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PhD Examination - Overview

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The PhD dissertation

From the very beginning of the PhD the student's effort focuses on the writing of the doctoral dissertation. A successful PhD dissertation must:

  • represent a significant contribution to learning, for example through the discovery of new knowledge, the connection of previously unrelated facts, the development of a new theory, or the revision of older views
  • be based on a significant amount of primary research, usually but not exclusively in archival sources
  • take account of previously published work on the subject
  • be clearly and concisely written, and not exceeding 80,000 words

The student's original contribution to knowledge is assessed in the light of what it is reasonable to expect a student to complete within three years (this applies to the scale of the project but not to its quality). The PhD is primarily designed to train graduate students as independent researchers so that on completion they can claim professional standing as university academic staff or in any other profession requiring skills in advanced research. Many students publish parts of their research after the award of their PhD or en route to it.

Further details can be located on the Student Registry website

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Submission Date

The Student Registry webpage, preparing to submit, provides information on:

  • the submission date
  • the "end of registration date"
  • how the submission date is determined
  • Extending the "end registration date"

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The PhD Examination process 

The PhD Examination process is divided into three stages:

  • Appointment of Examiners and approval of dissertation title

See PhD Examination - stage one - appointment of examiners for more details.

  • Submitting your Thesis

See PhD Examination - stage two - preparation and submission of thesis for more details

  • The Viva Voce Examination

See PhD Examination - stage three - the viva voce examination for more details

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