The degree of Doctor of Philosophy is a research degree undertaken under the guidance of a supervisor for the minimum period of two years. A candidate may proceed through any of the faculties of the University in accordance with these rules and those of the faculty concerned. It is not essential for a candidate to proceed through the faculty in which he or she obtained his or her bachelors or masters degree.

A masters candidate may apply to upgrade his or her candidature to PhD candidature at any time before submitting his or her dissertation for examination for the masters degree for which he or she has registered; once a submitted dissertation has been sent by the University to examiners, it may not be withdrawn, nor may the candidate apply to upgrade his or her candidature to PhD candidature. A PhD candidate may apply to downgrade his or her candidature to candidature for a masters degree at any time before submitting his or her thesis; once a submitted thesis has been sent by the University to examiners, it may not be withdrawn, nor may the candidate apply to downgrade his or her candidature to candidature for a masters degree. A PhD candidate who fails the PhD examination may not submit the work for any other degree at this University.

During his or her period of registration a candidate will normally be required to attend at the University for a period of at least one year. By "attend at the University" Senate understands that the candidate shall, within reason, be readily available for discussion at the University. Note that the Division of Physiotherapy requires a candidate to attend and perform annual progress presentations of thesis work. In the first year of registration, a candidate is required to present the thesis proposal prior to submission for Ethical approval.  Regular contact sessions with the supervisor(s) are recommended throughout the registration period and should be negotiated with the main supervisor.

A candidate must be registered for at least two years. Senate may permit a candidate registered for a masters degree, by virtue of the quality and development of his or her work, to change his or her candidature to that for a PhD degree but retrospective registration for the PhD degree will not be allowed, except by special permission of Senate. Senate may accept, as part of the period of registration required, a period of registration not exceeding one year at another university or institution. A candidate must maintain unbroken registration between admission and graduation unless granted leave of absence by the Senate. Senate may refuse to permit a candidate whose progress is unsatisfactory to renew his or her registration.

Before a person may be registered for the degree his or her candidature must be approved by the Senate on the recommendation of the board of the faculty and the head of the department concerned. An application must give such evidence of his or her qualifications and attainments and complete such preliminary work as Senate may require, and must satisfy Senate as to the suitability of his or her subject and programme of research and as to the conditions under which the work will be carried out.

A candidate shall undertake research, and such advanced study as may be required, under the guidance of a supervisor or supervisors appointed by Senate for the minimum period of two years. At the conclusion of his or her supervised research a candidate shall submit a thesis for examination. Before doing so he or she must inform the Doctoral Degrees Board Office in writing to this effect and submit a signed statement from his or her supervisor indicating whether or not he or she supports the submission of a thesis for examination. A candidate will not, however, be debarred from submitting his or her thesis for examination if his or her supervisor does not support the submission of the thesis.

Where a candidate intends to submit his or her thesis for examination in the hope of the award of the degree at either the June or December graduation ceremonies, he or she must inform the Doctoral Degrees Board Office in writing of his or her intention to do so by not later than 10 January or 20 June respectively.

The final dates for receipt of theses by the Doctoral Degrees Board Office are 15 February or 15 August. The University does not however undertake to reach a decision on the award of the degree by any specific date.

A thesis must be submitted:

  1. in English; or
  2. in a language and literature department, in English or in the language of the department concerned; or
  3. if the approval of Senate has been obtained by the candidate at the time of his or her original admission as a candidate, in another language.

A candidate must submit:

  1. three copies of the thesis in temporary binding for submission to examiners;
  2. two unbound copies and a CD in the specified format of the final corrected version of the thesis for the Library; and
  3. one copy in temporary binding for each of the candidate's supervisors, unless the candidate indicates that the supervisors have copies of the thesis.

The thesis must constitute a substantial contribution to knowledge in the chosen subject and may embody only the original work of the candidate with such acknowledged extracts from the work of others as may be pertinent. The thesis may incorporate creative work integral to the overall argument. It must on presentation be accompanied by a declaration on the part of the candidate regarding the extent to which it represents his or her own work, both in concept and execution.

The text of the thesis must be prefaced by an abstract of it prepared in accordance with the guidelines approved by Senate and indicating in what way the thesis constitutes a contribution to knowledge.  The literary presentation of the contents and the statistical presentation, if statistical argument or material is included, must be satisfactory.A candidate shall not be given credit for any work that has been accepted for a degree.

A PhD thesis may include published papers provided that:

  1. where published papers are included, the thesis must nonetheless show acceptable academic style, scholarly content and coherence as a connected account with a satisfactory introduction, statement of thesis and conclusion;
  2. where multi-authored papers are included, the contribution of the candidate can be distinguished and is clearly stated, and
  3. the candidate's plan (to include published papers) has had the written support of the Faculty's Higher Degrees Committee (or equivalent) and the written approval of the Doctoral Degrees Board prior to submission and
  4. papers published prior to registration for the PhD may only be included over and above the material which constitutes the thesis, and with the prior permission of the DDB.

PhD candidates are required, when renewing registration each year,to submit a proposed plan should they contemplate includingpublished papers for consideration by the Faculty's Higher Degrees Committee, or equivalent.

A PhD thesis may not be less than 40,000 words (in the case of a thesis incorporating creative work) or more than 80,000 words in length, unless the dean (acting after consultation with the supervisor) approves a request by the candidate to exceed this limit. Where a dean allows a longer thesis, he or she may stipulate a maximum number of words for the thesis. Where a dean allows a longer thesis, he or she must inform the Doctoral Degrees Board of the fact and of the stipulation made.

After the examination of the thesis, a candidate requiring corrections to the thesis before being allowed to graduate, or revisions to the thesis for re-submission and re-examination, must except with permission from Senate, submit these changes within one year from the date of notification from the Doctoral Degrees Board. A student who fails to do so will not be permitted to renew his or her registration for the degree.

A candidate may, subject to the prior written approval of his or her supervisor and subject to the provisions of rule GP9, publish a part or the whole of the work done by him or her under supervision for the degree before presenting his or her thesis for examination.

When presenting a thesis a candidate shall be deemed by so doing to grant free licence to the University to publish it in whole or in part in any format that the University deems fit. No publication may, without the prior permission of Senate, contain a statement that the published material was or is to be submitted in part or in full for the degree.

(A copy of the procedures of the Doctoral Degrees Board is available on request from the Doctoral Degrees Office, Kramer Building.)