University Calendar 2011/12
Section V : Higher Degree Regulations
Regulations for the degree of Doctor of Medicine

ARCHIVE 2004/5
ARCHIVE 2005/6
ARCHIVE 2006/7
ARCHIVE 2007/8
ARCHIVE 2008/9
ARCHIVE 2009/10
DSc, LLD, etc.
MPhil, PhD
Taught Research
Integrated PhD
Staff Candidature
Masters Taught
Code of Practice
COP Appendix 1
COP Appendix 2
COP Appendix 3
Award of the Degree
  1. The degree of Doctor of Medicine may be awarded by the Senate to candidates who, to the satisfaction of the Faculty of Medicine, have successfully pursued a programme of registered study as described in the following regulations and have fulfilled any other University requirements. (See Note 1)
  1. Candidates must hold a medical qualification which is recognised by the General Medical Council for the United Kingdom, and must have held this qualification for at least three years by the date of submission of the thesis or published works.

  2. In addition, candidates must be employed during their period of registered study in appropriate clinical or scientific work in hospitals or institutions associated with the Faculty of Medicine.
Approved Programme of Study
  1. The candidate's application, proposed area of research, and programme of study must be approved by the Faculty of Medicine. Candidates will be registered in the Faculty of Medicine.

  2. In approving candidature, the Faculty shall state the effective starting date, which shall not normally be backdated by more than 3 months.

  3. The programme of study shall be one of part-time study and research for a minimum period of twenty-four months and a maximum period of forty-eight months. A candidate who fails to submit a thesis by the end of the maximum period of study shall be deemed to have withdrawn from the programme. This time limit may be extended by Senate on the recommendation of the Faculty in special circumstances.

  4. A candidate will be expected to take part in a programme of graduate studies, including lectures, seminars and associated assessments, to the satisfaction of the Head of the candidate's Research Group or Division.
  1. Every candidate shall be allocated to a supervisory team by the Faculty on the recommendation of the candidate's Head of Research Group or Division. The supervisory team shall consist of at least two members, one of whom will be the 'main supervisor'. The main supervisor will have main responsibility for the supervision of the design and progress of the candidate's research project and for providing academic advice to the candidate. The supervisory team may contain additional supervisors and/or advisors and shall report on the candidate's work and progress when requested to do so by the Faculty Programme Committee. The Code of Practice for Research Candidature and Supervision sets out the responsibilities of the supervisory team.

  2. Every candidate will take part in an individualised assessment of their research training needs with their supervisor(s) at the commencement of their postgraduate research studies. Candidates will also be required to take part in a postgraduate student research training programme which addresses research/generic/transferable skills and may include a range of compulsory and optional elements, the former as determined by the Faculty Programme Committee.

  3. In addition, the Faculty may approve arrangements for an individual candidate to receive supervision jointly by the University and the clinical institution where the candidate is undertaking his/her research.
  1. The Faculty may at any time review the progress of an individual candidate. If this is unsatisfactory and if, after due warning, there is insufficient improvement, the Faculty may recommend termination of candidature to Senate. The candidate may appeal against the decision by using the procedure set out in the General Regulations (Section IV: Regulations Governing Academic Appeals by Students.

  2. Candidates registering for the degree of DM may apply to transfer to MPhil or PhD registration after at least one year of part-time registered study. Transfer to PhD registration should occur not less than six months before submission of the PhD thesis. Time already spent in candidature for the DM will count towards the period of study required for the MPhil or PhD.
Nominal Registration
  1. If the candidate has completed not less than two years part-time registered study, the Faculty may allow transfer to nominal registration for a period not exceeding twelve months in the first instance. The supervisor(s) must confirm that the minimum period of candidature has been completed, research is substantially complete as determined by the Faculty Programme Committee, and the thesis is being written up. If a candidate is on nominal registration for longer than six months a fee becomes payable (see Section IV of the University Calendar). In cases of illness, family crisis or exceptional or unforeseeable circumstances beyond the candidate's control, the Faculty may permit a candidate to suspend when in nominal registration (see Regulation 17 'Temporary Suspension').

  2. Candidates retain access to library and computing facilities until their thesis is examined and, where appropriate, any revisions requested by the examiners have been made. Access to other facilities (eg: office space) may be extended at the discretion of the Faculty .

  3. With support from his/her supervisor, a candidate may apply in writing to extend the period of nominal registration beyond twelve months, taking account where applicable of Regulations 19 and 20 below regarding extension of candidature.

  4. Periods of nominal registration count towards the maximum period of candidature.
Temporary Suspension
  1. Candidates must continue in registration for the degree until such time as they submit their thesis or withdraw, except that the Faculty Programme Committee may permit temporary suspension of candidature. The Faculty Programme Committee may allow suspension of candidature, having considered a request from the student accompanied by a written justification and supported by the supervisory team. In general, suspensions are allowed in extenuating circumstances (eg: illness, family crisis or unforeseeable problems beyond the student's control) and should not be granted as a matter of course. The maximum period of suspension should be stipulated in accordance with the University's Regulations governing Transfer, Suspension, Withdrawal and Termination (Section IV of the University Calendar). In the case of Research Council or sponsor-funded candidates, due regard should be given to Research Council or sponsor rules governing suspension. Periods of temporary suspension shall not count towards the maximum period of study.

  2. Suspended students should not receive supervision and normally should not have access to services. However, where a Faculty/Accredited Institution judges that there is a need, access to services can be granted on an individual student basis through the student administration system.
Extension of Candidature
  1. The minimum and maximum periods of candidature should be strictly adhered to. Extensions of candidature beyond the maximum period of time will be granted only where there is good cause and on specific application by the candidate, supported by the supervisory team, before the candidature is due to expire. Faculty Programme Committee may allow extension of candidature having considered a request from the student accompanied by a written justification and supported by the supervisory team. An action plan should be agreed with the candidate setting out what needs to be achieved during the extension period.

  2. Extensions may be approved at Faculty level by the Chair of the Faculty Programme Committee (or nominee) (see the Quality Handbook for information on extension to candidature and a template application form for extensions). Extensions should be requested only exceptionally when unforeseen circumstances arise and such circumstances must be demonstrated in each case. Due regard should also be given to limits or conditions placed on extensions by Research Councils or sponsors, and any penalty which may apply if funded students extend their study period. Applications for extension must be submitted with the supervisory team's approval through the Faculty Student Office for approval by the Chair of the Faculty Programme Committee (or nominee). The relevant fee will be charged in accordance with the candidate's registration status; ie: whether in candidature or in nominal registration.
Alternative Submission for the Degree
  1. Exceptionally, candidates may apply for the award of the DM degree without having pursued a programme of registered study, as follows:

    1. Southampton graduates not employed in hospitals or institutions associated with the Faculty of Medicine may apply to submit a thesis for examination without registering as a student of the University if they can provide evidence that they have tried unsuccessfully to submit for the degree at their local university.

      1. Any graduates who hold a Consultant or equivalent position, or who work in General Practice and who are employed in local hospitals or institutions associated with the Faculty of Medicine, may apply for the award of the degree by submission of published works. Such works should be broadly comparable to a DM thesis, as specified in regulation 24 below. The normal requirement would be a minimum of four peer-reviewed papers in respected journals which form a coherent body of work.

      2. The published material should be bound together with an abstract and a supporting statement indicating the candidate’s aims, the nature of the research, and the contributions to it of the works submitted. Where published papers from different sources are included, the candidate must provide a separate introduction which links the material and demonstrates the nature and extent of his/her original contribution. If the published work is already in book form, the abstract and supporting statement must be bound.

      3. If the candidate incorporates material which has been produced in collaboration with others, a written statement should be included indicating the share the candidate personally took in the work.

  2. Such candidates will not be allocated a supervisor but will be allocated an advisor who will provide informal guidance during the preparation of the candidate’s thesis or published works. The proposed area of research must be approved by the Faculty normally at least one year before submission of the thesis.
Submission of Thesis
  1. Regulations applying to the degree of PhD shall also apply to candidates for the degree of DM.
  1. The degree of Doctor of Medicine denotes high professional standing and good competence as evidenced by high quality clinically orientated or biomedical research. Candidates must provide evidence that they have mastered a special field within the broad remit of clinical medicine or surgery, or more basic science as it relates to those areas. The scientific and research methods employed by the candidate must be validated. The work should be of a standard that might reasonably be expected from a candidate who has spent at least two years in part-time research.

  2. For each candidate normally one internal and one external examiner shall be appointed to examine the thesis; in exceptional cases one additional external examiner may be appointed. Members of the supervisory team, and other researchers who have a substantial involvement in the student's work such that there would be a conflict of interest or a potential lack of objectivity, may not be appointed as internal examiners. In particular, the main supervisor may not be appointed as an internal examiner.

  3. Candidates for the DM will normally be required to attend for an oral examination. In conducting the oral examination, arrangements will be made, where necessary, to accommodate the requirements of students with special communication needs.

  4. The examiners for each candidate shall recommend one of the following courses of action:

    1. That the degree of DM be awarded.

    2. That the degree of DM be awarded subject to minor amendments to the thesis being made by a date specified; (minor amendments include: minor omissions of substance, typographical errors, occasional stylistic or grammatical flaws, corrections to references, addition/modification of one or two figures, and minor changes to layout and require no new research. These changes need only be certified by the internal examiner). The date specified for the submission of such minor amendments should normally be no later than a month after the formal notification to the candidate.

    3. That the degree of DM be awarded subject to the correction of modest errors/omissions of substance being made by a date specified (the procedure for certification of the amendments should be clearly specified in the report). Such amendments may require limited further analysis but will not affect the originality of the central thesis. They will be of a scale to require certification by both the internal and external examiners, though normally not so extensive that an oral is required. The date specified for the submission of such intermediate amendments should normally be no later than six months after the formal notification to the candidate.

    4. That the candidate be required to attend for a further oral examination.

    5. That the candidate be permitted to submit, by a date specified, a revised thesis for the same degree for re-examination on one subsequent occasion. The date specified for submission of the revised thesis should normally be no later than twelve months after the formal notification to the candidate. The Fees Office should be informed when a candidate has been asked to submit a revised thesis.

    6. That the degree be not awarded and that resubmission of the thesis be not permitted.

  5. A candidate who fails to submit a corrected or revised thesis by the date set by the examiners shall normally be regarded as having failed the examination and the recommendations of the examiners shall lapse.

  6. Where the examiners recommend that the degree not be awarded and that submission of a revised thesis be not permitted, the candidate may ask for the case to be reviewed in accordance with the procedures laid down by Senate. A copy of the procedures may be obtained from the Faculty Student Office.
  1. Exceptionally, candidates may apply for the award of the degree without registering as students of the University following submission and examination of a thesis or published works (see Regulations 21 and 22).

Approved by AQSC on 1 June 2005 and by Senate on 22 June 2005.
Revisions approved by Faculty Programme Committee in May/June 2006 and by the Faculty Quality Improvement & Audit Committee in July 2006.
Amendments approved by AQSC on 6 June/11 July 2007, by Senate on 20 June 2007 and by Chair's Action for Senate July 2007.
Amendments approved by AQSC on 23 April/4 June 2008 and by Senate on 18 June 2008.
No revisions for 2009/10.
Revisions approved by UPC in July 2011.

Submitted by Corporate Services
Last reviewed: 11-Aug-2011
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