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Examining the Doctorate: institutional policy and the PhD examination process in Britain.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


Journal publication date2000
JournalStudies in Higher Education
Number of pages14
Original languageEnglish


In this article the authors attempt to shed some light on the PhD examination process, a process that is arguably far less transparent than those at other levels of British higher education. More specifically, the authors focus upon institutional policy from a sample of 20 British universities and attempt to document policy and interrogate the principles underpinning guidelines governing examination practices. They examine definitions of what constitutes a doctorate and policies governing a range of practices that are integral to the examination process. The research reveals that although there is a large degree of inter-institutional consistency regarding key criteria for the award of a PhD, close inspection of institutional policy suggests that the PhD examination is in fact conceptualised and operationalised in diverse ways.