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Doctoral Supervision in Southern Africa pp 145–158 Cite as

Supporting Doctoral Candidates Through Completion and Final Examination

  • Cornelia Ndahambelela Shimwooshili-Shaimemanya 5  
  • First Online: 01 January 2024

Part of the Springer Texts in Education book series (SPTE)

Examination of a PhD thesis/dissertation marks an important stage in the student doctoral journey and in the early stages of candidature, doctoral students often do not know what the PhD thesis examiners favour and what their expectations are. This chapter synthesises the literature on the challenges and demands of transition to become independent scholars, and academic preparation of candidates for viva voce examinations through, a critical literature review methodology and reflections upon personal practice. Supervisors’ reflective accounts and experiences are incorporated to contribute to a supervision pedagogy for PhD studies. The study recommends that Southern African universities need to adopt the collaborative cohort model, systematic supervisor training and clear communication of guidelines to strengthen their research capacities, to address the skills demands of their knowledge societies and realise Sustainable Development Goals.

  • PhD supervision
  • Southern Africa
  • Supervisors reflective account
  • Supervision pedagogy
  • Knowledge economy

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Kakoma Luneta

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Hileni M. Kapenda

Department of Mathematics Education, University of Zambia, Lusaka, Zambia

Patricia Phiri Nalube

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Shimwooshili-Shaimemanya, C.N. (2023). Supporting Doctoral Candidates Through Completion and Final Examination. In: Luneta, K., Golding, J., Kapenda, H.M., Nalube, P.P. (eds) Doctoral Supervision in Southern Africa. Springer Texts in Education. Springer, Cham.

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UCL Doctorate In Clinical Psychology


Examiners' criteria for evaluating the thesis

General criteria.

The research thesis is expected to be an original piece of empirical work of relevance to clinical psychology, demonstrating the candidate’s ability to apply scientific principles and undertake rigorous investigation. It should be of publishable quality, making a distinct contribution to the knowledge of the subject and affording evidence of originality.

The work done for the thesis must not have been submitted in fulfilment of the requirements of any other degree, and it must be the candidate’s own work. If the candidate is working in a team or analysing previously collected data the candidate’s personal contribution must be clearly defined. The criterion of acceptability is that the candidate is making a substantial independent contribution to the study.

The course supports a pluralistic approach to research. The candidate is free to choose from a range of approaches and paradigms as long as the research methods are appropriate to the research questions or hypotheses being investigated.

It should be borne in mind that, due to the multiple demands of clinical training, trainees are allotted relatively little time in which to do their project. We therefore do not hope for large or flawless studies, but we do expect that the research will be executed in a rigorous and professional manner.

These notes should be read in conjunction with the trainees’ guidelines on the major research project and on writing and presenting the thesis .

Theses are normally sent out to examiners in July for the September vivas. Before the viva, the internal and the external examiner each independently complete a report on the thesis.

The purpose of the viva is for the examiners to understand the candidate’s thinking about the material in the thesis (and also to establish their claim to independence of work). The candidate should be given the opportunity to explain any deficiencies or clarify any issues raised by the examiners.

Following the viva, the examiners compile a brief joint report. This includes an agreed evaluation of the written thesis and an assessment of the candidate’s performance in the viva. The result of the examination must be assigned to one of the five categories below. This is a recommendation subject to ratification by the Board of Examiners.

Outcomes of the viva

In arriving at an overall evaluation, examiners will bear in mind that strengths in some areas of the thesis may compensate for weaknesses in others. The more important or innovative the topic or method, the more forgivable are shortcomings: it is relatively easy to do methodologically sound but trivial research; harder to do innovative research that is scientifically or professionally significant.

The following categories are not “marks” in the sense of corresponding to A, B, C, etc.; rather they are to be thought of as specifying what is needed to bring the thesis up to an acceptable standard. It is possible, for example, that a generally excellent thesis may have some flaws requiring corrections, or that a competent but rather uninspiring thesis be awarded a pass.

The indicative times given next to each correction type (i.e. one month, three months, one year) represent the maximum time the candidate is given to make the corrections. However, it is possible that candidates may be able to submit their corrections earlier, and indeed the requirements for HPC registration put them under some pressure to get their thesis finally approved. Ultimately, the examiners will judge how well the corrections have been completed, rather than how long they have taken to be completed.

A well-conducted and well-presented study. Any small deficiencies in conceptualisation, measurement, design or execution are counterbalanced by positive qualities and a thorough discussion of methodological limitations. Minimal typographical or stylistic errors.

Pass conditional on minor corrections (one month)

A thesis which meets the criteria for a pass, but has some weaknesses that are fairly readily correctable. Corrections might include adding some further material; rewriting several pages; some re-analysis or re-presentation of the data; or correction of a large number of typographical or stylistic errors. (Theses with minimal presentational errors can, at the Board of Examiners’ discretion, be awarded a Pass.)

Referred for stipulated revisions (three months)

A thesis which has several substantial flaws in the analysis or write-up. Stipulated revisions might include the addition of substantial new material; a significant amount of rewriting, often in several parts of the thesis; or an extensive re-analysis of the data, which will usually necessitate revising the discussion of the findings.

Referred for major revisions (one year)

A badly thought-out or extremely poorly presented piece or work with serious flaws that are not convincingly explained in the viva. The thesis requires a very substantial re-conceptualisation, rewriting, or re-analysis to be brought up to passing standard. Revisions that require the collection of a significant amount of new data also fall under this category. A further oral examination, following resubmission, may be held at the examiners’ discretion.

A Fail should be given when the work undertaken by the candidate is irredeemable, i.e., the thesis has major flaws in conceptualisation, execution or presentation, which are not adequately accounted for in the viva. A Fail should also be given if the candidate’s viva performance reveals a fundamental lack of understanding of the rationale underpinning the work. In other words, either the thesis or the candidate’s viva performance indicates an absence of expected competencies and suggests that the candidate is not going to be able to undertake independent work as a clinical psychologist in the NHS. No resubmission is permitted.

Resubmission of the corrected thesis

The deadlines for the one-month, three-month and one-year resubmissions will be decided at the exam board. The revised thesis usually will be seen only by the internal examiner, unless the external examiner requests to see it.

If the required corrections have been made to the thesis, it is passed. If it falls short of meeting the required corrections, it will be referred to the chair of the exam board. (The one exception to this is when only a small number of very minor corrections still need to be made; the internal examiner can, at their discretion, contact the candidate directly, requesting that these changes be made.) If the candidate is unable or unwilling to make the corrections required, the thesis may be failed. The course regulations state that all course requirements must be completed within four years.

HPC registration

It is a pre-condition of HPC registration that candidates have completed all elements of the course, which includes all of their thesis corrections. Once the final hard-bound copy of the thesis, plus the electronic copy, have been submitted, the department will inform HPC so that registration can go ahead. The course makes every effort to streamline this process, so that potential employment is not affected.

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PhD Thesis Evaluation Report Writing

Thesis writing plays a vital role in completing your academic study in any research area. In this thesis, among all the chapters, the evaluation is important that is illustrated in this blog.

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PhD Thesis Evaluation Report is a blog that gives you information about an evaluation report in the thesis. The significance of evaluation in the thesis is illustrated, start to read this blog.  

What is a Thesis?

   The thesis is a technical write-up of research work as a single strength from the introduction to the conclusion. A thesis consists of sequential chapters to give a deep understanding of the concept. In simple, a thesis is a report of research to illustrate methods and their results in detail.     

Importance of Evaluation in Thesis

  • At first, the metrics for evaluation in a research concept need to be relevant to the objectives of the work.
  • It depicts the efficiency of the proposed methodologies and their best on that system.
  • The comparison to previous methodologies and algorithms will make sure that the proposed method operates at higher performances.
  • The result evaluation in the thesis depicts tabulated values and graphical plotted values.

  The evaluation is not only important in a thesis, in basic it is used to identify the performance of the proposed research. The improvement in the research reflects in the evaluation report. We have experts to write PhD Thesis Evaluation Report in any research field. The research fields in PhD for thesis are given below.  

Fields in PhD Thesis Writing

  • Network and Communication
  • Processing of Images
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  • Management of all Data
  • Analysis of Banking Records

    In this way, there are many other research fields of study to write a thesis. According to the major course, the research field depends upon. We offer support for writing only evaluation reports for the thesis. It is a special opportunity for all scholars and doctorates. We are here to assist you in completing your PhD thesis on time.   

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Prize-Winning Thesis and Dissertation Examples

Published on September 9, 2022 by Tegan George . Revised on July 18, 2023.

It can be difficult to know where to start when writing your thesis or dissertation . One way to come up with some ideas or maybe even combat writer’s block is to check out previous work done by other students on a similar thesis or dissertation topic to yours.

This article collects a list of undergraduate, master’s, and PhD theses and dissertations that have won prizes for their high-quality research.

Table of contents

Award-winning undergraduate theses, award-winning master’s theses, award-winning ph.d. dissertations, other interesting articles.

University : University of Pennsylvania Faculty : History Author : Suchait Kahlon Award : 2021 Hilary Conroy Prize for Best Honors Thesis in World History Title : “Abolition, Africans, and Abstraction: the Influence of the “Noble Savage” on British and French Antislavery Thought, 1787-1807”

University : Columbia University Faculty : History Author : Julien Saint Reiman Award : 2018 Charles A. Beard Senior Thesis Prize Title : “A Starving Man Helping Another Starving Man”: UNRRA, India, and the Genesis of Global Relief, 1943-1947

University: University College London Faculty: Geography Author: Anna Knowles-Smith Award:  2017 Royal Geographical Society Undergraduate Dissertation Prize Title:  Refugees and theatre: an exploration of the basis of self-representation

University: University of Washington Faculty:  Computer Science & Engineering Author: Nick J. Martindell Award: 2014 Best Senior Thesis Award Title:  DCDN: Distributed content delivery for the modern web

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University:  University of Edinburgh Faculty:  Informatics Author:  Christopher Sipola Award:  2018 Social Responsibility & Sustainability Dissertation Prize Title:  Summarizing electricity usage with a neural network

University:  University of Ottawa Faculty:  Education Author:  Matthew Brillinger Award:  2017 Commission on Graduate Studies in the Humanities Prize Title:  Educational Park Planning in Berkeley, California, 1965-1968

University:  University of Ottawa Faculty: Social Sciences Author:  Heather Martin Award:  2015 Joseph De Koninck Prize Title:  An Analysis of Sexual Assault Support Services for Women who have a Developmental Disability

University : University of Ottawa Faculty : Physics Author : Guillaume Thekkadath Award : 2017 Commission on Graduate Studies in the Sciences Prize Title : Joint measurements of complementary properties of quantum systems

University:  London School of Economics Faculty: International Development Author: Lajos Kossuth Award:  2016 Winner of the Prize for Best Overall Performance Title:  Shiny Happy People: A study of the effects income relative to a reference group exerts on life satisfaction

University : Stanford University Faculty : English Author : Nathan Wainstein Award : 2021 Alden Prize Title : “Unformed Art: Bad Writing in the Modernist Novel”

University : University of Massachusetts at Amherst Faculty : Molecular and Cellular Biology Author : Nils Pilotte Award : 2021 Byron Prize for Best Ph.D. Dissertation Title : “Improved Molecular Diagnostics for Soil-Transmitted Molecular Diagnostics for Soil-Transmitted Helminths”

University:  Utrecht University Faculty:  Linguistics Author:  Hans Rutger Bosker Award: 2014 AVT/Anéla Dissertation Prize Title:  The processing and evaluation of fluency in native and non-native speech

University: California Institute of Technology Faculty: Physics Author: Michael P. Mendenhall Award: 2015 Dissertation Award in Nuclear Physics Title: Measurement of the neutron beta decay asymmetry using ultracold neutrons

University:  Stanford University Faculty: Management Science and Engineering Author:  Shayan O. Gharan Award:  Doctoral Dissertation Award 2013 Title:   New Rounding Techniques for the Design and Analysis of Approximation Algorithms

University: University of Minnesota Faculty: Chemical Engineering Author: Eric A. Vandre Award:  2014 Andreas Acrivos Dissertation Award in Fluid Dynamics Title: Onset of Dynamics Wetting Failure: The Mechanics of High-speed Fluid Displacement

University: Erasmus University Rotterdam Faculty: Marketing Author: Ezgi Akpinar Award: McKinsey Marketing Dissertation Award 2014 Title: Consumer Information Sharing: Understanding Psychological Drivers of Social Transmission

University: University of Washington Faculty: Computer Science & Engineering Author: Keith N. Snavely Award:  2009 Doctoral Dissertation Award Title: Scene Reconstruction and Visualization from Internet Photo Collections

University:  University of Ottawa Faculty:  Social Work Author:  Susannah Taylor Award: 2018 Joseph De Koninck Prize Title:  Effacing and Obscuring Autonomy: the Effects of Structural Violence on the Transition to Adulthood of Street Involved Youth

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evaluation of phd thesis

10 PhDs for Monitoring and Evaluation

A doctorate will place you on a whole new trajectory when it comes to your field of specialisation. As the field of Monitoring and Evaluation grows, so are the opportunities for focused doctoral study expanding across fields, while also deepening in their technical specificity. Whether your strengths lie in the highly analytic, and technical aspects, or whether a specific development challenge or cause has captured your heart, mind, and career, there is a PhD opportunity out there for you to formalise your knowledge, and to take your contribution to developing real-world solutions to the next level. It takes many years to find your niche for doctoral study, but these suggestions may assist is guiding your decision making as you navigate.

DPhil in Social Intervention and Policy Evaluation – University of Oxford

Oxford’s Department of Social Policy and Intervention offers this world-class, interdisciplinary doctoral programme focusing on Social Intervention process, policy and practice across a range of subject areas. The programme equips students with the theory and skills for conducting sound evaluations of programmes in health, violence prevention, the reduction of poverty and inequality, and child mental health; indeed some of the most pressing challenges for governments, civil society and development practitioners. This advanced programme encourages independent work, and the programme is usually highly specific to each individual, although all candidates are well supervised. This is a research-based programme, with stringent access requirements, but will guarantee candidates with the skills to grapple with development issues from the level of international policy, right down to the grass-roots implementation of even the most complex problems.

PhD Programme in Social and Engineering Systems – MIT

This cutting-edge research programme speaks into the heart of current best practice in social and human science. This programme will equip participants with the analytic and statistical methods to be able to analyse and address leading social challenges, from a strong data and machine learning perspective. Combining aspects of Information Systems and Sciences, with Engineering, Social Science, and the study of research methodologies, this fascinating programme will pave the way for a new generation of development practitioners. This programme includes a focus on autonomous systems, financial systems, urban systems and how these systems can be used to strengthen policy making, and urban development. If you’re looking at not only grasping M&E, but how to use evaluation as a principle in creating reinforcing loops for ongoing development practice, then why not explore this option.

PhD in Development Studies – University of Cambridge

This is a structured programme which provides participants with comprehensive coverage of current development issues and challenges; an excellent place to situate skills in monitoring and evaluation for improvement of development practice. At the end of their third year, participants submit a research dissertation, and the second year usually involves international, on-the-ground participation and study. The first year equips participants with all the critical research theories and skills. This structure makes this a unique opportunity to properly experience and explore real-world development challenges, while seeking their solutions. This is a full time PhD course, with stringent entry requirements, and a demanding study regime, however a strong supervisory element ensures a high quality, and enriching study experience.

PhD in Environmental Science, Policy & Management – University of California Berkeley

If your passion for problem solving is related more to issues of the environment, and the climate crisis, and this is where you hope to focus your Monitoring and Evaluation specialisation, this this expanded Environmental Science PhD might be the thing you are looking for. With employment and career prospects in government, environmental policy making, and academia, this programme will equip you with the methods and skills to evaluate programmes and policies to improve the outlook of our environment, and to mitigate the negative effects of our industrialised world. This will provide you with the language and the evidence to sway key stakeholders toward creating a better world.

PhD in Biomedical Informatics – Columbia

If you’re looking to focus on Public Health, and Health information systems, with Monitoring and Evaluation to improve healthcare policies and programmes, the this PhD in Biomedical Informatics will equip you will the skills you require to evaluate and improve healthcare programmes, information flows and conduct studies around programme efficacy. With a growing focus on healthcare related issues, this programme with its strong theoretical and applied components will equip epidemiologists, looking to sharpen their M&E with a top notch qualification, to engage in solving health challenges at the global level.

PhD in Evaluation Studies – University of Stellenbosch

This is a two-year doctoral programme offered by one of Africa’s leading universities, situated outside Cape Town, Stellenbosch University, which has been generating some of the most rigorous research and evaluations on the continent and around the world. The programme equips upcoming evaluators with all the skills and methodologies to conduct rigorous evaluations and aims to build Monitoring and Evaluation capabilities on the African continent and to ensure that this field continues to grow in professionalisation and practice. This programme is an excellent opportunity for those seeking to specialise as evaluators, and who aim to make a sound contribution across a range of intervention subjects and areas by applying this critical skillset. Studying M&E within a developing country context is sure to provide additional context, and a real edge the study experience.

PhD in Measurement, Evaluation, Statistics and Assessment (MESA) – Boston College

If you are technically skilled in statistics and are fascinated by the interplay with these skills and social research, then this is the programme for you. The programme ‘integrates state-of-the-art research design, statistical methods and testing’ to ensure that candidates are equipped with the highest degree of technical excellence. This programme is collaborative, both within the school amongst colleagues, but also on an international level. The programme is technical, but also applied, providing participants with the opportunity to work with NGOs and other civils society organisations, focusing on real-world development challenges.

PhD’s by Research – Institute of Development Studies

The Institute of Development Studies (IDS) ranked 1 st place in the 2020 QS World University Rankings by subject. The Institute takes some 50 PhD students at a time, and the work is focused on Development Studies across a range of topics and geographies. PhD students work with two Research Fellows, and participate actively in the teaching and learning activities offered by the IDS. Whether you are interested in applying your M&E skills to Policy and Governance, Civil Society, or Dev Tech, you will find associates at the IDS to facilitate a comprehensive research-based PhD. If you have a research topic in mind, focusing on any of the Institute’s subject areas, applications are welcome. As this programme is research based, coupled with teaching and learning opportunities, this programme will provide some freedom for research, while allowing participants to gain critical work experience in academia.

PhD in Development Studies with Reference to Emerging Economics – King’s College London

If your interest is in solving development challenges, using an evidence approach, and focusing on developing economies, then this PhD programme may be the one for you. The degree focuses on developing systems for modernisation, development and progress, with focus areas of Poverty, Inequality and Inclusive Growth, Social Justice and Political Economy and Institutions. The Department also hosts the Africa Leadership Centre, which creates a unique network with young leaders in Africa. This PhD may be completed part-time, or full-time.

PhD in the Evidence-based Practice Unit – University College London

If you’re already a subject specialist, looking an analysing critical issues such as healthcare provision and when to stop treatment, resilience in schools, child and adolescent mental health, mental well-being, or a range of other specialist areas at the centre of some of the world’s most significant development challenges, then why not browse the research areas currently support at UCL’s Evidence-Based practice unit. UCL, a ‘diverse global community of world-class academics, students, industry and external partners’, is well recognised for research strength and is growing its reputation as a leading multidisciplinary University. With links to the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families in the UK, this is an excellent opportunity for those seeking to bring an evidence-based and evaluative focus to an existing development challenge.

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    Ph.D. Thesis Evaluation Report Thesis Title: Author: Supervisor: Reviewer: Sexual Exploitation and Abuse by UN Peacekeepers Mgr. Jan Králik, LL.M. Prof. JUDr. Pavel Šturma, DrSc. JUDr. Martin Faix, PhD., MJI 1. Introduction

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  19. Prize-Winning Thesis and Dissertation Examples

    Prize-Winning Thesis and Dissertation Examples. Published on September 9, 2022 by Tegan George.Revised on July 18, 2023. It can be difficult to know where to start when writing your thesis or dissertation.One way to come up with some ideas or maybe even combat writer's block is to check out previous work done by other students on a similar thesis or dissertation topic to yours.

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    Evaluation Report of PhD Thesis Name of Research Scholar : Registration Number : Department/Centre : ... The thesis is acceptable after minor revisions as specified to the satisfaction of the Oral Board during viva-voce examination.

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