Appendices: Guidelines on the Conduct of MPhil and PhD Thesis Examinations

(Version July 2018)

AnchorA.   Introduction

  1. The thesis examination is mandatory for those enrolled in research postgraduate programs and is conducted by a Thesis Examination Committee (TEC).

  2. An MPhil TEC normally consists of three faculty members appointed by the department head/program director. One is the thesis supervisor(s) and another is appointed as Chairperson.

  3. A PhD thesis examination normally consists of a Chairperson and five voting examiners appointed by the Office of Postgraduate Studies. The examiners include the thesis supervisor(s), two academic staff members from the candidate’s major department, one academic staff member from outside the department, and one faculty external to the University who has expertise in the field being examined.

 

AnchorB.   Conduct of Thesis Examination

  1. A thesis examination takes place in a single session and comprises four parts, the first two of which are open to all members of the University and to departmental guests. The third part is closed to all but the candidate and the TEC, and the fourth is a closed session of the TEC in the absence of the candidate.

  2. The first part is an oral presentation by the candidate, emphasizing the major elements of the research and the results obtained.  The candidate is expected to apportion no more than 60 minutes for the presentation.

  3. The second part is an open questioning session, involving the TEC members, and others in attendance. During this part of the examination, all questions are addressed through the Chairperson and any dialogue limited to the candidate and the individual questioner.

  4. The third part is a closed session involving a less formal discussion between the candidate and the TEC on the candidate's research. Other than the candidate and the TEC, other personnel are not allowed to attend this part of a thesis examination. However, in exceptional circumstances, with the prior agreement of the candidate, the thesis supervisor and the TEC Chairperson, other personnel may be allowed to attend this part of a thesis examination as observers. It should be noted that observers are not permitted to participate in the examination or affect the examiners in their assessment of the thesis examination. At the end of this part of the examination, the candidate and any observers must leave the examination venue.

  5. The fourth and final part is a closed session involving only the TEC to assess the quality of the thesis, and the performance of the candidate during the examination. In arriving at a decision, the votes of members of the TEC carry equal weight. The Chairperson is responsible for advising the TEC the vote of the external examiner in absentia, if applicable.

 

AnchorC.   Outcome of Thesis Examination

A thesis examination can have one of the following results:

  1. Passed;
  2. Passed subject to minor corrections;
  3. Passed subject to major corrections;
  4. Failed but may be resubmitted; or
  5. Failed.


 

AnchorD.   Reports on Thesis Examination

Report on Thesis Examination Results for Research Postgraduate Degrees

  1. The examination result will be reported in a proforma entitled “Report on Thesis Examination Results for Research Postgraduate Degrees”. The TEC Chairperson shall collect Part 2 of the report from all the examiners and complete Part 3 and Part 4.1 of the report. The report, duly signed by all TEC members, must include all comments that the TEC or the Chairperson wishes to make on the conduct of the examination, the quality of the thesis, the contribution of the thesis to the field of study, the performance and competency of the candidate in the thesis examination, or any other remarks relating to the thesis and the examination.

  2. If a thesis has been graded “Passed”, “Failed but may be resubmitted” or “Failed”, the Chairperson should forward the duly completed report to the head of the candidate’s department.  After signing the report, the department head/program director will forward it to the Dean or the Dean’s designee for endorsement, and finally to the Academic Registry together with the final thesis copies for follow-up action and record.

  3. If a thesis has been graded “Passed subject to minor corrections”, the Chairperson should pass the entire set of documents to the thesis supervisor(s) who should keep the report until the candidate has submitted a revised thesis to his/her satisfaction before the deadline as described in Para E2 below. The full set of documents, with the final thesis copies, should then be forwarded to the department head/program director and the Dean or the Dean’s designee for endorsement before passing to the Academic Registry for action and record.

  4. If a thesis has been graded “Passed subject to major corrections”, the Chairperson should pass the entire set of documents to the thesis supervisor(s) who should keep the report until the candidate has submitted a revised thesis to the satisfaction of the TEC before the deadline as described in Para E3 below. The full set of documents, with the final thesis copies, should then be forwarded to the department head/program director and the Dean or the Dean’s designee for endorsement before passing to the Academic Registry for action and record.

Chairperson’s Report on Thesis Examination

  1. The Chairperson is also required to submit a “Chairperson’s Report on Thesis Examination” to the Office of Postgraduate Studies within one week from the date of the thesis examination, reporting any irregularities observed during the conduct of the thesis examination.

 

AnchorE.   Post-Thesis Examination Arrangements

  1. If a thesis has been graded “Passed” with no corrections required, the candidate must, within one week, submit two identical clean unbound original copies of the thesis to the Academic Registry via the department together with the completed “Report on Thesis Examination Results for Research Postgraduate Degrees” to complete the degree requirements.

  2. For candidates who have passed their thesis examination but subject to minor corrections, their final thesis copies must be submitted to the Academic Registry with the completed “Report on Thesis Examination Results for Research Postgraduate Degrees” report within three months from the date of the thesis examination, or a date specified by the TEC, whichever is earlier.  This requirement is applicable regardless of the mode of registration of the candidate.  The corrections are to be made to the satisfaction of the thesis supervisor(s).  Candidates should allow sufficient time for the thesis supervisor(s) to check and verify their final version of the thesis before the clean unbound original copies are submitted to the Academic Registry via the department to complete the degree requirements.

  3. For candidates who have passed their thesis examination but subject to major corrections, their final thesis copies must be submitted to the Academic Registry with the completed “Report on Thesis Examination Results for Research Postgraduate Degrees” within 12 months from the date of the thesis examination, or a date specified by the TEC, whichever is earlier. This requirement is applicable regardless of the mode of registration of the candidate. The revised thesis requires the approval of the full TEC. The TEC may recommend that a re-examination be held before a final assessment is arrived at.  If a re-examination is required, the TEC membership should be the same as that for the first examination, unless otherwise recommended by the department or the Office of Postgraduate Studies. If the members are satisfied with the revised thesis, the clean unbound final thesis copies must be forwarded to the Academic Registry via the department to complete the degree requirements.

  4. The result “Failed but may be re-submitted” requires that the entire examination process be repeated, including the re-establishment of a TEC. The TEC membership may or may not be the same as that for the first examination. At least six months must pass before the second thesis examination can be conducted. A candidate who has failed in the second attempt of thesis examination will result in the automatic withdrawal of the candidate from the program of study and termination of registration at the University.

  5. “Failed” grade results in the automatic withdrawal of the candidate from the program of study and termination of registration at the University.

 

AnchorF.   Submission of Final Thesis

  1. On successful completion of the thesis examination, candidates must submit two identical clean unbound original hard copies of the thesis to the department, which will arrange for the appropriate signatures of approval to be obtained. The department will then forward the signed copies to the Academic Registry for follow-up action. When bound, one copy will be retained by the department and one by the Library as an archival copy in the open collection for the student author and other interested visitors to access on campus.

    At the time of submission of the printed copies to the department, the student should have submitted an electronic copy of the final thesis to the University Library’s E-thesis Database.  Students are required to provide a printed copy of the email acknowledging receipt of the e-thesis when they submit the printed copies of the thesis to the department for forwarding to the Academic Registry as proof.

  2. In addition, students are required to complete two online survey forms and submit them together with the final thesis hard copies to the department.

  3. In the event that a candidate misses the specific deadline for the submission of the final thesis copies, the candidate will be viewed to have failed to meet the thesis examination requirements of the University and will be deemed to have failed the requirements of the degree program being pursued. If the delay in submitting the final thesis copies is no fault of the candidate, the candidate may appeal for an exception to be made for the above rules to be lifted. The appeal supported by the thesis supervisor(s) should be submitted to the Office of Postgraduate Studies via the PG Coordinator with the endorsement from the relevant School.