Annex 19 - Failure to complete assessment for research degrees

1.  In exceptional circumstances, the Research Degrees Examination Board may approve a research degree award for a candidate, where:

a)    the candidate is prevented by illness or other substantial cause from completing their dissertation and/or examination,

b)    the academic award cannot be made under the University’s normal academic regulations,

c)    there is no prospect in the foreseeable future of the candidate being able to fulfil the requirements of the award, and

d)    there is sufficient evidence of the candidate’s ability at the appropriate level for the award.

Aegrotat awards

2.  Aegrotat awards are applicable for candidates who are unable to complete their programme of study and who have produced insufficient material for assessment due to illness or other substantial cause. These candidates do not qualify for a standard award, but an aegrotat award may be granted if in the judgement of the Research Degrees Examination Board the candidate would have gained an award if circumstances had permitted.

3.  The Research Degrees Examination Board may decide to approve an aegrotat award where:

a)    the candidate has been prevented by illness or other substantial cause from completing their programme of study and from producing sufficient material for assessment;

b)    the candidate is unable to complete an examination at a later date, including if this is deemed to be undesirable or impracticable by the Research Degrees Examination Board;

c)    the candidate has demonstrated that they are worthy of an aegrotat award as confirmed through, for example, a supporting statement from their supervisors; and

d)    the candidate (or in the case of posthumous awards, their next of kin) agrees to an aegrotat award.

Standard research degree awards

4.  Standard research degree awards are applicable for candidates who are unable to complete their programme of study due to illness or other substantial cause but who have produced sufficient material for assessment. These candidates will qualify for an appropriate standard award if the Research Degrees Examination Board approves a recommendation from an external examiner based on the available research work completed by the candidate.

5.  The initial request for consideration of a standard award in these circumstances would normally be submitted to the Research Degrees Examination Board for consideration by the relevant Faculty PGR Director. The candidate (or in the case of posthumous awards, their next of kin) must agree to request. If the request is accepted, the Research Degrees Examination Board will appoint an external examiner to assess the available research work and to make a recommendation on the award. There will not be an oral examination.

5.  The Research Degrees Examination Board may approve an award (at either doctoral or master’s level as deemed appropriate), notwithstanding that the research degree has not been completed, on the recommendation of an external examiner that the following requirements have been met:

a)    enough of the research project must have been completed to allow a proper assessment of the scope of the dissertation;

b)    the standard of the research work completed must be that normally required for the award of the degree in question, and must demonstrate the candidate’s grasp of the subject; and

c)    the written material available (such as draft chapters, published work, work prepared for publication, presentations to conferences, progress reports by the candidate) must demonstrate the candidate's ability to write a dissertation at the required standard.