The University of Bedfordshire has been investigated following concerns raised about the academic standards of the PhD examination process.
The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) began an investigation after two external examiners raised concerns in January this year.
The QAA found that the academic standards of the University’s postgraduate research awards had been placed at risk. However, they also found that the University had acknowledged the regulatory and procedural issues raised, and was taking strong and appropriate steps to prevent their recurrence.
The investigation found that the decision to allow a candidate a second resubmission of their thesis was contrary to the University’s regulations
They found the process through which the University made that decision was flawed and did not reflect the academic rigour and objectivity which would be expected in such circumstances.
The roles of internal examiner and supervisor or adviser were not scrupulously and transparently separated and the University did not clearly inform the original external examiners about the case when they expressed their concerns.
The concerns investigation team recommended that the University keep under review the working of its revised policies, regulations and procedures for postgraduate research awards to ensure that they prevent a recurrence of the issues addressed in this report.
That they take all reasonable steps to ensure that the roles of internal examiner and supervisor or adviser are scrupulously and transparently separated, and that they ensure communications with external examiners are at all times clear and accurate.
The University now has six weeks to draw up an action plan to address the findings of QAA’s investigation and confirm how it intends to put the recommendations into practice.