Office of Doctoral Programmes

DEAN’S WELCOME MESSAGE

It is my pleasure to welcome you to the Office of Doctoral Programmes (ODP) at the University of Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA).

Since 2010, UPSA has introduced several Master’s degree programmes in areas such as Marketing, Accounting, Finance, Auditing, Global Leadership and Corporate Governance. With the institutional experience gained managing these graduate programmes, the University constituted a doctoral programme development team which then consulted widely with both industry and academia stakeholders, including a highly accomplished member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing, Ghana, to develop the University’s first doctoral programme. I am delighted that the team’s proposal, which was submitted as an application to both the National Council for Tertiary Education (NCTE) and the National Accreditation Board (NAB), has now been approved. UPSA therefore, now introduces its first doctoral programme, the PhD in Marketing, to be offered through the Faculty of Management Studies.

The UPSA PhD in Marketing programme prides itself on establishing a strong linkage between theory and practice and offers students an interdisciplinary environment, enabling the review and discovery of creative marketing ideas and the development of analytical skills for the effective and efficient resolution of complex marketing problems.

Students enrolling in the programme will benefit from a number of unique and highly desirable programme features. The first, is the diverse and multi-stage rigorous assessment regime. This enables regular evaluation of the student’s work in different types of assessment tools. Secondly, students are offered practical course-based research and teaching sessions which lead to journal; publications and in-class teaching. A third unique feature helps maintain higher levels of student retention in the programme and ensure timely graduation through a multi-dimensional academic experience monitoring and evaluation system.

Specifically, this includes ;

A.  A rigorous admission process which ensures a good fit between student academic capabilities and the university’s supervision resources;

B. The institution of a regularly evaluated student mentoring system;

C. Mandatory faculty tracking of student coursework performance;

D. Incentivized faculty-student research collaboration and documented student-supervisor interactions.

Finally, with the aim of producing doctoral graduates grounded in our local context and yet internationally informed, course instruction and research supervision in the programme will be facilitated through a dynamic and innovative collaboration between UPSA professorial rank faculty and a select group of international and local adjunct doctoral programme faculty.

The ODP has the primary responsibility of overseeing the growth of UPSA into a globally recognized doctoral research institution, that responds to the doctoral training needs of the nation and the larger world community.  This we pledge to working closely with our stakeholders and the public at large.

Prof. Nathan Kobina Austin
Dean, Office of Doctoral Programmes

 

DOCTORAL PROGRAMME POLICIES AND PROCEDURES

 

1.1       Vision

The ODP aims to develop and maintain competitive and globally recognized doctoral programmes in business and other social disciplines, designed to respond to the practical developmental needs of the country and the neighbouring region.

1.2       Mission

Leveraging the university’s established and widely-shared excellence in the professional disciplines, the ODP will strive to be recognized as a unique and highly favored provider of business and other doctoral programmes in the social disciplines, that are comprehensively resourced and financially self-sustaining, driven by the expertise of our diverse academic and administrative personnel, delivered through a complementing creative blend of student-centered systems, for our globally competitive life-long learners.

2.0       Goals and Objectives

2.1       Goal

The ODP will aim at continuous brand equity enhancements which enables it to distinguish itself as a self-sustaining student-centered intellectual and scholarly vibrant environment

2.2       Objectives

The primary objective is to create an enabling Doctoral programme environment for the acquisition of diverse research skills as well as the application of the resulting knowledge discovered. Relevant task-specific objectives will include:

  1. Conduct annual assessment of student, faculty and staff satisfaction with programme regulations and procedures
  1. Log/review and continuously refine all regulations and procedures related to contact with students, faculty and staff
  1. Promote a rolling admission policy with a strong academic refresher component
  1. Maintain a regime of rigorous faculty-driven research-based instruction and learning engagement
  1. Create focused awareness enhancement activities
  1. Implement a clear and consistent image management focus

3.0       Admission and Orientation

3.1       Admission Qualifications
Admission into UPSA Doctoral Programmes will be once a year in July/August and the following groups of applicants will be considered:

  1. Applicants with an MPhil, MSc, MA or MBA in marketing from an accredited university or college;
  1. Applicants with a marketing related dissertation from an MPhil, MSc, MA or MBA in other business disciplines from an accredited university or college;
  • Applicants with a professional marketing qualification e.g. CIM, CIMA etc., in addition to a non-business MBA, MA, or MSc from an accredited university or college, will be assessed on a case by case basis.

3.2       Additional requirements for admission will include

  1. Payment of the appropriate application fee;
  1. Full completion of an online admission application form; and
  • Submission of copies of certified academic certificates and transcripts, two recommendation letters and a personal statement on the applicant’s ability to undertake doctoral studies;
  1. In addition, at the discretion of the admission panel, a prospective student may be subjected to an interview.

3.3       Admission Process

  1. Prospective applicants purchase an online serial number (OSN) which enables access to the online admission application from the University’s website, upsa.edu.gh
  1. Additional documents required i.e. certified copies of birth certificate, transcripts, certificates, personal statement and recommendation letters, maybe emailed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or delivered to the Office of Doctoral Programmes, UPSA
  1. While components of the admission application packet may be submitted over a period of time prior to the advertised deadline, an application is considered complete only when the all document listed under 3.2, iii above have been submitted.
  1. The ODP initially reviews all applications and assigns partial scores based on a prior agreed scoring system. The complete application file together with the ODP preliminary partial scoring is then reviewed by admission panel members who may also serve as the interview panel as needed.
  1. An applicant is not considered officially admitted into the Doctoral programme until an offer of full admission signed by the Dean of ODP is received.
  1. The admission decision is initially provisional, converted to full admission after the admitted student clears the University’s student registration process.

3.4       Orientation
All admitted students are required to participate in a Student Orientation Day held for new students at the beginning of the first semester of the year of admission. Students meet with programme faculty and administrators and are provided with relevant programme and institutional information.

4.0       Advisement, Instruction and Supervision

4.1       Advisement

While students are still engaged in the completion of required coursework, the Dean of Doctoral Programmes shall serve as the official academic advisor.

The academic advisor works closely with the student providing academic advice, support and mentorship. Specific responsibilities include providing expert information in the use of available academic resources, student choice of elective courses, identification and collaboration in exploiting research opportunities, research support, student performance evaluation and assistance with the student’s Annual Individual Study Plan.

4.2       Instruction

All students admitted in a particular year enroll in classes as a cohort and as scheduled by the ODP in consultation with the student’s academic faculty. Failure to attend the Student Orientation Day, regularly attend the on-campus face-to-face sessions, actively participate in all organized research seminars, presentations and other organized professional development activities or submit an Individual Study Plan, may jeopardize a students’ ability to register for classes and the student’s performance in the programme considered unsatisfactory.

Required courses are offered each semester i.e. first and second semester, beginning in July/August and January respectively. Each course in the programme is offered via a hybrid approach consisting of mandatory face-to-face on-campus classes, online continuous assessment and final examinations/term papers. The semesters work shall comprise of 21-credit on-campus face-to-face session, spread over two weeks, 12-credit hours of online contact hours, over a period of three (3) months and 3-credit hours of final examination/term paper review sessions.

Without the prior approval of the instructor, failure to complete course-related required continuous assessments or final examinations/term papers, in a timely manner, may result in a ‘Fail’ grade being assigned by the instructor.

4.3       Supervision

Prior to the completion of the comprehensive examinations (see 5.2.1), the ODP in consultation with the student and faculty, will nominate a faculty member to serve as the principal dissertation supervisor. Thereafter, the student acting on the advice of the principal supervisor and facilitated by the ODP, is required to seek the consent of the two other faculty who will, together with the principal supervisor, constitute the student’s dissertation committee. A further requirement of the dissertation committee member selection process is that, both may be full-time or affiliate faculty of Senior Lecturer rank and above. The primary purpose of the Dissertation Committee, is to provide timely discipline-specific research guidance and support through to the completion of the dissertation. Using a dissertation proposal template provided by the ODP, to help ensure that the final output meets the highest standards of quality research, clearly communicated in an appropriate structured manner, the Principal Supervisor takes full and sole responsibility for guiding the student to the completion of the dissertation. He/she may decide the extent of the role to be played by the secondary supervisor. It is however required that they review and comment on both the draft dissertation proposal and draft dissertation and vote to provide a grade at the end of both the dissertation proposal defense and dissertation defense exercises. The supervision process must be carefully documented with copies of final draft documents and reviewer comments and directives etc., deposited with the ODP.

5.0       Evaluations and Milestones

5.1       Key Evaluations

The ODP employs a diverse range of evaluation tools to appropriately support the academic progress of the students. These are:

  1. Annual Individual Study Plan Review – student study plans developed in collaboration with the academic adviser are reviewed and approved annually.
  1. Assessment of Academic Supervisor - essentially a student-faculty interaction log documenting the advice and/or direction provided by the Principal Supervisor.
  1. In-Semester Assessments - in-class assessments i.e. continuous assessment will account for 60% of each semester’s grade. These assessments will include journal article reviews, case analysis, presentations, simulation exercises and long essay projects.
  1. End of semester examinations/term papers – over the first two years of the doctoral programme, students will be required to take a series of written examinations or the completion of term papers. A pass grade of “C” or better is required for a student to remain in good standing to continue with the programme. However, a student who receives two (2) ‘C’ grades may be withdrawn from the programme. The end of Semester written examinations/term papers will normally account for 40% of the overall course grade.
  1. Teaching Resource Skills Assessment – Two (2) Pedagogical & Andragogical Seminars, which include the development of teaching cases and teaching and learning techniques, will be offered during Year Three, Semester One and Year Three, Semester Two. They are intended to introduce the student to research and learning under the supervision of a faculty member. A required outcome of the former, is a teaching case for which the instructor assigns a grade at the end of the semester. Thereafter, students are required to collaborate with a faculty member of their choice, to make improvements to the teaching case and submit to a peer-reviewed journal or conference proceedings for publication.
  1. Dissertation - under the guidance of the principal supervisor, the student is required to produce and submit to the faculty, an original research study of between 80,000 and 150,000 words double spaced. The original research is evaluated both internally and externally to establish the extent to which it makes a significant contribution to the body of knowledge.
  1. Dissertation Submission Process - students are required to follow the following protocol in submitting the completed dissertation which has been successfully defended:
  1. The student submits one (1) hard copy and a softcopy of the post defense final revised dissertation, including the title page that lists the names of the dissertation committee members, to the Principal Supervisor
  1. The Principal Supervisor certifies that any revisions recommended during the dissertation defense has been completed by the student and that the formatting and presentation meets university guidelines
  1. The Principal Supervisor informs the other two (2) committee members that the student has fully complied with all the reviewer comments if any and requests that they complete the ‘Dissertation Completion Form’ and sign the “title’ page of the dissertation
  1. The ODP seeks confirmation from both the Finance Office and the academic faculty of the student that the student has no outstanding obligations to the university
  1. Both the hard and soft copies as submitted by the student including the now signed title page is forwarded to the ODP
  1. The ODP notifies the student to pay the appropriate dissertation fee for publishing, copyrighting, printing and binding to the Finance Office and submit proof of payment to the ODP
  1. Subject to confirmation from both the Finance Office and the academic faculty of the student that all obligations to the university have been met, the ODP formally informs the Office of the Registrar that the student has satisfied all requirements for graduation and copies the student, to signify the full completion of the dissertation, meriting the award of the degree of doctor of philosophy.
  • Milestones
  1. Comprehensive Examinations – a theory examination, which is to be taken in Year Two (2), Semester Two (2) by all students. It may be delayed for no more than a year at the request of the student on medical or family grounds. It is essentially an assessment of the adequacy of the student’s mastery of the student’s discipline area. The examination questions will cover a pre-determined and timely communicated set of four (4) discipline-specific courses already taken i.e. Consumer Behaviour or Marketing Strategy and any other three (3) marketing seminars. The examination scripts will be marked by relevant faculty and an overall summary score of 60% or higher will be considered as a “Pass” grade and any mark below that designated as a “Fail” grade. Only one re-take of one or more papers is allowed within one semester of the first attempt, for students who fail at the first attempt. A second “Fail” grade may result in an automatic withdrawal of the student from the programme.
  1. Dissertation Proposal Defense – as a research proposal defense, it is directly linked to DCPC 725 – Dissertation Proposal Design course to be taken in Year Two (2), Semester One (1). The course enables the candidate to understand the process of effective research proposal design. It is expected that at the end of Year Three (3), Semester One (1), the student shall defend the research proposal in an open academic forum. The Principal Supervisor decides how the defense will be conducted however the standard protocol is as follows:
  1. Principal Supervisor welcomes and introduces the committee members, other faculty and the student
  1. Student is invited by the Principal Supervisor to present his/her work
  • At the end of the presentation, individual committee members ask questions followed by other faculty and general public present
  1. Student is excused while the committee deliberates on their decision
  1. On conclusion of their deliberations, the student is invited back and the committee’s decision announced to him/her by the Principal Supervisor. The decision may be one (1) of the following:
    1. he/she has obtained a ‘Pass’ grade and may advance to the dissertation stage and that no additional revisions are required Students who obtain a ‘Pass’ grade, are then designated as ‘Doctoral Candidates’ or ‘All but dissertation’ (ABD) status;
  1. subject to some additional changes required, he/she has obtained a ‘Pass’ grade and may advance to the dissertation stage and designated as a ‘Doctoral Candidate’ or as being of ‘All but dissertation’ (ABD) status; or
  1. he/she has not obtained a ‘Pass’ grade and is thus required to revise, re-submit and re-present. Only one attempt at defending a revised dissertation proposal is allowed and must be completed within one semester of the first attempt. A second “Fail” grade may result in an automatic withdrawal of the student from the programme.
  1. Dissertation - under the guidance of the principal supervisor, the student is required to produce and submit to the faculty, an original research study of between 80,000 and 150,000 words double spaced. The original research is evaluated both internally and externally to establish the extent to which it makes a significant contribution to the body of knowledge.
  1. Final Dissertation Defense – Upon the completion of the dissertation review, the candidate shall be scheduled by the relevant faculty in collaboration with the ODP, to publicly present and defend his/her work. The process for defending the dissertation is as follows:
  1. The student submits a final draft write-up to the Principal Supervisor who then shares it with the two (2) dissertation review members, one of whom shall be external and independent of UPSA.
  1. The two (2) dissertation reviewers are required to provide written feedback through the Principal Supervisor to the student
  1. The student incorporates the suggested comments in revising the write-up after which it is re-submitted to the Principal Supervisor
  1. The Principal Supervisor informs the ODP who then collaborates with the dissertation supervision committee in setting a date, venue and time for the dissertation defense. The date has to be at least two (2) weeks after receipt of final dissertation.
  1. ODP formally invites the university-wide audience to the presentation/defense.
  1. The Principal Supervisor decides how the presentation/defense will be conducted however the standard protocol is similar to 5.2.2 above.
  1. Graduation - a student is considered to have fully met all the requirement for graduation if he/she attains the following:
  1. Completed all coursework
  1. Obtained a ‘Pass’ in the comprehensive examination, dissertation proposal defense and the dissertation defense
  1. Submitted and defended the final approved dissertation
  1. Completed an ‘Application to Graduate Form’ available at the ODP, paid a one-time all-inclusive appropriate fee (i.e. fee for graduation filing and graduation robes) to the Finance Office and attached proof of payment with the submitted application.

Where a student fails to complete all requirements in a timely manner for graduation, a new application must be completed for the year and semester that the degree is to be awarded.

  1. Dissertation Submission Process - students are required to follow the following protocol in submitting the completed dissertation which has been successfully defended:
    1. The student submits one (1) hard copy and a softcopy of the post defense final revised dissertation, including the title page that lists the names of the dissertation committee members, to the Principal Supervisor
    2. The Principal Supervisor certifies that any revisions recommended during the dissertation defense has been completed by the student and that the formatting and presentation meets university guidelines
    3. The Principal Supervisor informs the other two (2) committee members that the student has fully complied with all the reviewer comments if any and requests that they complete the ‘Dissertation Completion Form’ and sign the “title’ page of the dissertation
    4. The ODP seeks confirmation from both the Finance Office and the academic faculty of the student that the student has no outstanding obligations to the university
    5. Both the hard and soft copies as submitted by the student including the now signed title page is forwarded to the ODP
    6. The ODP notifies the student to pay the appropriate dissertation fee for publishing, copyrighting, printing and binding to the Finance Office and submit proof of payment to the ODP
    7. Subject to confirmation from both the Finance Office and the academic faculty of the student that all obligations to the university have been met, the ODP formally informs the Office of the Registrar that the student has satisfied all requirements for graduation and copies the student, to signify the full completion of the dissertation, meriting the award of the degree of doctor of philosophy.

6.0       Leave of Absence

Prior to temporarily exiting the programme, a student must complete a ‘Leave of Absence Form’ to formally apply to the ODP for a leave of absence on family, medical or some other justifiable grounds. In consultation with the Dean of the student’s academic faculty and the Dissertation Committee where appropriate, a period of leave of absence up to one (1) year, may be granted. Certainty of approval is highly enhanced when the applicant clearly documents an Interim Progress Management Plan which illustrates how the applicant intends to seamlessly return to continue with the programme.  When an approval is granted, the 6-Year duration limit is suspended until the end of the approved duration of the leave of absence.

7.0       Duration Limits

Enrolled full time students have a maximum of six (6) years to complete the doctoral programme, after which the student who has not completed the dissertation, is automatically dismissed from the programme.

A student who does not complete the program within the stipulated 6-Year Limit duration may request for an extension. The protocol for applying for an extension is as follows:

  1. The student submits to the ODP, a written request accompanied by supporting documentation including a proposed plan of study
  1. The ODP organizes a meeting in consultation with the Dissertation Committee members and the Dean of the academic faculty of the student to consider the request.
  1. The decision may be a denial which implies an automatic dismissal from the programme. Where the request is approved, the extension may not exceed one (1) year.
  1. The ODP communicates the decision in writing, to the student.

8.0       Withdrawal from the Programme

Withdrawal from the Doctoral programme implies a student-initiated unwillingness or inability to meet specific university requirements. Enrolled students are allowed to withdraw from a programme at the end of any semester by completing a ‘Course Withdrawal Form’ at the ODP. Administratively, failure to meet the terms of a ‘Provisional Admission’ is treated as a withdrawal from the programme requirements. Students who withdraw from the programme may, within two (2) years, submit a new application to seek re-admission.

9.0       Academic Dismissal

Academic dismissal from the program implies that the student will not be allowed to continue with the program and he/she ceases to be a student at the university. Some of the circumstances under which a student might be academically dismissed from the programme are as follows:

  1. Exceeding the 6-Year duration limitation for completing the programme and/or exhausting all approved extensions
  1. An annual assessment of the student’s academic faculty which determines the student to be making unsatisfactory progress. Instances that constitute ‘unsatisfactory progress’ includes the following:
  1. When the Principal Supervisor provides evidence to the effect that:
  1. The student has consistently failed to respond to official communication without any reason being given
  1. The student has failed to complete in a timely manner work assigned and/or recommended without any reason being given
  • The student has failed to make progress in accordance with the agreed Individual Study Plan and timeline.

On the Principal Supervisor reporting in writing to the ODP that any of the above listed conditions applies to a particular student, the ODP issues a formal warning in writing, specifying the improvements expected within a specific time frame designated as a probationary period. The student’s failure to exhibit the improvements suggested by the end of the probationary period, triggers the issuance of a formal letter of dismissal from the programme by the ODP.

  1. When the ODP or the student’s academic faculty determines that:
  1. The student has consistently failed without reason to participate in required professional development activities and ignored to respond to at least two formal written warnings
  1. The student has failed to sit for the comprehensive examination without official approval, failed to obtain the allowed one-time official extension, obtained a ‘Fail’ grade after the approval of the one-time extension, obtained a ‘Fail’ grade in the approved one-time re-sit examination and/or failed to take the approved one-time re-sit examination, where so required
  • The student has failed to submit a dissertation research proposal without official approval, failed to obtain the allowed one-time official extension, obtained a ‘Fail’ grade after the approval of the one-time extension, obtained a ‘Fail’ grade in an approved one-time re-submission of a dissertation proposal and/or failed to take advantage of the one-time re-submit to ODP, where so required
  1. The student has failed to participate in the dissertation defense without official approval, failed to obtain the allowed one-time official extension, obtained a ‘Fail’ grade after the approval of the one-time extension, obtained a ‘Fail’ grade in an approved one-time re-submission of a dissertation proposal and/or failed to take advantage of the one-time re-submit to ODP, where so required
  1. The student has failed to submit the dissertation without official approval, failed to obtain the allowed one-time official extension, obtained a ‘Fail’ grade after the approval of the one-time extension, obtained a ‘Fail’ grade in an approved one-time re-submission of a dissertation proposal and/or failed to take advantage of the one-time re-submit to ODP, where so required
  1. Received more than two ‘C’ grades in the coursework and a subsequent denial of an appeal, if any
  1. Engaging in egregious violations of the student code of conduct e.g.:
  1. Making false claims in an application to the university
  1. Academic dishonesty
  1. Non-compliance with research ethics and integrity
  1. Sexual misconduct
  1. Discrimination
  1. Unlawful Grade Change

A student who is academically dismissed, may appeal to the Pro Vice Chancellor within fourteen (14) days of the formal notification of academic dismissal by the ODP. The decision of the Vice Chancellor is final.

 

10.0     Continuous Enrollment

Unless formally granted a leave of absence, students enrolled in the Doctoral programme are continuously enrolled in dissertation guidance from Year Two (2), Semester Two (2) until the completion and defense of the final dissertation Proposal.

 

11.0     Other University Regulations and Procedures

Students enrolled in the programme are subject to the university’s rules and regulations as stated in the university catalog and other documents on:

  1. Academic Dishonesty
  2. Appeal and Grievance procedure
  3. Research Ethics and Integrity
  4. Sexual Misconduct
  5. Discrimination
  6. Grade Change

 

 

 

ACADEMIC PROGRAMMES
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