Higher Doctorates

The University of Sheffield offers a number of Higher Doctorates according to different faculties. Applicants are, in the main, very senior members of academia or industry and should be Sheffield graduates of a specified number of years (see specific Faculty Regulations) or a member of the academic staff of the University with at least 6 years continuous service with the University.

Prospective applicants should first ensure that they refer to the University's Regulations for Higher Doctorates.

How to apply - informal stage

Prospective applicants are advised that before making a formal submission, they may enquire into the strength of their case. The opinion of senior academic members of staff of the University who are experts in the applicant's field of expertise is sought. Please note: this is an option not a requirement and is one chosen by the majority of prospective applicants. If an informal opinion is required, the applicant should submit, to the appropriate Faculty contact in Research Services, a brief CV and a list of the titles and reference to the published work which will comprise the higher doctorate submission (only work which has actually appeared in print is eligible for inclusion). It must be stressed that this is an informal assessment by senior academics at the University as to whether a case for submission exists – in no way should the assessment, if positive, be interpreted as a guarantee that a higher doctorate degree will be awarded. Research Services submits the list of publications and brief CV to the relevant Head of the Department, i.e. where the applicant's previous degree(s) was awarded or where the applicant is employed and the Head of Department is asked to consult with senior colleagues to determine whether or not there is a case for submission. At this stage, if the informal opinion is positive then the Head of Department is asked to nominate two or three possible suitable external examiners.

How to apply - formal submission

Where an applicant subsequently proceeds to make a formal submission, this should be submitted to the appropriate Faculty contact in the PGR Support Team in Research Services and the examination fee should be paid (£2,163 for 2019/20).  Three sets of the published work should be submitted together with three copies of a statement indicating precisely the share which the applicant has taken in any collaborative work. Three copies of the list of publications should also be submitted. If any of the work submitted has been presented for another degree of any university, this should clearly be identified.

How to apply - the examination process

Following a formal higher doctorate submission, two external examiners are appointed, on the recommendation of the Head of Department. It is expected that the examination process for a higher doctorate submission should be completed within six months. There is no oral examination involved in this process. The external examiners are each asked to independently assess the submitted work and to write a detailed report which should clearly state whether or not the examiner recommends the award of the higher doctorate. In the event of conflicting recommendations, a third external examiner is appointed.

Further enquiries

Potential applicants should direct any initial enquiries to the relevant Research Degree Support Officer.