Swansea University

Guide to Senior Doctorate

Guide to Senior Doctorate

(Doctor of Letters – DLitt; Doctor of Science – DSc; Doctor of Law – LLD)

1. Admission to degree 

Admission to the degree of Senior Doctorate is restricted to individuals who are either: 

a)        Graduates of the University of at least:

  • 10 years standing for undergraduate level;
  • 4 years standing for Master’s level;
  • 2 years standing for doctoral level. 

Or; 

b)    Current or past members of staff of Swansea University who have held an appointment in the University for a continuous period of at least three years on a full-time basis (or six years on a part-time basis) and are graduates of another University of at least ten years standing. 

1.1 Applicants for a Senior Doctorate must hold an initial degree of a UK university or another university approved by Senate and would normally have achieved a minimum classification of upper second (2.1) or equivalent. 

1.2 Applicants holding qualifications from non-UK institutions will be checked using the National Academic Recognition Information Centre (NARIC) database which has been established by the British Council. A NARIC Comparability will be included on all non-UK applications. 

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.  In cases where the involvement of the relevant Head of College may lead to a conflict of interests, all duties will be delegated to the relevant Deputy Head of College. 

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.

1.5 Prior to formal application, the Head of College, the College Director of Research/Director of Research Students  and an independent senior member of staff within the subject discipline shall meet to consider the application in-depth and decide whether it is of an appropriate standard to proceed to the formal application stage. The final decision as to whether an applicant should be admitted as a candidate for the degree shall rest with the  Progression and Awards Board and / or nominee. The decision will be based on the recommendations made by the relevant Head of College, the College Director of Research/Director of Research Students and independent senior member of staff within the subject discipline.

2. Definition of Published Work 

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 prior to the date of submission. 

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

  • Academic paper;
  • Journal article;
  • Monograph;
  • Book chapter;
  • Scholarly text book or research monograph;
  • A book. 

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. Quantity of work

It is expected that candidates for the degree of Senior Doctorate will have published a substantive body of work over a period of time. The works submitted for examination should form a representative sample of the total publications for the candidate. The actual number of works submitted for examination 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 secondary to the question of the quality and impact of the output. 

4. Format of submission 

The work to be submitted shall comprise: 

a)        A commentary providing a summary of the submitted published work containing all of the main concepts and conclusions of the published work;

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;

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

d)        Evidence of the status of all the published work submitted;

e)        An academic Curriculum Vitae (CV). 

4.1 The academic CV should include details of all academic and/or professional qualifications, current and previous academic positions, a record of research degree supervision and/or examination, a record of research grants held (as Principal Investigator), and any indicators of national or international recognition (e.g. prizes, invited keynote speeches, professional society membership, editorial board membership). The academic CV should also detail all the candidate’s publications and research outputs (i.e. not just those which are being submitted for examination). 

4.2 The submission should be presented as a single 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 in a secure format as reprints. 

5. Composition of the Board of Referees 

The Board of Referees for all candidates shall consist of the following individuals: 

  • An independent Chair who will be a member of staff with appropriate experience nominated by the Head of College. The Progression and Awards Board and/or nominee will consider and if appropriate, approve the nomination of the Chair;
  • Three external referees, normally one of whom shall be based outside of the United Kingdom (as appropriate to the subject area).

6. Chair of Board of Referees

The Chair of the Board shall be independent in the examining process and be responsible to the Progression and Awards Board for the conduct of the examination. The Chair of the Board of Referees is required to chair any meeting of the referees and ensure compliance with the regulations. 

6.1 A proposed Chair should: 

  • Be a member of staff employed at SwanseaUniversity with sufficient seniority and experience to be able to command authority;
  • Have acted as an examiner at doctoral level on at least three occasions;
  • Hold an academic award at doctoral level or have equivalent professional experience;
  • Have a clear understanding of the University’s regulations and procedures;
  • Not be a co-author of any of the published work submitted for examination.

7. Referees

Referees are nominated by the relevant Head of College. 

7.1 A proposed referee should: 

  • Be of sufficient seniority and experience to be able to command authority;
  • Be aware of the nature and purpose of the degree for which the candidate is being examined;
  • Possess specialist knowledge and expertise in the subject of research;
  • Not have been involved in direct substantive collaboration with the candidate in the previous five years;
  • Not be a co-author of any of the published work submitted for examination. 

7.2 A former member of staff of Swansea may not be invited to act as a referee until at least five years have elapsed since he/she left the University. 

7.3 A former student of Swansea may not be invited to act as a referee until at least five years have elapsed since he/she graduated from the University. 

8. Nomination of Board of Referees 

The Head of College or nominee should complete a Nomination of Board of Referees form giving the name of the proposed referees. 

The Head of College or nominee should provide full contact details for the referees. Full details of supervision and examination experience and other relevant information* must be provided for all proposed referees unless the proposed external referee has been appointed and acted as a research degree external examiner at Swansea University in the last twelve months. The information provided should cover: 

  • Record of successful supervision at the appropriate level;
  • Previous experience of research degree examination;
  • Academic and/or professional qualifications;
  • Current and previous academic positions;
  • Brief summary of recent publications and research outputs. 

8.1 All nominations are scrutinised by  the Progression and Awards Board/or nominee. Additional information regarding qualifications and/or expertise of the proposed referees may be requested should there be any concerns. The Chair of the Progression and Awards Board or  nominee has the authority to executively approve or refuse the appointment of any proposed referee on behalf of the the  Progression and Awards Board.

*The  Progression and Awards Board asks Colleges to obtain this information direct from the proposed referees rather than from web-based information (e.g. profiles).

9. Confirmation of Appointment of Board of Referees

9.1 Referees

Academic Services will send a letter to each referee confirming the appointment and copy to the Head of College concerned.   Academic Services will also send an expenses claim form on which the referee may claim his/her fees at the completion of the examination process.

9.2 Referees and Chair of the Board of Referees

Academic Services will inform the Head of College whether the proposed referees have been approved and will confirm the name of the Chair of the Board of Referees. 

10. Arrangements for Examination

10.1 Responsibilities and Distribution of Examination Documents

On appointment of three external referees each referee will be provided with: 

  • Copies of the relevant regulations;
  • One copy of all the submitted published work;
  • One copy of the completed Notice of Candidature Form;
  • One copy of the Guide to the Degree of Senior Doctorate;
  • The Report and Recommendation Forms necessary for the conduct of the examination. 

11.  Academic Misconduct

A referee, who, either in the course of the examining process or subsequently, considers that a candidate has engaged in an  academic misconduct, shall immediately report the circumstances in writing to the Chair of the Board of Referees concerned.

12. Timescale of Examination 

Referees are asked to report upon the work in a timely manner. Members of the Board of Referees are expected to complete the examination of the candidate and submit their report as soon as reasonably possible (normally no later than twelve weeks after receipt of the submitted published work by the referees).

13. Report and Recommendation forms 

The Referee’s Report and Recommendation forms are intended as instruments for the reports of the referee and are for use by the Board of Referees to make a formal recommendation to the  Progression and Awards Board on the outcome of the examination process. Referees are advised that under the terms of the 1998 Data Protection Act and the subsequent Freedom of Information Act, candidates have the right to request access to any comments made about them in these reports.

14. Conduct of the Examination 

The referees should complete Section 1.1 of the Report form (Referee’s Report on Submitted Published Work). Referees should assess the scope and significance of the body of published work.

14.1 In examining a submission, the referees should pay particular attention to the criteria for award described in paragraph 1.1 of the academic regulations for the degree of Senior Doctorate: 

The qualification shall be awarded to candidates who:

(i)          have made an original and substantial contribution to a discipline(s) over a significant period of time;

(ii)         have established an authoritative standing in a discipline(s); 

14.2 The form and content of the referees’ reports should be sufficiently detailed to allow the  Progression and Awards Board to assess the scope and significance of the submitted published work and to appreciate its strengths and weaknesses. Reports should, as far as possible, be expressed in terms that may be understood by those who are not specialists in the particular field of the submitted published work. Evaluative comments should be as full as possible. 

14.3 The referees should complete and sign off the final form (Recommendation Form). The appropriate recommendation option should be indicated on the form. 

14.4 Recommendations available to referees: 

  1. The candidate be awarded the degree of Senior Doctorate. 
  2. The candidate be not approved for the award of the degree of Senior Doctorate.
  3. The candidate be not approved for the award of the degree of Senior Doctorate but be permitted on one occasion, tore-present an additional ‘body of work’ (normally between 2-5 years after the previous submission outcome). (A reduced fee may possibly be applied). 

The referees should return the completed Report and Recommendation forms to the Chair of the Board of Referees. If all three referees have made the same recommendation, then the Chair of the Board of Referees shall complete a Result form, indicating the unanimous decision of the Board of Referees.

14.5 Disagreement between Referees on Recommendation 

If there is disagreement between the referees, the Chair of the Board of Referees should make all the reports available to each referee and request that each referee reconsiders their original recommendation. If, after reconsideration, there is still disagreement between the referees, the Chair of the Board of Referees should request that the Head of College or nominee nominate an external arbitrator. The nomination should be approved by the Chair of the Progression and Awards Board or nominee. When considering approval of the external arbitrator nomination, the Chair of the Progression and Awards Board and / or nominee may take into account, but need not be bound by, the nomination (if any) of the Board of Referees. A decision on whether or not to reconvene the Board of Referees would fall within the discretion of the external arbitrator whose decision on all matters is final.

15. Informing the  Progression and Awards Board and the Candidate of the Outcome

After all sections of the Report and Recommendation forms have been signed, the Chair should ensure that all of the original Report and Recommendation forms are sent to  Academic Services. The recommendation of the Board of Referees will be presented to the Chair of the Progression and Awards Board and/or nominee for ratification and the candidate will be informed of the formal outcome by Academic Services.

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