Regulations for the Award of the Degree of PhD (by Published Works)

Approved for entry from September 2013

The criteria for the award of the Degree of PhD (by Published Works) shall be the same as those established for the Degree of PhD.  ‘Published Works’ may be defined as works which are in the public domain or which have at least been accepted for publication (provided that the candidate can provide adequate proof that this is the case).Works submitted for examination should not normally have been published more than ten years previous to the date of registration.

In line with research degree schemes which fall within the University's subject area of Creative and Performing Arts, the published works may take one or more of the following forms: artefacts, score, text, portfolio of original works, performance or exhibition.  The submission shall be accompanied by any other items which may be required (e.g. a catalogue or audio or visual recording).

In all cases the submission and written commentary shall be bound, and other required items (e.g. tape or other media) shall be enclosed in a container suitable for storage on a library shelf and shall carry the same information on the spine as is required for dissertations/theses. This information shall be placed so as to be readily readable from the container in its stored position.

On completion of a Doctoral degree, graduates will have attained Level D, as defined by the QAA’s Framework for Higher Education Qualifications in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Eligibility of Candidates

1.  Except as provided in Regulations 3 and 4 below, any candidate for the Degree of PhD (by Published Works) shall be a graduate of Aberystwyth University, or a member of staff at Aberystwyth University, of at least six years’ standing  prior to registration for the degree. In addition, external scholars who have, or are developing, a close association with the University may be nominated by an academic department as a candidate for this award.

2.  A candidate for the degree must be enrolled as a part-time student/staff candidate at the University prior to examination for the Degree.  The time limit for submission of the works for examination is 12 months from the date of registration.

3.  A person shall not be eligible to proceed to the Degree of PhD (by Published Works) under these regulations if he or she has been previously approved for a PhD or other related Doctoral Degree of the University.

4.  A candidate who has been examined for a Doctoral Degree but who has not been approved for such a degree may not become a candidate for the Degree of PhD under these Regulations.


5.  Through preliminary enquires, a prospective candidate for the Degree of PhD (by Published Works) shall identify the most appropriate Institute of the University for registration and shall write to the Director of that Institute stating the subject with which his or her contribution to scholarship appears to be most nearly connected and specifying the published work or works on which his or her claim to the degree is based. If the Department concerned is willing to accept the candidature, three copies of each of the published works in question should be submitted, together with the appropriate fee for examination, a list of the works submitted, the relevant examination forms, the critical summary and any other documentation which may be required.

6.  A candidate, in submitting an application, shall be required to

(a)  declare that the submission as a whole is not substantially the same as any that he or she has previously made or is currently making, whether in  published or unpublished form, for a degree, diploma, or similar qualification at any university or similar institution,
(b)  state what parts (if any) of the work or works submitted have previously been submitted for another qualification,
(c)  declare that, until the outcome of the current application to the University is known, the work or works submitted will not be submitted for any such qualification at another university of similar institution.

7.  Candidates shall be required to provide a critical analysis of at least 5,000, and no more than 10,000, words giving an evaluation of the field in which they have worked, and indicating also the original contribution to learning in that field which in their opinion their work has made.

8.  Candidates may submit work(s) done in collaboration with others in support of the candidature, but such work shall be accompanied by a statement signed by each collaborator indicating the nature and amount of the work done by the candidate.


9.  For each candidature, the University shall assign an advisor or advisors nominated by the candidate’s Institute. The advisor(s) shall provide general guidance on the   presentation of the published works for examination and advise on the written commentary.  The following categories of staff are eligible for appointment:

(a)  full-time members of the academic staff of the University
(b)  part-time members of such staff who have formerly held a full-time academic post at the University

10.  The Director of the Institute or his/her nominee, shall arrange for a Panel (comprising the Head of the Department/School or a senior member of staff with relevant subject expertise, the candidate’s advisor and one other internal assessor who shall be a senior member of the Institute’s staff (to be appointed by the Director of the Institute) to consider the works submitted in order to decide whether or not there is a prima facie case to support the referral of the works to two examiners for examination. Should the panel decline to forward the works to any examiners, two-thirds of the fee paid shall be returned to the candidate, together with the three copies of the work concerned.

11.  Should the Panel be of the opinion that there is a prima facie case for examination they shall nominate two Examiners (one of which should be external to the University, in the case of non-staff candidates, or both of which should be external to the University in the case of staff candidates).  The Examining Board shall consist of:

  • The Director of the Institute (or his/her nominee) as Chair;
  • Two External Examiners            

A candidate’s advisor may be invited by the Chair of the Examining Board to attend the oral examination in an advisory capacity.

12.  The Examining Board shall be required to examine the published works submitted, and to hold an oral examination on the work submitted and on the general field of knowledge within which it falls.  Normally, the oral examination shall be held in the University unless permission to hold it elsewhere has been granted by the Head of the Graduate School.

13.  Each Examiner shall make an independent report on the published work or works before the oral examination, shall be present at the oral examination, and shall sign a joint certificate of the result of the oral examination.  Forms (including the Notice of Candidature Form) for use by the candidate and the examiners will be issued by the Academic Quality and Records Office upon request.

14.  If the Examiners are unable to agree in their recommendations the Academic Quality and Records Office shall be informed, and the procedure regarding the appointment of an arbitrating external examiner to resolve such disputes shall be initiated as laid down in Standing Order.

15.  Should the Examining Board not be satisfied with the candidate’s performance in the oral examination, it may allow him/her to be examined orally on one further occasion, not later than one year from the date of official communication to him/her of the result by the Academic Quality and Records Office. A re-examination fee will be payable by the candidate.

16.  In the case of candidates resident at the time of submission elsewhere than in the United Kingdom, the oral examination may be deferred until the return of the candidate to the UK, provided that:

(a)  the candidate shall give not less than two months’ notice to the Academic Quality and Records Office of the dates between which he/she will be available for oral examination;
(b)  the oral examination may not be deferred for a period exceeding twelve months from the date of submission of the published works;
(c)  any additional expense caused to the University in the conduct of the deferred oral examination shall be borne by the candidate.

17.  Examining Boards may recommend one of the following options:

(a)  That the candidate be approved for the degree of PhD, subject to such minor corrections as may be required by the Examining Board.  Corrections should be completed within a period of four working weeks.
(b)  That the candidate be not approved for the degree of PhD but that, where the critical analysis submitted for examination is satisfactory in substance but defective in presentation or in detail, the candidate be allowed to modify it and re-submit it on one further occasion, not later than one year from the date  of the official communication to him/her of the result, for the degree of PhD on payment of a re-examination fee.  This option is not available when a re-submitted work is being examined.
(c)  That the candidate be not approved for the degree of PhD.

18.  An Examining Board may attach to a work which has not been approved by the examiners any decision or recommendations or comments which they may desire to communicate to the candidate after the termination of the examination.

19.  Two copies of every work of research approved by the examiners shall become the property of the University.  One copy shall be deposited in the National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth; the other shall be deposited in the University Library.