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Degrees of Doctor of Letters and Doctor of Science Rules

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Section 1 - General

(1) A higher doctorate is awarded for an original research contribution of distinguished merit that adds substantially to the knowledge and understanding of any branch of learning, including creative arts, with which the University is concerned.

(2) The University awards the following higher doctorates:

  1. Doctor of Letters (DLitt)
  2. Doctor of Science (DSc)
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Section 2 - Admission to Candidature

Admission Requirements

(3) Admission to candidature for a higher doctorate degree shall require:

  1. holding of the degree of Doctor of the University for at least five years; or
  2. holding of the degree of Bachelor of the University in a relevant discipline for at least 10 years; or
  3. holding of the degree of Master of the University in a relevant discipline for at least 8 years; or
  4. being a graduate for at least ten years in another discipline or of another university provided that the applicant has undertaken research within the University for not less than two years.


(4) The application shall be made in writing to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research or nominee and shall include:

  1. clear identification of the discipline(s) that the proposed Submission will address; and
  2. a statement of academic qualifications together with a list of his or her published works/creative accomplishments; and
  3. an outline of the work to be submitted for the degree.

Holders of Higher Doctorates

(5) Admission to candidature will not normally be accepted from an applicant who already holds a higher doctorate of the University, or an equivalent qualification from another tertiary institution, unless the applicant can satisfy the Higher Doctorate Committee that substantially new work is included in the submission and/or the applicant is applying on account of contributions to a branch of knowledge not included in the earlier higher doctorate.

Examination Fee

(6) Upon admission to candidature, the candidate shall pay the examination fee required by the University. The University shall determine this fee annually.

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Section 3 - The Submission

(7) Upon admission to candidature, the candidate shall present a draft version or plan of their Submission to the Higher Doctorate Committee, which will consult as required relevant sources of expertise to ensure the submission will be in an appropriate form for examination.

(8) Normally, the Submission shall consist substantially of published works concerned with thematically or conceptually-related aspects of a branch of learning pursued within the University, the majority of which shall have been published not less than six months before the date of application for candidature. The Submission must represent an original research contribution of distinguished merit. However, it is recognised that the concept and form of what is to count as the Submission may need to be individually negotiated between the Higher Doctorate Committee and the candidate.

(9) Irrespective of the final negotiated form of the Submission, the candidate must provide sufficient bridging material in it to make clear the thematic or conceptual threads connecting the published materials, creative or other works included in the Submission.

  1. The published works, creative or other materials may be accompanied by additional manuscript material, bridging and linking materials and other publications, creative or other works directly attributable to the candidate and which lie within the fields with which the University is concerned.
  2. The Submission shall include an extended abstract clearly setting out the nature and objectives of the works presented, the overall contribution to knowledge that this body of work has contributed to the field and the extent to which the candidate considers he or she has achieved their objectives.

(10) Once the suitability of the form of the Submission has been confirmed, the candidate shall present to Research Services, five copies of a submission for examination.

(11) The candidate shall indicate clearly and fully those parts, if any, of the publications that are not his or her own work. If conjoint work is presented the candidate must produce satisfactory evidence as to the extent to which he or she was responsible for the initiation and conduct, direction and reporting of such conjoint work.

(12) The candidate is required to indicate what part, if any, of the work has been previously submitted for a degree in this or any other university by the candidate personally , or in the case of conjoint work, by one of the candidate's collaborators.

(13) Material that is subject to security or similar restrictions is not normally acceptable for examination.

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Section 4 - The Examination

(14) Prior to the Submission being examined, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research or nominee will discuss a pool of possible examiners for the Submission with the candidate as well as with other experts in the disciplines addressed in the Submission.

(15) The Submission will be examined by three examiners none of whom are members of the Higher Doctorate Committee and at least two of whom must be external to the University.

(16) Any agreement resulting from the negotiations referred to in Paragraph 8 shall be communicated to the examiners together with the Submission and other accompanying documentation and materials.

(17) Each examiner will be given two months to produce a separate written report on the merits of the Submission. Examiners shall not consult each other when producing their separate reports.

(18) The Higher Doctorate Committee shall seek unanimity from the three examiners and, after receiving and reading the examiners' reports, will make one of the following determinations:

  1. recommend to Academic Board the admission of the candidate to the degree; or
  2. advise the candidate to withdraw from his or her candidature.

(19) Before making a decision in terms of Rule 18b the Higher Doctorate Committee may request the examiners to consult with each other and report to the Committee on whether unanimity can be reached among the examiners. If unanimity cannot be reached the Higher Doctorate Committee will advise the candidate to withdraw his or her candidature.

(20) Except as provided in Rule 4.6 there shall be no re-examination of a Submission for a higher doctorate.

(21) The candidate may appeal, on procedural grounds, a decision of Rule 4.5(b). Any appeal must be made in writing, directed to the Chair of Academic Board, and must clearly state the procedural grounds on which the appeal is based.

  1. The Academic Board Standing Committee will consider the appeal. As part of the process, the candidate shall be invited to present a report detailing any concerns he or she may have about the examination process.
  2. The Academic Board Standing Committee will make one of the following decisions at the conclusion of its deliberations:
    1. recommend to Academic Board the admission of the candidate to the degree; or
    2. advise the candidate to withdraw from their candidature.
  3. There shall be no appeal against the final decision of the Academic Board Standing Committee although the candidate retains the right to seek an investigation by the NSW Ombudsman of a claim of maladministration.

(22) The University reserves the right to retain the material submitted for a higher doctorate by a successful candidate and reserves the right to publish the abstract in any manner approved by Council.

(23) On approval of the award of the degree, one copy of the Submission shall be deposited in the Library Services and an electronic copy shall be held in the University's electronic record repository (currently, Research UNE).

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Section 5 - Title of the Degree: Disciplinary Area

(24) At the request of the candidate and on the recommendation of the Higher Doctorate Award Committee to the Academic Board Standing Committee, the title of the degree of Doctor of Letters or Doctor of Science may have the addition of a disciplinary area for the award added to the testamur and the official transcript.

(25) The use of the disciplinary area as a post-nominal (e.g. DSc (Psychology)) for professional purposes shall be at the discretion of the candidate but the degree shall be recognised formally and solely as a DLitt or DSc by the University.

(26) Academic Dress. The Academic Dress for the higher doctorates shall be that prescribed for the degrees of Doctor of Letters and Doctor of Science including the hood: the hood shall not be changed to represent the disciplinary area added to a Testamur.