Old PhD by Published Work: Prospective Route Regulations
* The overarching regulations cover the traditional PhD route, as well as the PhD by Creative Practice and the PhD by Publication, except where alternative arrangements are detailed in these ‘Prospective Route Regulations’.
1.0 Criteria for Award
1.1 The criteria for award are as set out in the PhD and MPhil Regulations (left hand column of the table below). Candidates demonstrate they meet these criteria through the following mechanisms (right hand column of the table below).
Knowledge and understanding
The oral examination will be particularly important in assessing the candidate’s skills as an independent researcher.
1.2 The following definitions are used in these regulations:
Outline Proposal and Learning Contract
An outline proposal and learning contract is submitted approximately one month after matriculation and no later than two months after matriculation (or equivalent if part time).
The outline proposal summarises the candidate’s initial research question and proposed methodology. The learning contract agreed between the candidate and supervisor is required alongside the proposal.
Further information on the outline proposal and learning contract is provided in the Registration section of these regulations.
A proposal submitted after five months (or equivalent if part-time), detailing the research question, aims (or hypothesis), research paradigm, intended outcomes and plans for publications.
Successful completion leads to registration as a PhD candidate. Further information on the content of the probationary proposal and assessment process is provided in the Registration section of these regulations.
The final piece of work submitted for examination. The thesis includes a critical appraisal, as well as several publications and other documents as listed under the Examination Regulations section of these regulations.
A piece of written work submitted as part of the thesis, between 12,000 and 15,000 words, not including references, providing the rationale and theoretical context for the portfolio of published work, showing how it forms a cohesive whole at doctoral level and represents an original contribution to knowledge in the field.
For the purposes of these regulations, ‘publications’ include: papers in peer-reviewed journals; books or book chapters; creative works; patents; or any other works of scholarly or professional standing. To count as being ‘published’ the work must have been subject to editorial/curatorial control.
It must be traceable through ordinary catalogues, abstracts or citation indices or otherwise available to the general public. Work that is ‘in press’ can only be submitted within the thesis and presented for examination if it has been through the review/editorial/curatorial process and has been officially accepted for publication.
Letters of acceptance from editors, publishers or curators must be presented in the thesis. In co-authored publications the candidate must provide evidence from the co-authors that they have made a significant contribution to the publication.
2.1 Applications may be submitted at any time of year. The PhD by Publication is open to internal and external applicants.
Candidates may register only for a PhD by Publication. The option to register for an MPhil by Publication is not open.
2.2 Internal applicants should discuss the possibility of registering on the award with their line manager in the first instance, as part of Performance Enhancement Review.
Internal applicants who are early career researchers might wish to discuss the possibility of working towards the PhD by Publication as a means of directing their research activity, prior to application.
External applicants should discuss their plans with the Head of a relevant Research Centre before applying.
2.3 All applicants must submit an application to the University Admissions department. Standard entry criteria for the PhD will apply.
The application should include a 1000-word proposal, detailing the overall research question(s), aims, intended outcomes and publication plan.
Where applicable, the application should also list any prior publications, indicating the applicant’s level of individual contribution to each.
Applications will be considered by the Graduate School on an individual basis, and in collaboration with supervisors and Research Centre Director candidates, as required, according to (a) the prima facie suitability of the candidate and (b) the availability of a suitable supervisory team with relevant topic and/or methodological expertise.
No application may be accepted if an appropriate supervisory team cannot be identified from within the University.
3.1 Each PhD/MPhil candidate has a supervisory team consisting of at least two supervisors, and potentially one or more advisers.
At least one of the supervisors should be a current member of academic staff. The other(s) should normally be a current member of academic staff.
3.2 An initial supervisory team will be formed comprising the two main supervisors, at the point at which an offer of study is made and included in the offer letter to the candidate.
The initial team will be suggested by the supervisors in consultation with the Doctoral Research Coordinator for the relevant School and will be communicated to the Graduate School.
The full supervisory team will be considered and approved by the Graduate School Academic Board.
3.3 Both supervisors will normally hold a Doctorate and will normally be active researchers with membership to a Research Centre/Institute within QMU.
At least one of the two supervisors must have been a member of a previous supervisory team for at least one successful PhD or Professional Doctorate candidate.
3.4 The supervisors’ role will be:
- to provide advice and support to the candidate on submitting work for publication
- to advise the candidate on the selection of publications.
- to advise the candidate on the presentation of the probationary proposal.
- (following successful registration) to advise the candidate on writing the critical appraisal and preparing the thesis.
- if the candidate requests it, to accompany the candidate to the oral examination as an observer (one supervisor only).
- if necessary, to advise the candidate on amendments or resubmission.
The supervisors will also be responsible for providing advice on regulations and interfacing with University committees on the candidate’s behalf.
3.5 Regular research supervision should be held in keeping with the PhD Regulations.
3.6 If a supervisor is absent for more than month or is expected to be absent for more than month, a temporary supervisor must ensure research supervision continues until the original supervisor returns or a new supervisor is appointed.
No major changes to the topic or publications should be made by a temporary supervisor.
3.7 If a candidate has concerns or difficulties about the supervisory relationship, they should contact the Doctoral Research Coordinator in the first instance.
3.8 Supervision of a PhD by Publication candidate shall count equally as workload effort with other doctoral supervision.
4.1 Approximately one month after matriculation, and no later than two months after matriculation (for full-time candidates), an Outline Proposal and Learning Contract must be submitted to the Graduate School Academic Board for approval.
Part-time candidates must submit the outline proposal and learning contract within approximately two months after matriculation, and no later than four months after matriculation.
Candidates may apply to the Graduate School Academic Board for permission to delay the proposal only where exceptional circumstances apply.
The role of the Doctoral Research Coordinator, acting on advice from the Dean and Head of Graduate School, is to confirm that the necessary facilities and resources can be put in place to support the project and to ensure the full Supervisory Team is in place.
Supervisory Teams must meet the criteria laid down in Section 7 of the standard PhD Regulations. Supervisory Teams must be confirmed by the Graduate School Academic Board.
Failure to submit an outline proposal within the maximum timescale will result in de-registration on grounds of failure to progress, except where extenuating circumstances apply.
4.2 To be formally registered, the candidate must submit a probationary proposal to the Graduate School within five months (ten months part-time) of initial matriculation.
4.3 The Graduate School will appoint a probationary panel in keeping with QMU regulations.
The panel will consist of at least two members with relevant research expertise, at least one of whom will normally previously have examined a PhD by Publication.
The panel members will not necessarily be subject experts but may seek the advice of an external reviewer as required.
4.4 The candidate must include the following within the probationary proposal:
- A list of the intended publications on which the probationary proposal is based.
- A short summary of the aims of each publication.
- Details of actual or potential co-authors (as far as possible).
- A supporting statement of a maximum of 3000 words detailing the research question, aims, intended outcomes and publication plan, making the case for registration.
- Where applicable, the statement should list any prior publications and indicate the level of individual contribution to each.
- For each publication a brief statement must be made outlining:
- (a) the candidate’s intended contribution to the publication (if based on a joint project) and
- (b) explaining which aspects of this contribution will be at doctoral level, in terms of both (i) the quality of the publication and (ii) their personal input.
- The statement may include evidence of pathway to impact, such as conference presentations, citations, effect on public policy, prizes or commercial recognition.
- The statement should explain how the publications will be formed into a coherent body of work and clarify any seemingly excessive overlap between publications.
Use of The Vitae Researcher Development Framework may assist the presentation of the supporting statement.
4.5 The number of publications to be included in the thesis and identified in the probationary proposal will vary across disciplines. Normally, the thesis will include three to five publications to which the candidate has made a significant contribution.
Fewer publications may be required in the case of work which is solely authored. The totality of the thesis must be sufficient to indicate a substantial programme of research equivalent to that undertaken in a traditional PhD.
The publications must be connected in such a way as to indicate a focussed and sustained investigative process. The candidate should normally be the sole or lead author on the majority of the publications.
4.6 The probationary panel members will independently assess the probationary proposal and statement and complete a preliminary report.
The panel will subsequently meet with the candidate and consider the probationary proposal against published criteria. The panel will submit a joint report form to the Graduate School Academic Board within seven working days of the meeting with the candidate.
4.7 The panel may make one of four recommendations:
- Register on PhD by Publication
- Defer decision pending further information. A further meeting with the candidate may be requested at this stage.
- The candidate be transferred to the standard PhD or MPhil Programme
- Refuse registration
4.8 Candidates have the right of appeal against refusal of registration. The only permissible grounds of appeal are as set out in the PhD Regulations.
4.9 The decision to accept a candidate for registration does not guarantee a successful outcome.
4.10 Where option (c) is selected, the assessors will confirm in their report whether the candidate should be transferred onto the PhD or MPhil Route within the Regulations and provide a written report setting out the reasons for recommending this transfer.
4.11 Where registration is refused, the panel must supply the candidate with a written report setting out the reasons for refusal and indicating what additional work is needed should a candidate wish to reapply in future. Unsuccessful candidates may reapply at any time.
5.1 Following registration, candidates will participate in two assessed seminars. The timing and format of the assessed seminars will be subject to discussion between the Graduate School, the candidate and their supervisory team.
5.2 For each of the Assessed seminars, the panel may make one of five recommendations:
- the candidate continues to progress with their studies.
- the candidate continues to progress with their studies with minor issues to be resolved by the candidate and supervisory team.
- the candidate continues to progress with their studies with major issues to be resolved by the candidate and supervisory team.
- the candidate be transferred to the standard PhD or MPhil Route
- the candidate has not made satisfactory progress with their studies and should be de-registered.
5.3 Where option (d) is selected, the assessors will confirm in their report whether the candidate should be transferred onto the PhD or MPhil Route and provide a written report setting out the reasons for recommending this transfer.
5.4 In the event of (e) above (de-registration), the report must be passed to the Head of Graduate School for further consideration in discussion with the Panel and others as required.
In the event of the recommendation going ahead, The Graduate School Academic Board will consider and make a recommendation to the Research Strategy Committee. The Secretary to the Graduate School will inform the candidate in writing of the decision of the Committee. The candidate may appeal (see regulation 6.7.10 below).
5.5 Applications for a suspension or extension to study may be submitted to the GSAB. Requests for suspension or extension will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Candidates are subject to the same regulations governing suspension or extension as other PhD candidates.
5.6 Under some circumstances, a candidate, in consultation with their supervisors, may determine that it would be more appropriate for them to follow the standard PhD route. Guidance on transferring from the PhD by Publication to the standard PhD can be sought on an individual basis from the Graduate School. Candidates cannot normally request a transfer to the MPhil Programme
6.1 The key function of the examination is to establish that both the candidate and their submission reach the standard required for the award of PhD, with respect to the criteria listed in 1.1 above. The examination has two stages: the preliminary assessment of the Thesis, followed by its defence at an oral examination.
6.2 The timeframe for submitting the thesis is as set out in the PhD and MPhil Regulations.
6.3 Three months prior to submitting the thesis, the candidate and supervisors should apply to the Graduate School Academic Board for approval of the examination team. The procedure for identifying and nominating examiners is as set out in the PhD Regulations.
6.4 The PhD and MPhil Regulations on composition of exam teams apply. For staff members, there will be two external examiners and one internal examiner.
For all other candidates there will normally be one external and one internal examiner.
A neutral, non-examining Independent Chair will also be nominated by the Head of the Graduate School. At least one member of the examination team will normally have experience of examining a PhD by Publication.
The thesis consists of:
- Copies of the publications.
- A critical appraisal, amounting to between 12,000 and 15,000 words, not including references, providing the rationale and theoretical context for the publications, showing how they form a cohesive whole at doctoral level and represent a contribution to knowledge in the field.
- Statements from co-authors, confirming the candidate’s contribution to each publication.
- An academic Curriculum Vitae.
No publications that were published prior to initial registration on the Programme can be considered for inclusion. Similarly, no publications can be considered for inclusion that have arisen from research previously submitted for examination for another degree.
Expectations of the rigour, depth and quality of the research and its associated new contribution to knowledge are identical to those expected in other formats.
6.5 The examiners will assess the thesis and the performance at the oral examination against the criteria set out in 1.1 above. Their judgement will not be made solely on the quality of the publications, but also on their assessment of the candidate’s ability to write and act as an independent researcher. There will be five decisions available to the examiners:
- Pass, subject to minor amendments to the critical appraisal, such amendments to be completed within two months
- Resubmit the Thesis within six months, supported by the same publications.
- Resubmit the Thesis with different or additional publications. The examiners should specify the timescale within which the amended portfolio should be submitted, up to a maximum of one full-time year or the equivalent.
6.6 Candidates may appeal against the decision. The appeals procedure and permissible grounds of appeal are as set out in the PhD and MPhil Regulations.
6.7 Where minor amendments are specified (option b) above), these should be dealt with in accordance with the PhD and MPhil Regulations.
6.8 Resubmission shall be allowed where the examiners are satisfied that the candidate broadly meets the criteria relating to an independent researcher but are either dissatisfied with the quality of the thesis or feel that additional publications are required. The examiners must specify whether or not an additional oral examination will be required.
6.9 A candidate who fails may not reapply until a minimum of three years after the examination.
6.10 Following award, and prior to graduation, one electronic copy of the thesis must be lodged in the library. Advice on copyright considerations that might affect the inclusion of bound papers should be sought from the Graduate School on a case-by-case basis.