (d) a paper of not more than 5,000 words based upon the Research Project in a form suitable for publication in an appropriate, refereed journal, to be submitted in the August of the third year; (iv) a viva voce examination. Examiners for the Degree of Doctor of Medicine (MD) are told that the candidate shall be examined by means of: (a) (b) a thesis on a subject selected by the candidate and approved by Graduate Research Committee: such a thesis to be the result of original research and to show an awareness of the relationship of the research to a wider field of knowledge. This thesis should be presented in a clear manner in accordance with instructions to candidates for Doctoral Examinations at the University of Hull an oral examination

6 STANDARDS FOR RESEARCH DEGREES PhD (Doctor of Philosophy) The degree of PhD shall be awarded to a candidate who has undertaken a substantial programme of independent research, leading to an original contribution to the advancement of knowledge and its interpretation, and involving a critical appreciation of the field of study and the background relevant to the work. The research will be presented in a thesis and defended in a viva voce to the satisfaction of the examiners. The candidate also has to complete the required number of credits in the Postgraduate Training Scheme. Professional Doctorates: Doctor of Clinical Psychology (ClinPsyD), Doctor of Psychology (PsyD), Doctor of Education (EdD) and Doctor of Medicine (MD). The degree shall be awarded to a candidate who has undertaken a substantial programme of independent research, leading to an original contribution to the advancement of knowledge and professional practice, and involving a critical appreciation of the field of study and the background relevant to the work. The research will be presented in a thesis and defended in a viva voce to the satisfaction of the examiners. Where necessary, the candidate also has to complete other written assessments and taught components successfully which are specified in the programme-level regulations. PhD (Doctor of Philosophy) by Publication The PhD by Publication shall be awarded to a candidate whose published work represents a contribution to knowledge showing evidence of originality and clarity of thought, of independent critical power, of application of research methods appropriate to the particular field of study and of an appreciation of the general field of knowledge to which the subject relates. The treatment of the topic or topics in the field of study should be substantial and should normally relate in a coherent way. The work shall be defended in a viva voce to the satisfaction of the examiners. NewRoute PhD The NewRoute PhD shall be awarded to a candidate who has undertaken a substantial programme of independent research, leading to an original contribution to the advancement of knowledge and its interpretation, and involving a critical appreciation of the field of study and the background relevant to the work. The research will be presented in a thesis and defended in a viva voce to the satisfaction of the examiners. The candidate also has to complete successfully an integrated programme of subject specific and generic professional training modules. Higher Doctorates by Research (DD, DLitt, DSc, LLD, DMus, DSc [Econ]) The Higher Doctorate by Research shall be awarded to a candidate who has produced work of distinction which constitutes a substantial, sustained and original contribution to the advancement of knowledge and which has established the candidate s authoritative standing in the chosen field of study. It is expected that the major part of the work shall have been published.

7 Masters Degrees by Thesis (MPhil, MTheol, MSc, MEd) The degree of Masters by Thesis shall be awarded to a candidate who has undertaken a programme of independent research, involving a critical appreciation of the field of study and the background relevant to the work. The research will be presented in a thesis, and, at the discretion of the examiners, defended in a viva voce to their satisfaction. The candidate also has to complete successfully the required number of credits in the Postgraduate Training Scheme. Research Masters (including a Taught Component) (MA, MSc) The Research Masters which includes a taught component shall be awarded to a candidate who has undertaken a combined programme of independent research presented in a thesis, and a number of research-related taught components as specified in the programme-level regulations. MRes Degrees by Research The Master of Research shall be awarded to a candidate who has undertaken a combined programme of independent research presented in a thesis, and a number of research training modules as specified in the programme-level regulations.

8 CRITERIA FOR RESEARCH DEGREES PhD (Doctor of Philosophy) A candidate for the award of PhD shall have undertaken a substantial programme of independent research, leading to an original contribution to the advancement of knowledge and its interpretation, and involving a critical appreciation of the field of study and the background relevant to the work. The candidate shall present the results of the research in a submission, embodying a thesis of not more than 100,000 words, presented and defended in a clear and scholarly manner. The candidate shall demonstrate technical competence in the chosen field, including appropriate knowledge and use of research methods and of a substantial body of other relevant work, and an appreciation of the context and significance of the thesis. The candidate also has to complete the required number of credits in the Postgraduate Training Scheme. Professional Doctorates ClinPsyD (Doctorate in Clinical Psychology) The degree shall be awarded to a candidate who has undertaken a substantial programme of independent research, leading to an original contribution to the advancement of knowledge and professional practice, and involving a critical appreciation of the field of study and the background relevant to the work. The programme comprises a multiple short answer examination and a literature review article of not more than 3,500 words at the end of the first year of study, a written examination consisting of two papers in the second year, and a portfolio consisting of a clinical research project of not more than 45,000 words, six placement-related assessments of clinical competence, normally two in each year (the candidate will also be required to submit five clinical reports, each of not more than 3,500 words, drawn from work conducted in five of the six placements. One of these reports will constitute a small scale research project, while the other four will be clinical case studies), a paper of not more than 5,000 words based upon the research project in a form suitable for publication in an appropriate refereed journal, and a viva voce examination. The candidate will thereby have investigated and evaluated critically a compendium of approved topics and their associated literature resulting in an independent and original contribution to the profession of Clinical Psychology and an understanding of its merits within a wider context. PsyD (Doctorate in Psychology) The degree shall be awarded to a candidate who has undertaken a substantial programme of independent research, leading to an original contribution to the advancement of knowledge and professional practice, and involving a comprehensive knowledge and critical appreciation of the field of study and related literature.

9 The programme comprises a thesis of not more than 50,000 words, presented in a clear manner and containing material worthy of publication, and a viva voce examination, as well as an assessment of any additional studies prescribed by the candidate s Faculty. EdD (Doctorate in Education) The degree shall be awarded to a candidate who has undertaken a substantial programme of independent research, leading to an original contribution to the advancement of knowledge and professional practice, and involving a critical appreciation of the field of study and the background relevant to the work. The programme comprises a thesis of not more than 50,000 words and a viva voce examination, as well as coursework assignments for each of the taught modules. MD (Doctorate in Medicine) The degree shall be awarded to a candidate who has undertaken a substantial programme of independent research, leading to an original contribution to the advancement of knowledge and professional practice, and showing an awareness of the relationship of the research to a wider field of knowledge. The programme comprises a thesis of not more than 100,000 words, presented in a clear manner, and a viva voce examination, and assessment of any additional studies prescribed by the Postgraduate Medical Institute. PhD (Doctor of Philosophy) by Publication The PhD by Publication shall be awarded to a candidate whose published work represents a contribution to knowledge showing evidence of originality and clarity of thought, independent critical power, application of research methods appropriate to the particular field of study and an appreciation of the general field of knowledge to which the subject relates. The treatment of the topic or topics in the field of study should be substantial and should normally relate in a coherent way. The candidate is required to provide an introductory commentary demonstrating the coherence of the subject matter of the published work submitted. The published work shall be defended in a viva voce to the satisfaction of the examiners. NewRoute PhD The NewRoute PhD, based on four years of study, shall be awarded to a candidate who has undertaken a substantial programme of independent research, leading to an original contribution to the advancement of knowledge and its interpretation, and involving a critical appreciation of the field of study and the background relevant to the work. The research will be presented in a thesis of not more than 100,000 words and defended in a viva voce to the satisfaction of the examiners. The candidate also has to complete successfully an integrated programme of subject specific and generic professional training modules in order to broaden and deepen subject knowledge, comprising 240 taught credits with an assessment at the end of each year of study.

10 Higher Doctorates by Research (DD, DLitt, DSc, LLD, DMus, DSc [Econ]) The Higher Doctorate by Research shall be awarded to a candidate who has produced work of distinction which constitutes a substantial, sustained and original contribution to the advancement of knowledge and which has established the candidate s authoritative standing in the chosen field of study. It is expected that the major part of the work shall have been published. Masters Degrees by Thesis (MPhil, MTheol, MSc, MEd) The degree of Masters by Thesis shall be awarded to a candidate who has undertaken a programme of independent research, involving a critical appreciation of the field of study and the background relevant to the work. The research will be presented in a thesis of not more than 70,000 words, and, at the discretion of the examiners, defended in a viva voce to their satisfaction. The candidate also has to complete successfully the required number of credits in the Postgraduate Training Scheme. Research Masters (including a Taught Component) (MA, MSc) The Research Masters which includes a taught component shall be awarded to a candidate who has undertaken a combined programme of independent research presented in a thesis of not more than 30,000 words, and a number of researchrelated taught components as specified in the programme-level regulations. MRes Degrees by Research The Master of Research shall be awarded to a candidate who has undertaken a combined programme of independent research presented in a thesis of not more than 30,000 words, and a number of research training modules as specified in the programme-level regulations.

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