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Graduate School

Higher Doctorates

For further information contact: the Academic Support Office p.g.admin@durham.ac.uk

The following guidance is taken from Secton 8.6.5 of the Learning and Teaching Handbook.

1. A Higher Doctorate is awarded in consideration of work which is of high distinction, constituting a substantial and original contribution to scholarship in the field and which has already been published or accepted for publication, or in the case of musical compositions, of outstanding merit. Higher Doctorates are normally awarded only to those with distinguished work of considerable scholarly impact.

2. The  University's Core Regulations for Research degrees By Submission of Published Works which specify the Higher Doctorates currently awarded by the University:

  • Doctor of Divinity (DD)
  • Doctor of Letters (DLitt)
  • Doctor of Science (DSc)
  • Doctor of Music (DMus)

Application

3. Candidates complete the Entry Form (Appendix A8.07) and send it with an "Unbound" copy of the work which it is intended to submit for consideration.  Publications must be either in English or accompanied by a translation, unless permission to submit work in a foreign language has been obtained from the University. If work accepted for publication is submitted at e.g. page proof stage, it will be necessary later to provide a published copy of the work for deposition in the Library, should the candidate be successful in obtaining the degree.

4. Work submitted for consideration must include the following:

  • a statement indicating the original contribution to the subject in which it is considered that the work submitted has made, and that the same work has not been successfully submitted, or is not being submitted, for a similar degree to any other University or a degree awarding body;
  • a numbered list of publications submitted, with each publication correspondingly numbered. Publications which are considered to be particularly significant to the context of the submission should be indicated;
  • where any joint publications are included in the submission, the contribution of joint authors should be indicated in terms of percentages, and in the case of publications which are considered to be key publications in the context of the submission, the nature of that publication;
  • an application fee.

It is helpful where practicable to provide a summary title for the work, but it is recognised that this may not be possible where the submission covers a diversity of subject matter.

Initial Consideration of a Submission

5. When the submission is received a preliminary consideration of it is made by the appropriate Chair of Faculty Education Committee (PG), in consultation with appropriate members of staff of the University, to see whether, in principle, the work is compatible with the criteria for the degree.

6. If the initial consideration suggests that the candidate may be registered for the degree, the candidate is asked to submit two further copies  (three copies if a staff candidate) of the work already submitted bound in the manner prescribed in the Rules for the Form of Compositions and the Submission of Work for Higher Degrees. The examination fee is then requested, and the submission forwarded to the examiners for formal examination and assessment.

7. If the initial consideration suggests that the work submitted does not in principle meet the criteria, the candidate will not be permitted to register for the degree.

Examination

8. Three examiners will be appointed. At least two of the examiners will be external to the University; candidates who are members of staff of the University will be examined by three external examiners.

9. Examiners are asked to send their reports and recommendations to the Academic Support Office within four months from the date on which the material is received by the Examiners. If an Examiner is unable to send the report within this period, he or she should communicate with the Academic Support Office as early as possible.

10. Following review of the work submitted for consideration, each of the three examiners is required to submit a report consisting of two sections:

a) a specific recommendation either that the degree be awarded or that it be not awarded; this recommendation should be made on the Examiner's Report Form

b) a General Report on the work submitted by the candidate, giving detailed reasons for the Examiner's recommendation

11. No Examiner shall recommend that the degree be awarded unless this report includes a statement that, in his or her opinion, the work is of high distinction, constituting a substantial and original contribution to scholarship in the field and which has already been published or accepted for publication, or in the case of musical compositions, of outstanding merit.

12. The University does not require unanimity between the Examiners for the award of the degree. However, in the case of disagreement between Examiners, in which two out of three recommend the award of the degree with one dissenting, the examiners may contact the Academic Support Office to request that the an oral examination be arranged for the candidate. The chair of the appropriate Faculty Education Committee (PG) will appoint an independent chair to chair the oral examination.

13. If for other reasons the examiners wish to hold an oral examination, the examiners may contact the Academic Support Office to request that an oral examination be arranged for the candidate. The chair of the appropriate Faculty Education Committee (PG) will appoint an independent chair to chair the oral examination.

14. The reports and recommendations of the Examiners must be sent to the Academic Support Office for consideration by the appropriate chair of Faculty Education Committee (PG). The chair, after considering the reports, may authorise the publication of the result or may recommend that an oral examination be held (if not held already), or take such other action as may be deemed appropriate.