Swansea University

Guide to MD by Published Work

Guide to MD by Published Work

1. Admission to degree 

1.1Admission to the degree of Doctor of Medicine by Published Work is restricted to holders of an initial medical degree of a UK university or another university approved by Senate who are current members of staff of Swansea University or of a Health Board with which Swansea University holds a formal partnership agreement. A candidate should have held an appointment in the University or the Health Board for a continuous period of at least three years on a full-time basis (or six years on a part-time basis) immediately prior to the submission of the published work.

1.2 Applicants for a MD by Published Work should meet the general entry conditions for a doctoral level research degree as defined in the Guide to Research Student Admissions.

 1.3 An applicant will be required to submit a detailed list of published works which he/she intends to be included in the final submission together with a statement of his/her contribution to any multi-authored papers / collaborative work to the relevant Head of College or nominee. 

1.4 The applicant must also provide a brief critical summary of the publications to be submitted which contextualises the works, demonstrates the coherence of the works and identifies the contribution to the advancement of knowledge which the works represent. The brief critical summary should also indicate the methodology adopted in the research. The brief critical summary should be no more than one page in length.


1.5 The relevant Head of College or nominee will reach a decision on whether the applicant should be permitted to register for the degree of MD by Published Work.

2. Duration of candidature 

2.1 A candidate shall be required to complete a minimum period of candidature of six months from the date of enrolment during which the candidate will prepare the submission and critical review under the guidance of an adviser 

2.2 All candidates are required to submit for the degree no later than 12 months after the date of enrolment.

3. Definition of Published Work 

3.1 In order to be eligible for consideration as a “published work”, a piece of work must have been published in such a way as to be generally available for consultation by scholars or other interested persons and must be traceable in ordinary catalogues. All work must have been internationally peer reviewed and must have been published no more than seven years prior to the date of submission. 

3.2 Examples of eligible published work include, but are not limited to: 

  • Academic paper;
  • Journal article;
  • Monograph;
  • Technical report;
  • Book chapter;
  • Scholarly text book;
  • A single book. 

3.3 Electronic works may be considered as eligible, but the candidate should provide evidence that the work will continue to be publicly available for the foreseeable future in the present form. 

3.4 The published work submitted for the degree must constitute a corpus of publication tending towards a coherent thesis, rather than a series of disconnected publications. 

3.5 The published work submitted for the degree must be substantially different from any work which may have previously been submitted for any degree at this or any other institution. 

3.6 The published works should be of a standard equivalent to that of a “traditional” MD in the relevant academic area and should demonstrate the candidate’s original contribution to knowledge.

4. Quantity of work

4.1 The number of works will depend on both the academic area and the type of published works included in the submission, but the submission should normally comprise of between three and ten works. However, the issue of number is subservient to the question of the quality and impact of the output. 

4.2 The overall volume of work submitted should be approximately equivalent to a “traditional” MD (see Guide to the Submission and Presentation of a thesis for research Students for more details on word count). 

5. Format of submission 

5.1 The work to be submitted shall comprise: 

a)        An abstract providing a summary of the published work containing all of the main concepts and conclusions of the published work that shall be no  more than 300 words in length;

b)        A summary sheet listing all of the published work submitted together with a statement of the extent of the candidate’s contribution to multi-authored work, substantiated by all the co-authors where this is feasible;

c)        A copy of each publication numbered in accordance with point b) above;

d)        A critical review  stating the aims and nature of the research, the inter-relationship between the published work and the main contribution and/or addition to learning of the published work;

e)        Evidence of the status of all the published work submitted. 

5.2 The submission should be presented as a single bound volume where possible. Where complete books are presented as part of the submission, these must be provided separately in the original binding. Chapters of books and articles/papers should be presented as reprints and be bound into the main submission. See the Guide to the Submission and Presentation of a Thesis for Research Students for more details on binding conventions.

6. The Critical Review 

6.1 The critical review should be between 5,000 and 10,000 words in length. The critical review should set the published works in the context of existing literature and should evaluate the contribution that the research in the submitted published works makes in the advancement of the research area. The critical review should indicate the coherence of the works, linking the works to the research methodology adopted by the candidate.

6.2 The critical review of the published works is fundamental to the establishment of the coherence and quality of the submission and hence to the case for the award of the degree.  

6.3  In particular the critical review should:  

a)        show how the works make a significant and coherent contribution to knowledge;

b)        provide an assessment of the impact of the works contained in the submission;

c)        explain the relevance and criteria for selection of any methodologies used;

d)        outline the themes that give the works their defining coherence;

e)        clearly state the candidate’s role in all co­authored works;

f)         show how specific publications have been tailored for publication (editing out of experimental data, for example);

g)        review any referenced publications which are not presented as part of the submission.  

6.4 Particular attention should be paid to ensuring that factors such as availability of raw data from which cited works draw conclusions are fully taken into account in the critical review.

7. Role of adviser 

7.1 Every candidate will have an adviser appointed by the candidate’s Head of College or nominee. The adviser must be a member of staff at SwanseaUniversity. The adviser will support, advise and guide the candidate through the drafting of the critical review and the process of submission and examination of the published work. 

7.2 The role of the adviser is to: 

(i)        support and advise on the development of the critical review;

(ii)      guide the candidate in relation to the coherence of the body of work to be submitted;

(iii)     offer guidance on the preparation of the oral examination;

(iv)     suggest suitable examiners to the Head of College.

8.  Assessment 

Candidates for the degree of Doctor of Medicine by Published Work shall be assessed through an oral examination (viva voce).

9. Oral examination 

9.1 An MD by Published Work should reflect the same academic standards as those that operate for an MD based upon an approved programme of supervised research. Examiners should assess the scope and significance of the body of published work and should consider its strengths and weaknesses. 

9.2 In examining a submission, the examiners should: 

(a)      evaluate the intellectual merit of the candidate’s submitted published work;

(b)      establish if a satisfactory case is made for coherence between the publications in the critical review;

(c)      assess the contribution to knowledge represented by the publications and made apparent in the critical review;

(d)      evaluate the rigour with which the candidate has contextualised and analysed his/her publications in the critical review;

(e)      evaluate the appropriateness of the methods employed in the research and the correctness of their application;

(f)       assess the candidate’s contribution to the research embodied in multi-authored works and establish the candidate’s ‘ownership’ of the published work;

(g)      establish the candidate’s appreciation of the state of historical and current knowledge within the candidate’s research area. 

9.3 In some cases the examiners may consider that the works do not contain sufficient detail to allow some of the above judgments to be made. This may particularly be the case for journal articles where a journal’s policy may not allow inclusion of detailed data. This lack of detailed data should be addressed in the critical review accompanying the submission of published work and in the oral examination. Candidates may also include relevant raw data as appendices to the submission.

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