Postgraduate study skills in science, technology or mathematics
Postgraduate study skills in science, technology or mathematics

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Postgraduate study skills in science, technology or mathematics

1.8 The OU requirements

The criteria for an OU PhD (as stated in the Guidelines on Research Degree Examinations for Heads of Disciplines, Supervisors and Examination Panels, EX 10, revised January 1998) are that:

The thesis must be of good presentation style and show evidence of being a significant contribution knowledge and of the student's capacity to pursue further research without supervision. The thesis must contain a significant amount of material worthy of publication. [Emphasis added]

These are interpreted on the examiners’ report (EX33 (PhD) revised January 1998) as follows:

  • 5.1 Comment on the presentation and style of the thesis.

  • 5.2 In what way does the thesis show evidence of being a significant contribution to knowledge?

  • 5.3 In what way does the thesis show evidence of the candidate's capacity to pursue further research without supervision?

  • 5.4 How much material worthy of publication does the thesis contain?’

So, the OU has four criteria:

  1. good presentation

  2. significant contribution

  3. capacity for independent research

  4. publishability.

More generally, most universities include among their criteria:

  • original

  • significant

  • contribution to knowledge

  • publishable.

So do most journals. Therefore, you can provide evidence of ‘significance’, ‘originality’, and ‘publishability’ in advance of submission, by publishing your work in refereed journals or conferences.

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