Doctoral Extraordinary Circumstances and Posthumous Award Procedures


Introduction


This document relates to the award of a doctorate in the event of extraordinary circumstances or the death of a doctoral candidate prior to the completion of their degree. It does not apply to higher doctorates.

Enquiries about these procedures must initially be directed to the Dean of Graduate Studies. It is important that a discussion with the Dean of Graduate Studies takes place before any discussions about the award of a doctorate are held with family, friends or colleagues of the (former) doctoral candidate.

Purpose


To outline the circumstances in which the award of a posthumous or extraordinary circumstances doctorate at the University will be considered and the procedures which must be followed.

Background


The award of a doctorate to a candidate who has extraordinary circumstances such as a terminal illness, may be considered in the following circumstances:

  • If the oral examination has been held, but the final thesis has not been submitted

  • If the thesis has been submitted for examination but the examiners’ reports have not yet been received and/or the oral examination has not yet been held

  • If a draft of the complete thesis, which may require routine editing, is available

  • If the above criteria are not met but the Vice-Chancellor, on the advice of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) and Dean of Graduate Studies, considers that extraordinary circumstances warrant consideration of the award of the degree 

    The posthumous award of a doctorate to a candidate who has died when close to completion of their degree may be considered in the following circumstances:

  • If the oral examination has been held, but the final thesis has not been submitted

  • If the thesis has been submitted for examination but the examiners’ reports have not yet been received and/or the oral examination has not yet been held

  • If a draft of the complete thesis, which may require routine editing, is available

  • If the above criteria are not met but the Vice-Chancellor, on the advice of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) and Dean of Graduate Studies, considers that extraordinary circumstances warrant consideration of the award of the degree

Content


Procedures

  • Where the oral examination has been held, but the final thesis has not been submitted

  • Where the thesis has been submitted for examination, but the examiners’ reports have not yet been received and/or the oral examination has not yet been held

  • Where a complete draft of the thesis is available

  • Where a complete draft of the thesis is not available

  • Third party editing of the thesis

  • Deposit of thesis in the University Library

  • Extraordinary circumstances 

Procedures


Where the oral examination has been held, but the final thesis has not been submitted 

1.    The Examination Committee must make a recommendation to the Dean of Graduate Studies as to whether:

  • the thesis may be accepted in its current form
  • a third party should be requested to edit the thesis according to guidelines recommended by the Examination Committee
  • the award of another degree should be considered
  • the thesis is not suitable for the award of a degree 

Where the thesis has been submitted for examination but the examiners’ reports have not yet been received and/or the oral examination has not yet been held

2. The examination of the thesis is to proceed according to the process outlined in the regulations for the degree, with the exclusion of the oral examination from Regulation 9 of the 2011 and 2016 PhD Statutes

  • Where the thesis has not yet been dispatched for examination, the examination is to proceed as at 2, save that the provisions for substantive revision of the thesis are also to be excluded from Regulation 9 of the 2011 and 2016 PhD Statutes

3. Where the recommendations available to examiners differ from the examination process as detailed in the PhD Statute, examiners may be advised that an exceptional examination process applies

4. The Examination Committee must make a recommendation to the Dean of Graduate Studies based on the examiners’ reports and the supervisor’s comment (if provided) as to whether:

  • the thesis may be accepted in its current form

  • a third party should be requested to edit the thesis according to guidelines recommended by the Examination Committee

  • a further examiner should be appointed

  • the award of another degree should be considered

  • the thesis is not suitable for the award of a degree 

Where a complete draft of the thesis is available

5. An associate dean (Postgraduate) must establish a committee comprising the academic head, the candidate’s main or joint supervisor and a senior member of the faculty who has not been involved in supervision of the student

6. The committee is to be chaired by the associate dean

7. The committee must recommend one of the following to the Dean of Graduate Studies:

  • that the thesis be examined in its existing form

  • that a third party be requested to edit the thesis, according to guidelines recommended by the committee, before the thesis is examined that the thesis is not sufficiently advanced to be submitted for examination. 

8. The committee must take into account the supervisor’s comments on the complete draft, noting in particular whether the supervisor suggested that additional experimental work or research was required.

9. If a recommendation that the thesis be examined is accepted, the committee must arrange for a suitable version of the thesis to be submitted for examination.

10. The examination of the thesis is to proceed according to the process outlined in the regulations for the degree, with the exclusion of the oral examination and provisions for substantive revision of the thesis from Regulation 9 of the 2011 and 2016 PhD Statues

11. Examiners may be advised that an exceptional examination process applies.

12. On the basis of the examiners’ reports and the supervisor’s comment (if provided), the Examination Committee must make a recommendation to the Dean of Graduate Studies as to whether: 

  • the thesis may be accepted in its current form

  • a third party should be requested to edit the thesis according to guidelines recommended by the Examination Committee

  • a further examiner should be appointed

  • the award of another degree should be considered

  • the thesis is not suitable for the award of a degree 

Where a complete draft of the thesis is not available the following criteria must be satisfied:

13. An associate dean (Postgraduate) must establish a committee comprising the academic head, the candidate’s main or joint supervisors and a senior member of the faculty who has not been involved in supervision of the student

14. The committee is to be chaired by the associate dean

15. The committee will consider the work done under supervision for the degree, the supervisor’s commentary on the work and any independent evidence of the significance of the research (such as reviews of submitted papers)

16. The committee will make a recommendation to the Dean of Graduate Studies regarding whether the work should be submitted for examination and, if so, what work, if any, is required to be done before the thesis is submitted. If further work is required, the committee will recommend who will undertake that work

17. If a recommendation that the thesis be examined is accepted, the committee must arrange for a suitable version of the thesis to be submitted for examination

18. The examination of the thesis is to proceed according to the process outlined in the regulations for the degree, with the exclusion of the oral examination and provisions for substantive revision of the thesis from Regulation 9 of the 2011 and 2016 PhD Statues

19.  Examiners will be advised of the circumstance of the examination and will be told what work was done, if any, by a third party prior to submission of the thesis for examination

20. The assembled material is to be provided to the examiners and they will be asked to advise whether they consider that a sufficient amount of work has been completed of a standard equivalent to the requirements of a doctorate or for the award of another degree

21. The examiners’ reports are to be considered by the Dean of Graduate Studies who will then make a recommendation to the Vice-Chancellor as to whether or not the degree is to be awarded

Third party editing of the thesis

22.  If third party editing is recommended, it must conform to the Third Party Editing and Proofreading of Theses and Dissertations Guidelines (save where a specific variation is approved by the Dean of Graduate Studies).

23.  Where the award of the degree is approved subject to editing of the thesis by a third party, the academic head must make arrangements for, and ensure satisfactory completion of, such editing. 

Deposit of thesis in the University Library 

24. The Examination Committee will make a recommendation to the Dean of Graduate Studies as to whether the thesis should be deposited in the University Library.

25. Where a thesis has been edited and/or assembled by a third party, this must be noted in copies of the thesis provided to the University Library.

26. Where the award of the degree is approved and it is agreed that it will be deposited in the Library, the academic head will arrange for final copies of the thesis to be deposited with the School of Graduate Studies according to the requirements outlined in the PhD Statute. In such cases, the degree will not be awarded until final copies of the thesis have been deposited. 

Extraordinary circumstances

27. The Dean of Graduate Studies and Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) are to consider:

  • the evidence for the extraordinary circumstances claim, including medical certificates, if the basis of the request is (terminal) illness
  • the evidence available of the research work completed by the candidate
  • any independent evidence of the significance of the research (reviews of submitted papers, statements from end-users etc) 

Note: Normally such evidence will be submitted by the candidate’s supervisor, who will also provide a report on the candidate’s work

28. The following criteria must be satisfied: 

  • the candidate must have been registered for a minimum of 30 months full-time or equivalent

  • enough of the thesis must have been completed to allow a proper assessment of the scope of the work

  • the completed work must evidence the standard required for a doctorate and the candidate’s mastery of the subject

  • the material available (draft chapters, published work, work prepared for publication, presentations to conferences/seminars, progress reports etc) must demonstrate the candidate’s ability to complete a thesis to the required standard 

29. The examiners are to be advised of the circumstances of the examination

30. The assembled material is to be provided to the examiners and they will be asked to advise whether they consider that a sufficient amount of work has been completed of a standard equivalent to the requirements of a doctorate or for the award of another degree

31. The examiners’ reports are to be considered by the Dean of Graduate Studies who will then make a recommendation to the Vice-Chancellor as to whether or not the posthumous degree is to be awarded

32. If the award of a degree is approved, the material submitted for examination is to be lodged with the School of Graduate Studies

Note: The material submitted for examination will not be deposited in the University Library, whether or not award of a degree is approved. 

 

 

Definitions


The following definitions apply to this document:

Academic head is the head of the academic unit in which the candidate was registered

Doctoral candidates are students enrolled in a doctoral degree at the University

Higher doctorates include the Doctor of Engineering (DEng), Doctor of Laws (LLD), Doctor of Literature (LittD) and Doctor of Science (DSc)

University means the University of Auckland and includes all subsidiaries
 

Document management and control


Owner: Dean of Graduate Studies

Content manager: School of Graduate Studies

Approval date: July 2015

Review date: July 2018