Higher Degrees by Research Candidature - Procedures

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Higher Degrees by Research Candidature - Procedures

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Approval authority
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation)
Responsible officer
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation)
Designated officer
Director, Office of Research
First approved
29 July 2014
Last amended
16 March 2016
Effective start date
16 March 2016
Review date
1 September 2019
Status
Active
Related documents
Higher Degrees by Research - Academic Policy
Higher Degrees by Research Supervision - Procedures
Higher Degrees by Research Thesis Submission and Examination - Procedures
Superseded documents
Higher Degrees by Research - Procedures
Related legislation / standards
Higher Education Support Act 2003
Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research (2007)
Australian Qualifications Framework

Definitions

Please refer to the University’s Glossary of Terms for policies and procedures. Terms and definitions identified below are specific to these procedures and are critical to its effectiveness:

Candidate means a person admitted to a Higher Degree Research course at the University.

Creative work means an original product designed and created or constructed by a candidate during candidature using one or more creative arts or performing arts; or literary or musical; or photographic or fine arts; or graphics or media techniques.

Exegesis means a scholarly, critical commentary of the research informing the work or collection of works, resulting from research and work undertaken during candidature and produced during candidature. The exegesis also includes an explanatory statement on how the work was developed.

Significant research component means a substantial research project undertaken with appropriate research methodology.

Thesis means an original substantial piece of scholarly writing resulting from research undertaken by a candidate and produced during candidature to meet the requirements of the degree.

1. Purpose of procedures

These procedures provide the framework for HDR candidature at the University. They should be read in conjunction with the Higher Degrees by Research - Academic Policy, and the following associated procedures and guidelines:

  • Higher Degrees by Research Supervision – Procedures
  • Higher Degrees by Research Thesis Submission and Examination Procedures
  • Higher Degrees by Research Admission and Enrolment – Guidelines
  • Higher Degrees by Research Confirmation of Candidature – Guidelines
  • Higher Degrees by Research Thesis Presentation Guidelines
  • Higher Degrees by Research Thesis Review Guidelines
  • Higher Degrees by Research Examiners Guidelines

2. Advice to prospective candidates

Responsibility for promoting research training opportunities at the University is distributed broadly across the Office of Research, the Office of Marketing and Communications, USC International, Faculties, Schools, Research Centres, research groups and individual researchers.

All enquiries from prospective candidates should be dealt with promptly and professionally. Any initial HDR enquiry received by Faculty, School, Research Centre or individual researcher must be referred to the Office of Research. The Office of Research maintains records of enquiries from prospective candidates.

Prior to the lodgement of an admission application, all written communication (including email) between any University staff member and a prospective candidate must be copied to the Office of Research and the relevant Associate Dean (Research) or nominee.

3. Entry requirements

This section should be read in conjunction with the ‘Higher Degrees by Research Admission and Enrolment – Guidelines’.

3.1 Doctoral degrees

To be eligible for admission to a doctoral degree, an applicant shall hold:

(a) a Bachelor Honours degree (AQF Level 8) with a significant research component with a minimum of Class IIA from a recognised higher education institution; or

(b) a Masters degree (AQF Level 9) with a significant research component equivalent to Honours degree research component from a recognised higher education institution; or

(c) a Bachelor degree (AQF Level 7) from a recognised higher education institution, and shall have achieved by subsequent work and study a standard equivalent to at least Class IIA Honours as may be approved by the Research Degrees Committee; or

(d) a record of research or professional qualifications deemed by the Research Degrees Committee to be of a standard equivalent to at least Bachelors Honours degree Class IIA and providing a suitable background for the doctoral research the candidate is proposing to undertake.

In addition to this, an applicant for admission to the Doctor of Creative Arts shall:

(e) provide a portfolio containing evidence of the applicant’s own original work which is assessed by the Associate Dean (Research) or nominee of the Faculty of Arts and Business, or nominee, as providing evidence of very high levels of creativity, knowledge and skill in one or more creative areas.

3.2 Research master degrees

To be eligible for admission to a research master degree, an applicant shall hold:

(a) a Bachelor degree (AQF Level 7) with a Grade Point Average of 5.0 or higher on a seven point scale from a recognised higher education institution; or

(b) a Bachelor Honours degree (AQF Level 8) Class IIB from a recognised higher education institution; or

(c) a record of qualifications and/or professional research experience deemed to be equivalent to the standard of (a) or (b).

The prior study must be in an area of study relevant to the discipline area of the Master degree. If the prior study has not included an appropriate preparation in research methodology, the candidate will be required to undertake an appropriate research methodology course, as specified by the relevant Associate Dean (Research) or nominee, as part of their candidature.

In addition to the above general qualifications for admission, the admission requirements for a specific Master degree may include additional requirements, such as a Bachelor degree in the relevant discipline, professional registration, a specified number of years of professional practice, or other requirements indicative of a suitable preparation to undertake a research program at Master level. Admission requirements for specific HDRs are specified in the Program Summary, available on the University website.

3.3 English language proficiency requirements

Proficiency in the English language is required for entry to all programs and courses and any international or domestic applicant from a non-English speaking background must satisfy the University’s standard and program specific English language requirements.

The University’s standard and program specific English language requirements are approved by the Senior Deputy Vice Chancellor on the recommendation of the relevant Executive Dean and the Pro Vice Chancellor (International and Quality). These must be readily available for all students and displayed on the University web site.

Any changes to the University’s standard or program specific English language requirements must allow a sufficient lead time for the entry of students and must be approved through the appropriate channels.

Test scores must be not more than two years old at the time of application. If the applicant has undertaken more than one test, then only the most recent test result will be considered.

3.4 Exceptional Cases and Special Offers

Provision is made to admit individual persons who may not meet the standard entry requirements but, on the basis of other considerations, are persons who have a high probability of success in research and whose admission is considered to bring benefits to both the University and the applicant. Consideration of exceptional cases must take into account equity considerations in relation to all other applicants.

Applications for entry under this category require the support of the relevant Executive Dean and the approval of the Research Degrees Committee.

4. Application for admission

4.1 An applicant for admission must complete and submit an approved application form and provide documentation required to support the application, including but not restricted to certified copies of academic transcripts and testamurs, a brief outline of the intended area of research (this must be provided electronically to facilitate application of text matching software), and, where relevant, a portfolio of peer-reviewed or refereed research publications or other research works, or a portfolio of original creative works. Relevant Form: Application for Admission to Higher Degree by Research.

4.2 Applications for admission to candidature are considered by the relevant Faculty of enrolment and the Research Degrees Committee. The decision to offer candidature to an applicant shall be based on:

(a) the applicant meeting the requirements for admission; and

(b) the quality and feasibility of the applicant’s proposed program of research, study or creative work in terms of the HDR to which the applicant seeks admission; and

(c) the extent to which the applicant has the background knowledge and skills to pursue the proposed program of research, study or creative work; and

(d) the coherence of the proposed research program with the University’s designated areas of research as specified in the University’s Build Research Productivity and Output Plan; and

(e) the recommendation of the relevant proposed Principal Supervisor and Associate Dean (Research) or nominee concerning the application; and

(f) the availability of appropriate supervision, resources and facilities to support the proposed program of research, study or creative work.

An applicant previously enrolled in an HDR on the same or a similar topic at this or another institution who has failed the examination for the degree will not normally be admitted as a candidate.

4.3 The Research Degrees Committee is the authority to make an offer of admission to an applicant. The offer of admission shall specify the School or Faculty in which the candidature is to be undertaken, the supervision arrangements, whether the candidature is full-time or part-time, fee arrangements and any requirements for additional study or supporting activities. Where the candidature is to be undertaken wholly or partly at a location away from the University, the approved arrangements are specified in conjunction with the admission offer, including any requirement for work undertaken on campus.

4.4 Applicants are admitted as probationary candidates. An applicant for entry may be admitted direct to, and enrolled in, confirmed candidature, if the Research Degrees Committee is satisfied that:

(a) at the time of, or immediately prior to, applying for entry, the applicant was enrolled as a candidate for a HDR at this or another approved higher education institution; and

(b) the research to be undertaken towards the degree is substantially the same as that undertaken by the applicant towards the other HDR; and

(c) the applicant has not submitted for examination a thesis or dissertation based on the research undertaken by the applicant towards the other HDR; and

(d) the applicant has provided evidence of having made sufficient progress in the other HDR to warrant entry to confirmed candidature.

4.5 An offer of candidature is valid for one year from the date of offer, after which time the offer will lapse. An applicant may request to defer their commencement date for up to one year from the date of offer, no later than one month before the offer will lapse (eleven months after the date of offer).

4.6 Prior research work undertaken as a candidate in a research higher degree undertaken at this or another recognised institution may be recognised towards the Doctoral degree, provided that it has not been recognised for another award. Recognition of work done prior to admission normally results in a change in the maximum thesis submission date. For students transferring between Australian institutions, the provisions of the Research Training Scheme (RTS) apply.

4.7 The University reserves the right to withdraw an offer of admission to candidature and cancel an enrolment of any person where an offer was made on the basis of incomplete or inaccurate or fraudulent information supplied by the applicant or a certifying authority.

4.8 The Research Degrees Committee may decline to accept an application for admission from an applicant. All decisions regarding applications for admission are made in consultation with the relevant Associate Dean (Research) or nominee. Applicants or supervisors who wish to appeal a decision regarding admission to a HDR may do so in writing to the Director – Office of Research in accordance with the Student Complaints and Appeals - Governing Policy.

4.9 The University aims to respond to applications within six weeks. Incomplete applications may take longer while the missing information is obtained from the applicant or during peak periods.

5. Response to offers

5.1 An applicant receiving an offer of candidature must accept the offer and complete such enrolment procedures as may be required. Applicants accept the offer by completing the ‘Acceptance of Offer Form’ and returning it to the Office of Research (or to USC International for international applicants). Relevant Form: Acceptance of Offer form.

5.2 Acceptance is confirmed once the student has paid the relevant fee for the first semester.

5.3 The Office of Research enrols the student as a probationary candidate from the date indicated on the Acceptance of Offer Form, and enrols the student in any coursework components stipulated as a requirement of their program or as a specific condition of candidature. The Office of Research sends ‘Advice of Enrolment in a HDR’ to the candidate, supervisors and relevant Associate Dean (Research) or nominee. This includes advice of candidature commencement date.

5.4 If the candidate has been awarded a scholarship which includes a stipend, the Office of Research liaises with the applicant on scholarship specific requirements.

5.5 If an applicant rejects the offer of admission, or allows the admission offer to lapse, at the request of the applicant, the offer may be reactivated with the agreement of the Associate Dean (Research) or nominee.

5.6 Applicants may request a deferment of the candidature stat date, although note:

For an international applicant, the start date may only be deferred by up to one month. For a longer deferment, the University is required to issue new documentation to the candidate.

For all applicants, if the candidate requests a deferment of the start date past the next census date or into a new semester, the application for admission must be reviewed by the faculty and Research Degrees Committee to allow appropriate reconsideration of the availability of resources required for the research project (including the availability of supervisors).

6. Right to cancel programs and to withdraw offers

6.1 The University reserves the right to cancel the offering of a program in exceptional circumstances. This decision is made by the Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor, on the advice of the relevant Research Degrees Committee. Where possible this decision should be taken prior to any offers being made into the program and as a minimum at least four weeks before the commencement of the program for that teaching period. Any student impacted by this decision should be contacted by the University and advised regarding their options.

6.2 The Research Degrees Committee reserves the right to withdraw an offer where an offer of place was incorrectly made. Any such decision should take into account equity principles and the amount of time that has elapsed between the admission of the student and the identification of this error.

7. Fees

7.1 All candidates must pay the Student Services and Amenities Fee. Information about this fee, including payment options, is provided on the University website.

7.2 Domestic candidates (Australian citizens, New Zealand citizens and Australian permanent residents) are eligible for a RTS place to support tuition fee liability. The Higher Education Support Act 2003 includes Research Training Scheme Conditions of Grant, such as student eligibility criteria. When RTS entitlement is exhausted, domestic candidates pay full tuition fees in accordance with the standard tuition fee schedule, processes and due dates. Information about domestic tuition fees, including payment options, is provided on the University website. Student Services and Engagement (Student Central) provides advice to domestic candidates about their tuition fee liability, including payment options.

7.3 International candidates (candidates other than domestic candidates) pay tuition fees in accordance with standard international tuition fee schedule, processes and due dates. Information about international tuition fees is provided on the University website. USC International provides advice to international candidates about their tuition fee liability, including payment options.

7.4 The Office of Research will provide advice to candidates about fee liability implications throughout candidature as appropriate (e.g. extension requests, change from full-time to part-time, leave of absence). Candidates are responsible for ensuring that they understand their fee liability at all times during candidature.

8. Candidate support

8.1 HDR candidates are provided with information necessary to support their candidature, including hard copies of relevant research and academic policies. Supervisors, the Associate Dean (Research) or nominee and the

Office of Research each have obligations in this area. Commencing candidates are provided with face-to-face, print and HDR induction material. In addition, international students commencing candidature are provided with an International Student Orientation Pack.

8.2 Provision of resources and services are set out in the ‘Statement of Resources and Services for HDR Candidates. In addition, each faculty provides candidates with a statement of support for candidates enrolled within the faculty.

8.3 On-campus HDR Study Centres provide candidates with a focal point for interaction and communication, convenient connection with the Office of Research, access to research training programs, and access to a comfortable and efficient working space. Asset Management Servicesmanages the HDR Study Centres in consultation with the Office of Research and the Faculties. The Office of Research coordinates the allocation of desks within the HDR Study Centres and the Research Degrees Committee acts as a reference group, providing advice on any aspect of the HDR Study Centres.

The Office of Research and Asset Management Services ensures all full-time candidates who spend the equivalent of a standard working week on campus, and who so desire, are accommodated in a HDR Study Centre (subject to availability of space). Part-time candidates have access to hot desk work spaces. Relevant form: HDR Study Space Request form.

8.4 The Office of Research manages a program of research training activities for candidates, supervisors and researchers. These programs are open to all researchers within the University.

8.5 Student Wellbeing offer support to students including (but not limited to) confidential counselling, academic services and disability services.

9. Period of candidature

9.1 A candidate is required to maintain a current enrolment throughout their candidature, completing re-enrolment procedures as required, up to the time at which they lodge their thesis or exegesis and creative work for examination, or terminate their candidature.

9.2 A candidate enrolled in an HDR may not undertake concurrent study in any program at this or other higher education institution without the permission of the relevant Associate Dean (Research) or nominee.

9.3 The maximum period of probationary candidature, and the minimum and maximum duration of total candidature, calculated from the date of initial enrolment to the date of completion of program requirements (including revisions to the thesis or exegesis and creative work after external examination), is:

Full-time candidature Part-time candidature
Doctoral degrees - Maximum duration of probationary candidature and minimum total duration one and a half years (78 weeks) - Maximum total duration four years (208 weeks) - Maximum duration of probationary candidature and minimum total duration three years (156 weeks) - Maximum total duration eight years
(416 weeks)
Research Masters degrees - Maximum duration of probationary candidature and minimum total duration one year (52 weeks) - Maximum total duration two years (104 weeks) - Maximum duration of probationary candidature and minimum total duration two years (104 weeks) - Maximum total duration four years (208 weeks)

9.4 The minimum and maximum submission dates for the thesis or exegesis and creative work are calculated according to these durations. If a candidate changes between full-time and part-time candidature, the minimum and maximum submission dates are adjusted pro rata. The Office of Research provides advice to candidates about implications on changes to candidature on fee liability. If a candidate is given credit for work undertaken prior to admission, the minimum and maximum submission dates are adjusted in accordance with the provisions of the RTS.

9.5 In exceptional circumstances, a candidate may be given permission by the Research Degrees Committee to submit their thesis or exegesis and creative work prior to the minimum submission date.

9.6 A candidate is enrolled as a full-time or part-time candidate in accordance with the initial offer of candidature. Changes between full-time and part-time candidature affect the calculation of the duration of candidature as the minimum and maximum submission dates are adjusted pro rata. The Office of Research provides advice to candidates about implications on changes to candidature on fee liability. The relevant Associate Dean (Research) or nominee is the authority for approval for changes between part-time and full-time enrolment. Relevant Form: Research Plan.

9.7 When the candidature is full-time, it is expected that only a limited amount of time will be available for undertaking paid employment. As a general guide, 18 hours of paid employment per week should be the limit. If the student holds a scholarship, the limitation on paid employment may be prescribed in the relevant scholarship conditions booklet.

9.8 On application by the candidate and with the support of the Principal Supervisor, the Research Degrees Committee may approve an extension to candidature. Employment commitments will not be accepted as a reason for extension to candidature. Extension beyond the maximum duration of probationary candidature will not be approved as candidates are not permitted to continue enrolment as a probationary candidate beyond the maximum probationary candidature period. Any extension beyond the maximum duration of confirmed candidature requires the approval of the Research Degrees Committee and will incur further fee liability (including to domestic students who were on a RTS supported place). The Research Degrees Committee may advise the candidate of the conditions under which an application for readmission to candidature may be considered. Relevant form: Research Plan.

International students must ensure that their visa conditions allow an extension to candidature and may not extend candidature beyond the CRICOS registered duration of their program. International students should seek advice from the International Student Services Coordinator before applying for an extension. Applications for extension to candidature from international students are forwarded to the International Student Services Coordinator for advice regarding the student’s visa status before the extension can be approved by the Research Degrees Committee.

9.9 Periods of approved leave are not counted for the purposes of determining the period of probationary enrolment and the minimum and maximum periods of candidature. A candidate may not undertake research, study or creative work for the degree during any period of approved leave from candidature. A candidate may apply to the relevant Associate Dean (Research) or nominee for leave of absence from candidature. In considering an application for leave of absence, the Associate Dean (Research) or nominee may take into consideration: the extent to which the candidate had made progress in candidature prior to submitting the application for leave; the reasons given by the candidate for seeking the leave and any recommendation from the candidate's Principal Supervisor. The Office of Research provides advice to candidates about implications of leave of absence on fee liability. USC International provides advice to international candidates about implications of leave of absence on their student visa.

Leave of absence is not normally granted for more than 12 months of full-time candidature (or part-time equivalent). Leave of absence is not normally granted during the first six months of full-time candidature (or part-time equivalent). Retrospective applications for leave of absence are not normally approved. Relevant Form: Research Plan.

(a) Sick leave A candidate who submits an acceptable medical certificate for a period of illness in excess of two weeks may apply to have the period recognised as a temporary cessation of candidature. Applications for sick leave must be made within two weeks of the return from sick leave.
(b) Parental leave The Research Degrees Committee may approve a candidate’s application for maternity, paternity or adoption leave, consistent with the University’s policy on such leave for University staff.

10. Research Plan

10.1 A candidate’s HDR program will be planned in consultation with their supervisors within the first two months of candidature, and will be stored on the candidate’s student file. The detailed plan will include:

(a) conditions of candidature provided in the offer documentation

(b) participation in relevant research training workshops, modules and seminars

(c) plans to publish research in appropriate publications including agreements regarding authorship and publication during and after candidature

(d) candidature milestones including revised due dates within policy, as appropriate for the individual research project

(e) research supervision agreement (i.e. meeting schedule, the role of each member of the supervision panel including a percentage allocation of supervision for the candidate and plans for the management of research data and materials)

(f) planning for expenditure to support the research activities using the relevant faculty HDR budget guidelines and templates

Relevant Form: Research Plan.

10.2 The Research Plan, including the budget component, should be a dynamic document, and must be thoroughly reviewed (and revised as required) by the Candidate, supervisors and the Associate Dean (Research) or nominee at Confirmation of Candidature, at each Progress Review and when requesting any changes to candidature such as change of study mode, extension requests, leave of absence, change of program, change of topic or thesis title and change to supervision.

11. Progress Planning and Review

11.1 The progress of all domestic candidates will be monitored annually (due on the last business day in April each year). In accordance with the Education Services for Overseas Students (ESOS) requirements, international candidates must report on their progress every six months (April and October each year). All domestic candidates will be invited to submit an additional non-compulsory report due at the end of October each year. The candidate will submit a Progress Planning and Review report to the Office of Research for assessment by the faculty. Relevant Form: HDR Progress Planning and Review form.

11.2 For the purpose of assessing a candidate's progress, the Principal Supervisor or the Associate Dean (Research) or nominee may submit reviews on the candidate's progress to the Research Degrees Committee at any time.

11.3 In reviewing a candidate’s progress, the candidate, their Principal Supervisor and the relevant Associate Dean (Research) or nominee will:

(a) review progress made towards the goals set in the Research Plan and revise the Research Plan and associated faculty budget as required to set new goals for the upcoming reporting period

(b) discuss any gaps in the candidate’s research skills or knowledge and identify any enrolment/registration for appropriate training

(c) consider whether the candidate is on track for their next candidature milestone (e.g. confirmation of candidature or thesis submission) within the maximum probationary or confirmed candidature duration. This step involves planning for an extension to candidature if required, and ensuring that candidates are aware of the tuition fee liability for additional periods of enrolment

(d) for postgraduate research scholarship recipients, consideration as to whether extension to funding is available

(e) meet to discuss the candidate’s progress in an open and supportive setting, if requested by the candidate, Principal Supervisor and/or Associate Dean (Research) or nominee.

11.4 If a candidate fails to lodge a Progress Planning and Review report without acceptable explanation, within 10 weeks of the due date for that report, or if the reports from the candidate and/or Principal Supervisor and any other associated evidence indicate unsatisfactory progress, the Research Degrees Committee may decide that the candidate’s progress is unsatisfactory and inform the candidate and the Principal Supervisor accordingly.

Where a candidate’s progress is unsatisfactory, the Research Degrees Committee will:

(a) require the candidate to submit a follow up report in three months’ time; and/or

(b) place other conditions on continuation of the candidature; or

(c) ask the candidate to show cause why the candidature should not be terminated (refer to section 16 of these procedures).

11.6 Where a candidate is assessed by the Research Degrees Committee as having made unsatisfactory progress over two consecutive reporting periods within a single year (April and the October follow-up report), or if a candidate has not complied with any condition for continuation of candidature imposed by the Research Degrees Committee during previous consideration of progress reports on the candidature, the candidate shall be asked to show cause why the candidature should not be terminated. In compliance with the Higher Education Support Act 2003, RTS entitlements will be terminated if a candidate fails to maintain satisfactory progress. Other scholarship support may also be suspended or terminated in compliance with the relevant scholarship conditions booklet. The Office of Research will provide candidates with advice about implications of unsatisfactory progress on fee liability.

12. Confirmation of candidature

This section should be read in conjunction with the ‘Higher Degrees by Research Confirmation of Candidature – Guidelines.

12.1 A candidate's probationary candidature will commence from the date on which the candidate is first enrolled as a probationary candidate.

12.2 Principal Supervisors are required to apply text matching software to the candidate’s research proposal prior to submission for confirmation of candidature to assist with avoidance of plagiarism.

12.3 A probationary candidate must apply for confirmation within the following timeframe:

Full-time Part-time Maximum probationary candidature
Doctoral candidates 6-12 months into candidature 12-24 months into candidature 18 months full-time 36 months part-time
Master candidates 6-9 months into candidature 12-18 months into candidature 12 months full-time 24 months part-time

With the approval of the Principal Supervisor, a candidate may apply for confirmation ahead of the specified time period.

12.4 To apply for confirmation of candidature, the candidate must:

(a) prepare the research proposal; and

(b) revise the Research Plan and associated faculty budget for discussion with the confirmation review panel

(c) present the research in an appropriate format at the discretion of the Associate Dean (Research) or nominee; and

(d) submit (a) and (b) to the Office of Research with the relevant form: Application for Progression to Confirmed Candidature on or before the due date.

12.5 The research proposal includes: the proposed descriptive title for the thesis; an explication of the candidate's research issues or problems or questions or hypotheses; in the case of a candidate for the Doctor of Creative Arts, an outline of the proposed creative work(s); a comprehensive literature review; details of the candidate's proposed research methodology or methodologies; proposed timelines for completion of various stages of the research, creative works, and thesis including, where appropriate, any manuscripts to be submitted for publication and any variations from discipline specific Higher Degree by Research Thesis Presentation - Guidelines.

12.6 The research proposal and the research presentation are assessed by the Principal Supervisor, Co-Supervisors, the Associate Dean (Research) or nominee, and one or more independent assessors appointed by the Associate Dean (Research) or nominee. The Associate Dean (Research) or nominee may provide feedback to the candidate on their research proposal and will provide feedback on the revised Research Plan as part of the confirmation process. The Associate Dean (Research) or nominee will forward the candidate’s application for confirmation of candidature to the Research Degrees Committee with a recommendation and supporting reasons. The Research Degrees Committee will assess the candidate's application for confirmation of candidature taking account of the recommendation of the Associate Dean (Research) or nominee and will determine the outcome as one of the following options and advise the candidate accordingly:

(a) Confirm candidature The candidature is confirmed, with the supervision arrangements confirmed and the thesis title approved.
(b) Minor corrections The candidature is confirmed, with the supervision arrangements confirmed and the thesis title approved subject to the completion of the required minor amendment being made by the candidate to the satisfaction of the Principal Supervisor and Faculty Associate Dean (Research) or nominee. Candidates are normally allowed up to one month full-time to make the required corrections.
(c) Further work The candidate is required to continue enrolment as a probationary candidate for a specified period of time within the candidate’s maximum period of probationary candidature (normally up to two months full-time) to revise the research proposal (and where applicable, to undertake further research work) in accordance with the detailed feedback provided by the reviewer. The revisions must be made to the satisfaction of the Principal Supervisor and the Faculty Associate Dean (Research) or nominee.
(d) Revise and re-submit for independent review The candidate is required to continue enrolment as a probationary candidate for a specified period of time within the candidate’s maximum period of probationary candidature (normally up to three months full-time) to revise the research proposal (and where applicable, to undertake further research work) in accordance with the detailed feedback provided by the reviewer. The revisions must be made to the satisfaction of the independent reviewer.
(e) Confirm candidature in an alternate HDR program Where judged to be appropriate, the candidate may be offered the opportunity to be admitted as a confirmed candidate to one of the University’s research Master degrees (probationary Doctoral candidates) or Doctoral degrees (probationary Masters candidates);
(f) Terminate The candidature is terminated.

Before making the decision to terminate, the Research Degrees Committee will give the candidate an opportunity to make representations orally or in writing and will take any representations into account before reaching its decision.

12.7 A candidate will not normally be permitted to continue enrolment as a probationary candidate beyond the maximum probationary candidature period which is:

Full-time Part-time
Doctoral candidates One and a half years into candidature Three years into candidature
Master candidates One year into candidature Two years into candidature

12.8 Candidates who are required to make revisions to their application for progression to confirmed candidature under section 12.6 (b, (c) or (d) must:

(a) revise their research proposal in accordance with feedback provided (if applicable); and

(b) revise the Research Plan in accordance with feedback provided (if applicable); and

(c) submit (a) and (b) to the Office of Research with the relevant form: Revised Application for Progression to Confirmed Candidature on or before the due date (as advised in original advice from the Office of Research).

12.9 A candidate whose candidature is terminated has the right of appeal under the Student Complaints and Appeals - Governing Policy.

13. Candidature at external locations

13.1 A candidate proposing to undertake all or part of their research, study or creative work at a location external to this University must seek the approval of the Associate Dean (Research) or nominee via standard faculty processes. This is normally done as part of the application for admission, but may be done subsequent to admission. On the recommendation of the Principal Supervisor, the relevant Associate Dean (Research) or nominee may approve a candidate’s request to pursue part of their program of research, study or creative work away from the University and will provide advice to the candidate, copied to the Office of Research.

13.2 Where the research, study or creative work requires the resources or facilities of an external organisation, the candidate’s access to such resources or facilities must be documented in written correspondence to the satisfaction of the Research Degrees Committee.

13.3 In approving candidature wholly or partly at an external location, the Associate Dean (Research) or nominee may appoint an Associate Supervisor from the relevant organisation and may specify a minimum period during which the candidate must attend this University.

14. Transfer between Doctoral and Research Master degrees

14.1 On the recommendation of the relevant Associate Dean (Research) or nominee, the Research Degrees Committee may approve an application to convert a confirmed master candidature to a doctoral candidature. The period completed as a master candidate will be deducted from the candidature duration for the purpose of determining the minimum and maximum length of the doctoral candidature. On the recommendation of the Associate Dean (Research) or nominee, the Research Degrees Committee may approve an application to convert a doctoral candidature to candidature in a research master program. The period completed as a doctoral candidate will be deducted from the candidature duration for the purpose of determining the minimum and maximum length of the master candidature. The Office of Research provides advice to candidates about implications of transfer between Doctoral and Research Master degrees on fee liability. Relevant form: Research Plan

14.2 Where a master candidate has not yet progressed to confirmed candidature, the confirmation and upgrade processes can be considered simultaneously. The candidate must present a research proposal for confirmed candidature of the length and standard that would be expected of a doctoral candidate. The candidate includes their request to upgrade on the Application to Progress to Confirmed Candidature form and the application to upgrade is considered as part of the confirmation process. The Research Degrees Committee is the approval authority for this change.

14.3 Where a confirmed master candidate wishes to upgrade to a doctoral degree, they revised their Research Plan and attach an updated research proposal. The Research Degrees Committee is the approval authority for this change.

14.4 Where the candidate is an international student, the letter and Description of Candidature is sent to USC International which will manage the relevant visa requirements for the candidate. USC International will forward the letter, Description of Candidature and Confirmation of Enrolment to the candidate, with a copy to the Office of Research.

14.5 If the decision of the Research Degrees Committee is to not approve the application to upgrade, the Office of Research advises the candidate, with copies to the relevant Faculty Associate Dean (Research) or nominee and Principal Supervisor.

15. Change of research topic and thesis title

15.1 If, following confirmation of candidature, a candidate wishes to change the topic of their research work to any significant extent, the candidate must make application to the Research Degrees Committee through the Principal Supervisor and relevant Associate Dean (Research) or nominee, who must support the application for a change of research topic. In making a recommendation to change the candidate’s research topic, the Associate Dean (Research) or nominee must also recommend whether the candidate is to be returned to probationary status and to undergo a standard or modified process for confirmation of candidature and must recommend to the Research Degrees Committee any adjustment to the maximum thesis submission date. Where the change of research topic has been substantially addressed in conjunction with the initial confirmation process, the Associate Dean (Research) or nominee may recommend that the change of research topic be approved without a change to the candidate’s confirmation status or maximum thesis submission date. The Research Degrees Committee is the approving authority for a change to research topic. Relevant form: Research Plan.

15.2 With the approval of the Principal Supervisor, a candidate may change the title of their thesis from the title approved when their candidature was confirmed. Providing that the change of thesis title is not indicative of a significant change in the research topic, a change of thesis title does not require the approval of the Research Degrees Committee.

16. Withdrawal/Termination of candidature

16.1 A candidate may withdraw from candidature by informing the Office of Research using the appropriate form. The withdrawal will take effect from the date of receipt of such notification. Relevant form: Advice of Withdrawal from HDR Candidature.

16.2 The Research Degrees Committee may terminate candidature if the candidate has:

  • failed to make satisfactory progress, meet any candidature requirements or
  • comply with any other condition imposed by the Research Degrees Committee.

Candidature may be terminated only after a reasonable attempt has been made by the Principal Supervisor and the Associate Dean (Research) or nominee to ensure that the candidate has been: clearly warned of shortcomings in performing the research and/or in meeting candidature requirements; and advised of ways in which such shortcomings might be remedied.

The Research Degrees Committee will provide the candidate with an opportunity to show cause why their candidature may not be terminated.

16.3 A candidate who is invited to show cause as to why their candidature should not be terminated should prepare a written explanation for their unsatisfactory progress and a plan to overcome obstacles to progress via the Research Plan. A response to a request to show cause why candidature should not be terminated could include (but is not limited to):

(a) updated Research Plan with revised goals

(b) statement from supervisors

(c) evidence to support research training undertaken to address any lack of knowledge or research skills (if applicable)

(d) medical certificates (if applicable)

Candidates are encouraged to seek advice from academic skills advisors available via Student Services and Engagement (Student Central), their supervisors and the relevant Associate Dean (Research) or nominee to discuss their situation and to develop their response.


16.4 The Research Degrees Committee considers the representations of the candidate in response to the show cause request and either:

(a) permits the candidate to continue under specified conditions; or

(b) terminates the candidature.

The Doctoral candidate may be offered the opportunity to be admitted to one of the University’s research Master degrees.

16.5 If the candidate fails to respond to the show cause request within the specified timeframe, the Research Degrees Committee will terminate the candidature, and advise the candidate accordingly. A candidate whose candidature is terminated has the right of appeal under the Student Complaints and Appeals - Governing Policy.

17. Standard of academic conduct

Candidates are expected to undertake their program in accordance with the accepted standards of academic conduct, including the Research – Academic Policy. Any form of conduct that is contrary to these standards is academic misconduct and may be penalised under the Student Academic Integrity - Governing Policy, and/or the Research Misconduct – Governing Policy.

18. HDR Publication

18.1 Research publications will be planned throughout candidature, and this will be documented in the candidate’s Research Plan.

18.2 If any component of a candidate’s research has not been published after completion of the HDR, the supervisor(s) may publish the research, provided appropriate authorship is attributed to the candidate subject to a documented agreement to transfer any intellectual property from the candidate to the University. This does not apply in the case of Creative Works, such as literary works, artworks, audio-visual presentations or performance rights. Candidates are encouraged to seek independent legal advice before signing an agreement to assign their intellectual property to the University.

19. Candidate feedback

19.1 Candidates experiencing difficulty with any aspect of their enrolment or program of study should discuss the problems with their Principal Supervisor or a Co-Supervisor in the first instance. Where the issue cannot be resolved at the supervisor level, the matter should be brought to the relevant Associate Dean (Research) or nominee for resolution. Where the relevant Associate Dean (Research) or nominee cannot resolve the issue, the next level of advice and assistance is the Head of the relevant School. Problems that still cannot be resolved should be taken to the Executive Dean for resolution.

19.2 Where candidates do not wish to discuss the matter with their supervisors (e.g. in the event of a breakdown in the supervisory relationship) they should approach the relevant Associate Dean (Research) or nominee directly. Matters that cannot be resolved at the Faculty level may be brought to the attention of the Research Degrees Committee via the Higher Degrees by Research Coordinator.

19.3 A candidate who has a grievance concerning any action or decision of a supervisor, Executive Dean, Associate Dean (Research) or nominee or the Research Degrees Committee may have their grievance dealt with under the Student Complaints and Appeals - Governing Policy.

19.4 Candidates will be invited to provide anonymous feedback each year via the annual HDR Candidate survey.

Appendix 1: HDR Roles and Responsibilities

END

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