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Learning and Teaching Handbook

8.6.3: Outcomes of the Examination Process

1. The following recommendations are open to examiners:

  • that the candidate be admitted to the degree:

A: Unconditionally

B: after minor corrections have been made to the thesis as specified by the Examiners and subsequently approved by the Internal Examiner. Candidates will normally be given 3 months to complete minor corrections.

C: after major corrections have been made to the thesis as specified by the Examiners and subsequently approved by the Internal Examiner. Candidates will normally be given 6 months to complete major corrections.

  • that the candidate not be admitted to the degree:

D: that the candidate be permitted to submit the thesis in a revised form for re-examination, within 12 months, for the degree for which they are registered and, if the Examiners so require, be re-examined orally.

  • that the candidate be admitted to a lower degree:

E: that the degree of [lower award] be awarded unconditionally;

F: that the degree of [lower award] be awarded after minor/major corrections have been made to the thesis as specified by the Examiners and subsequently approved by the Internal Examiner. Candidates will be given 3 months to complete minor corrections, or 6 months to complete major corrections.

  • that the candidate be not admitted to a lower degree:

G: that the candidate be permitted to submit the thesis in a revised form for re-examination, within 12 months, for a lower degree of [lower award] and, if the examiners so require, be re-examined orally.

H: that the candidate be deemed to have failed outright.

The recommendation should be consistent with the comments made in the joint report Appendix A8.06

Rationale for different Recommendations

Unconditional Award

2. Recommendation (A) should be chosen if the candidate has met all the requirements for the degree for which they are registered and the thesis is free of typographical errors.

Minor Corrections

3. Recommendation (B) should be chosen if the candidate has met all the requirements for the degree for which they are registered subject to minor corrections of the thesis. Such minor corrections should not require the candidate to conduct further research or undertake substantial further work (e.g. typographical errors, clarifying points, rephrasing, editing/adding paragraphs, correcting references etc), and the corrected thesis should not require re-examination to ensure that it fulfils the criteria required for a doctorate. Where a candidate has satisfied the examiners orally on points not included in the written thesis, but which in the examiners' view should be so included, these must be subsequently incorporated in the thesis as 'minor corrections' (or, if more substantive, as ‘major corrections’).

4. The minor corrections should be indicated on a sheet accompanying the joint report and recommendation so that it can be detached by the Academic Support Office and sent to the candidate with the result of the examination or marked up on a copy of the thesis which will be returned to the candidate. Minor corrections should be made normally within three months of the formal notification of the result of the examination.

Major Corrections

5. Recommendation (C) should be chosen if the candidate has met all the requirements for the degree for which they are registered subject to major corrections of the thesis. Such major corrections may require the candidate to undertake further work of greater substance (e.g. more extensive editorial changes, the addition of more substantial material, rewriting of larger passages etc), but the corrected thesis should not require re-examination to ensure that it fulfils the criteria required for a doctorate. Where a candidate has satisfied the examiners orally on points not included in the written thesis, but which in the examiners' view should be so included, these must be subsequently incorporated in the thesis as ‘major corrections' (or, if less substantive, as ‘minor corrections’).

6. The major corrections should be indicated on a sheet accompanying the joint report and recommendation so that it can be detached by the Academic Support Office and sent to the candidate with the result of the examination, and/or marked up on a copy of the thesis which will be returned to the candidate. Major corrections should be made normally within six months of the formal notification of the result of the examination.

7. The normal procedure for checking that the minor or major corrections have been made to the satisfaction of the examiners is to obtain confirmation from the internal examiner, or where two external examiners have been appointed, to obtain confirmation from one of them, although in exceptional circumstances the Independent Chair may be requested to act on behalf of an external examiner.

8. Alterations of a more substantial nature would require resubmission and re-examination of the thesis by both examiners within twelve months. A second oral examination may or may not be required.

9. In the case where the candidate's thesis is satisfactory but he or she has failed to satisfy the examiners in the oral examination - the candidate is allowed a second oral examination within six months. Any such recommendation must be accompanied by a full statement of reasons on a separate sheet.

Resubmission and Re-examination within 12 months

10. Recommendation (D) should be chosen if the thesis contains work which is adequate in substance but requires greater revision than permitted by minor or major corrections and that, in the examiners’ judgment, the candidate would be in a position to comply with the requirement that a thesis presented in revised form must be submitted within one calendar year.

11. Re-submission requires further examination of the thesis by both examiners. This category represents a set of changes that, in the view of the examiners, makes substantive changes to the work and the nature of these changes is such that re-examination is required to ensure that the thesis fulfils the criteria required for a doctorate. Re-examining the candidate orally should be requested either when the candidate's performance in their first oral examination was not of an appropriate standard; or when, in the view of the examiners, it would help clarify further questions arising from the re-submission.

Admitted to a Lower Award [1]

12. Recommendation (E) should be chosen if the candidate HAS NOT met all the requirements for the degree for which they are registered, and where the quality of the thesis is such that it could not reasonably be revised in 12 months in a way that would meet the criteria for the award for which the thesis was submitted, but the candidate has met the requirements for a lower degree and the thesis is free of typographical and other errors.

13. Recommendation (F) should be chosen if the candidate HAS NOT met all the requirements for the degree for which they are registered, and where the quality of the thesis is such that it could not reasonably be revised in 12 months in a way that would meet the criteria for the award for which the thesis was submitted, but the candidate has met the requirements for a lower degree subject to minor or major corrections (as defined in paragraphs 3-9) of the thesis.

Resubmission within 12 months for a Lower Award [1]

14. Recommendation (G) should be chosen if the candidate HAS NOT met all the requirements for the degree for which they are registered and HAS NOT met the requirements for a lower degree but the thesis contains work which is adequate in substance but requires greater revision than permitted by minor or major corrections and that, that in the examiners’ judgment, the candidate would be in a position to comply with the requirement that a thesis presented in revised form must be submitted within one calendar year.

15. Re-submission requires further examination of the thesis by both examiners. This category represents a set of changes that, in the view of the examiners, makes substantive changes to the work and the nature of these changes is such that re-examination is required to ensure that the thesis fulfils the criteria required for the lower award. Re-examining the candidate orally should be requested either when the candidate's performance in their first oral examination was not of an appropriate standard; or when, in the view of the examiners, it would help clarify further questions arising from the re-submission; or, for doctoral and higher masters degrees, where the examiners are not satisfied with the revised thesis.

Failed Outright

16. This recommendation should be chosen if the candidate is deemed to have failed to fulfil the requirements of any research degree and would not be able to fulfil the requirements even if given the opportunity to submit his or her thesis in a revised form, i.e. that the failure be complete.

Recommendations Available at Resubmission

17. Only one resubmission of a thesis is permitted and therefore the recommendation of examiners of a resubmitted thesis can only be (A), (B), (C), (E), (F) or (H).

[1] See Core Regulations for Research Degrees by Thesis or Composition