Doctoral School

Working towards graduation

Working towards graduation

Get to know about the important milestones for your journey towards doctoral graduation:

All doctoral students (M.Phil./Ph.D., S.Th.D, Pharm.D., D.Mus) registered with the University of Malta, must comply with the University’s Research Code of Practice and the University’s Research Ethics Review Procedures and complete an Ethics and Data Protection form.

Students need to complete an online form which consists of four parts: Part 1. Applicant and Project Details; Part 2. Self-assessment; Part 3. Detailed Evaluation; Part 4. Submission details.

As per procedures:
1. Applicants who complete the Self-assessment (Part 2) without issues will not be exposed to the Detailed Evaluation (Part 3). Such applicants must still submit the form to their FREC (Faculty/Institute/Centre/School Research Ethics Committee) for filing and audit purposes, but may commence the research DIRECTLY.
2. Applicants who flag an issue in the Self-assessment checklist (Part 2) will be required to elaborate on ONLY the relevant issue/s in the Detailed evaluation (Part 3) and must seek FREC permission prior to data collection.

Once completed, the form will be automatically generated as a PDF document and sent to the applicant by e-mail for submission to the relevant FREC, after annexing any supporting materials (and with the Principal supervisor’s email approval).

Ahead of completing the online form, users are advised to read the UM Research Code of Practice   and the UM Research Ethics Review Procedures  , refer to any relevant Frequently Asked Questions, and to familiarise themselves with the requirements of the form, which is available as a downloadable replica.  Full details are available on the UREC (University Research Ethics Committee) website. Submission of the UM Research Ethics Data Protection form will generate a code. Doctoral students are advised to keep a copy of the form and the code. The code is required when the Declaration of Authenticity is completed at the end of the examination process and a copy of the approved thesis is submitted to the Faculty/Institute/Centre/School Office.

Annual enrolment is based on a satisfactory progress report from the Principal Supervisor that is submitted in June of each year. The progress report records the work performed by the student in that particular academic year and outlines the steps forward. The progress report also indicates the strengths and weaknesses of the doctoral research and how any difficulties can be addressed. If a positive progress report is received and approved, the student will receive notification to enrol online.
After the lapse of at least twelve months (in the case of full-time students) and twenty-four months (in the case of part-time students) students are expected to request to transfer their studies from M.Phil. to Ph.D. Guidelines are available from the Faculty/Institute/Centre/School to define the type of work students are expected to submit for review.

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Students should note that:
(1) a successful M.Phil./Ph.D. transfer process does not imply any entitlement to the award of the M.Phil. degree and, consequently, the post-nominal letters M.Phil. cannot be used at this stage;
(2) transfer to Ph.D. level of studies is a process and does not imply any ascertainment that the research work will be accepted unconditionally for any stage of  examination for the award of the Ph.D. degree.

There may be instances where students require an extension of studies, a suspension of studies, a change in mode of study, or a change in title. The maximum allowable period for extensions is of two years overall and one year for a suspension of studies.

Change in the mode of study could be either from full-time to part-time or vice versa. If a student requests to study on a full-time basis, it is understood that not more than 19 hours are dedicated to employment per week. A major change in title may necessitate a re-consideration of the entire Ph.D. research.

In all instances, students are required to send a detailed request to the F/I/C/S Doctoral Committee indicating the reason for the request. The request requires the approval of the Principal Supervisor.
Students are required to inform the Faculty/Institute/Centre/School Office that they intend to submit by the stipulated deadline at least 3 months prior to the submission. The necessary preparations will be made to appoint a  Board of Examiners. 
When submitting the thesis for examination, the Submission of Thesis Form  is to be included with the thesis. Students submit a loose bound copy for each member of the Board of Examiners, together with a copy in digital format to the F/I/C/S Office, with a statement from their Principal Supervisor that they have satisfactorily pursued studies during the prescribed period. The officer in charge of the Faculty/Institute/Centre/School shall issue a dated receipt.

If a student wishes to place an embargo on a thesis and limit its distribution, a request has to be made to the Library Committee. Details are available on the Library's website.

Plagiarism is strictly not allowed. Plagiarism is a serious offence and may lead to University disciplinary action. Doctoral students are required to be familiar with the Plagiarism and Collusion Guidelines   and need to submit an electronic copy of their thesis through the official University plagiarism detector software. The portal for submitting the draft and final copy of the thesis through the VLE will be set up by the Principal Supervisor. The electronic copy of the thesis is considered to be the official submitted version of the thesis.

Following the submission of the thesis for examination, an individual report is prepared by all members of the Board of Examiners, normally consisting of a chairman, an internal examiner and a visiting external examiner. It is common practice to have an additional internal examiner and also a non-visiting external examiner. There are instances where the student is required to effect major changes to the thesis and a specific period of time is communicated to the student in order to carry out these changes and to re-submit the thesis for examination. A full explanation of the several courses of action that may be taken by a Board of Examiners can be accessed in the Doctor of Philosophy – Ph.D. – Regulations, 2008  .

Viva voce examinations are normally held in person at the University of Malta but as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and until further notice, Senate has agreed to allow viva voce examinations to be held remotely. Guidelines provide instructions as to how the viva voce examination can be carried out using teleconferencing or similar facilities.

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Following the viva voce examination, the Chairman of the Board of Examiners informs the student in writing about the changes that may be required, if applicable. The Chairman also indicates the amount of time required for any changes to be made, and whether these changes are minor or major in nature. It is the duty of the Chairman to check that the required corrections and changes have been made before the final reports, including the individual examiners’ reports and joint examiners’ report compiled following the viva voce examination, are sent for the consideration of the Doctoral School’s Doctoral Academic Committee and Senate's approval.
Other courses of action maybe taken by the Board of Examiners, such as the award of the Master of Philosophy degree, as outlined in the Doctor of Philosophy – Ph.D. – Regulations, 2008  .
Finally an assiduous and exciting voyage is coming to an end. The final thesis result will be published on eSIMS and the official result sheet is signed by the Registrar, after Senate endorses the recommendations made by the Board of Examiners. A copy of the final post-viva examination report will be sent to all students and their principal supervisor by the respective Faculty/Institute/Centre/School.

Students are then required to submit to the Faculty/Institute/Centre/School two hard-bound copies of the thesis and one copy in digital format within 6 weeks from the publication of their result. The student is also required to present to the Faculty a signed declaration of authenticity. The Research Ethics & Data Protection form code in the Authenticity Form refers to the code generated automatically when the student will have submitted the REDP form (after November 2018). The electronic version must conform to the standards set by the University of Malta Library. The Admissions and Records Office will get in touch with the student with details of the graduation ceremony (held in autumn of each year). This will include information about the hiring of the gown.