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Senior Doctoral Awards of Cardiff University

Guidance Notes


All applications are conducted in accordance with the Senate Regulations for Senior Doctoral Degrees.

Applications for a Senior Doctoral Degree can be made at any time during the year.  However, if the application is made later than 31 January, the outcome may not be determined in sufficient time to allow conferment of the award at a graduation ceremony in that academic year.

Eligibility for Application

Applications for a Senior Doctoral Award can be made by:

1.   a graduate of the University who satisfies any one or more of the following criteria:

  • qualified for a Doctor of Philosophy 2 or more years ago;
  • qualified for an MPhil or other cognate Master’s degree 3 or more years ago;
  • qualified for an initial degree 10 or more years ago.

2.   a member of the teaching, research, administrative, library or technical staff of the University or an Associated Theological College who:

  • qualified for an initial degree at least 10 years previously;
  • has been a member of staff for at least 5 years.

Format of Application

Applications for a Senior Doctoral Award should include:

  • a completed application form (available from the Resource section of this page in pdf and Word format);
  • the submission: this consists of two bound or securely boxed copies of the:
  • supporting summary;
  • a full, numbered list of the works being submitted in the order in which they appear in the submission;
  • printed copies of the published works being submitted;
  • a summary of collaborator statements (if appropriate: see below).
  • 3 loose copies of the supporting summary;
  • payment of the £500 submission fee: cheques should be made out to ‘Cardiff University’.

The submission should be sent to: Academic Registrar, Cardiff University, McKenzie House, 2nd Floor, 30-36 Newport Road, Cardiff CF24 0DE.

The supporting summary  (4-5 pages in length) should clearly indicate the basis of the application in respect of:

  • the field(s) of specialism;
  • the evidence of originality and distinction in the work;
  • the contribution that has been made to the advancement of knowledge in the field(s);
  • how much, if any of the work has been submitted or is being concurrently submitted for any other degree.

Submissions should include independent published work which is a substantial contribution to knowledge.  The Senate Regulations (see paragraph 2) contain a definition of ‘published work’ for the purpose of Senior Doctoral awards.   It is important that the works have been openly available to those working in the field(s) concerned.  Work may be disregarded if it is considered that it has not been in the public domain or if it is submitted for a degree at too short an interval after publication. 

Work done in collaboration may be submitted, but only if accompanied by a statement signed by each collaborator indicating the nature and amount of the work done in collaboration and giving a clear indication of the applicant’s input.  These individual statements should be included in the full submission, accompanied by an overall summary indicating the publication, the name(s) of the co-authors and whether a statement is included.  If a collaborator statement is not included, an explanation should be provided for this.

Determination of Awards

The submission will be considered initially by a committee consisting of the Pro Vice-Chancellor and two other members of Senate.  If the Committee is satisfied that there is a case for further detailed consideration of the submission it will:

  • appoint 3 referees (determined in consultation with a Head of School);
  • ask 2 of the appointed referees to submit an independent report on the works and recommend whether an award should be made.

The reports will be considered by the committee and a recommendation made to Senate.   The committee may, at their discretion, ask the applicant to attend an interview. 

The outcome of the application will be confirmed by Registry and Academic Services.  Where an award is made, one bound/boxed copy of the submission will be placed in both the University Library and in the National Library of Wales.

Conferment of Awards

Following confirmation of an award by Senate, a degree certificate will be issued by Registry and Academic Services.   Successful applicants can also choose whether they would wish to attend a graduation ceremony for the conferment of the award.  Registry and Academic Services will confirm all the arrangements for this.

Who to Contact with Queries

If you have any queries about the application procedure, please contact:

David Lloyd, Senior Quality and Standards Adviser 


Telephone: 02920 8 75246