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PhD Processes

PhD Processes

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PhD Processes

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  1. PhD Processes Pete MeissnerforSCAH Research CommitteeApril 17th, 2012

  2. Preface: Some general comments • PhD is a UCT degree (hence DDB processes, with Departmental & Faculty involvement) • e.g. Proposal approval, Committee of Assessors, Examiner nominations etc. • UCT PhD R&R in Handbook 3 [] • Initial student interest, ‘application’ (can be formal or informal), interest/topic, supervisor(s) handled at departmental/unit level. • Student registers (assuming eligibility - guidelines for admission in PhD General rules and Policies – ‘Rules for Doctor of Philosophy’) • e.g. A recognised Masters degree, a recognised MBChB or equivalent etc. • A Master’s candidate may upgrade (any time prior to submission) • A PhD candidate may downgrade at any time prior to submission) • PhD students must submit an approved study proposal to the Faculty Office for approval via a Dean’s Circular within 6 months but not later than the end of the first year of registration.

  3. Preface (continued) • Minimum registration period is 2 years. Should be completed in 4-5 years. If beyond 5 years Faculty requires motivation – certainly allowance made for ‘service-loaded’ clinicians etc. • Supervision, monitoring progress, etc. responsibility of the Department. • As soon as student signals signals intent to submit, supervisors report and examiner nominations are called for. Student may submit sans approval from supervisor (I do not advise this). • Examination process = 3 external examiners who are credible, outside SA (within reason), nominated by supervisor & approved by HOD and Faculty Committee of Assessors (CoA). DDB oversees examination process but CoA (from within Faculty) make recommendation to DDB. • Faculty graduates 30-50 PhD’s per year currently.

  4. Proposal – Broadly speaking • All academic departments in the Faculty have Departmental Research Committees (DRC) and/or Postgrad Committee. • One of the functions of these committees is to assess the study proposals of students in their departments for feasibility, scientific rigour, and that the project is likely to be of sufficient scope and novelty for a PhD degree. • Faculty only considers and approves the proposal once it has signed off by the DRC and, if appropriate, the Faculty Ethics Committee

  5. Proposal Process - Specifically(as understood by Pete Meissner) • Student & Supervisor • The student works with their supervisor(s) to determine a research question, to design a study, and to write a proposal. As part of this process the student will often undertake a comprehensive literature review which will eventually form part of the thesis. Student is registered – MoU is developed between student & supervisor (and HOD) as part of proposal development process. • The Departmental Research Committee (DRC) • Once the student and supervisor have reached agreement about the proposal it is submitted to the relevant DRC for assessment and approval. The DRC assessment may vary depending on the department(e.g. Seminar, review, meeting). Master’s upgrades considered similarly. • Once the DRC is satisfied with the proposal it should inform the student of its decision and advise the student to apply to the relevant ethics committee for approval. (This may have already happened or be in parallel). • The DRC may, however, request the student to expand the study proposal, to make changes to the proposal, or (rarely) to not approve the proposal. • Ethics approval must be sought (if not already done so) • Beware of ‘older’ ethics approvals granted umpteen years ago

  6. Faculty approval • Once the student has received ethics approval for the study proposal they must submit the proposal accompanied by form D1(approval of a study proposal), and a copy of the ethics approval letter & D3 form (supervisor appointment form) to the Faculty Office. • The Faculty Office will submit the proposal to the Chair of the DMC (on behalf of the Dean) for approval. Once approved the proposal is published in a Dean’s Circular for ratification by the Faculty Board. • DDB • Notes the registration (early) and notes the Faculty approval once granted and publishes in a DDB Chair’s circular. • Once approved by DDB they inform the student.

  7. Further (on-going) Process • Department (HOD and/or HODiv) • Monitor progress, assist supervision etc. • On reregistration – progress report is submitted, signed off by student, supervisor and HOD and submitted to the Faculty Office. Mandatory for reregistration – hence consider doing in Nov/Dec. • Examination process – DDB handles (in consultation with Faculty) • Student signals intent to submit (at least a month prior to submitting, approved by supervisor). • Supervisor asked for report (DDB04), nomination of examiners (DDB07) • Faculty appoints CoA, and approves examiners • DDB appoints / formally invites examiners. • Examination process occurs. • Examiner reports considered by CoA on behalf of the DDB and recommendation made. • DDB informs student of outcome. CoA follows up on behalf of DDB if required (corrections etc.)

  8. Help • Forms (MoU’s, Progress reports etc. available on Health Sciences PG Vula site) • Contact Adri Winckler if you want to be added as a participant on the Faculty PG Vula site. (All PG students are by default) • Supervisor handbook available from Faculty (same site) • Supervisor training – CHED offers (some covered in ‘Emerging Researcher’s training’) • DDB website, via – documents about ‘Constructing a study proposal’, ‘Layout of thesis’ etc. Same documents on Vula site. • PG Student support Committee Chair – Prof Carolyn Williamson. • My door is also open….