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.
Higher degree by research (HDR) means a supervised research program that requires original research in an area.
Reportable research activity means Higher Education Research Data Collection or the Excellence in Research Australia reportable research publications or grant income.
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.
Purpose of procedures
These procedures provide the framework for HDR supervision 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 Degree by Research Candidature – Procedures
- Higher Degree by Research Thesis Submission and Examination – Procedures
- Higher Degree by Research Admission and Enrolment – Guidelines
- Higher Degree by Research Confirmation of Candidature – Guidelines
- Higher Degree by Research Thesis Presentation – Guidelines
- Higher Degree by Research Thesis Review – Guidelines
- Higher Degree by Research Examiners – Guidelines
USC Register of HDR Supervisors
2.1 The aim of HDR supervisor registration is to establish, maintain and continually build upon a standard for quality supervision across the University and to support the ongoing involvement of HDR supervisors in professional development around supervision.
2.2 To be appointed as Principal Supervisor or Co-Supervisor of a HDR candidate in the University, a person must meet the criteria for inclusion in the ‘USC Register of HDR Supervisors’ at the time of appointment as supervisor, and be admitted to the Register prior to commencing supervision of the candidate.
2.3 People who do not meet the supervisor eligibility criteria may participate on supervision panels as Associate Supervisors in addition to at least two registered supervisors.
2.4 The Office of Research will maintain the ‘USC Register of HDR Supervisors’. The Register is published on the USC website.
2.5 For admission to the ‘USC Register of HDR Supervisors’, USC researchers should submit the ‘Application for Admission to the USC Register of HDR Supervisors’ form. Applications submitted will be assessed by the Office of Research and relevant Associate Dean (Research) or nominee, and approved by the Research Degrees Committee. The Office of Research will advise the applicant of approval to the Register, with a copy to the relevant Associate Dean (Research) or nominee.
2.6 The Office of Research will conduct annual audits of the Register to ensure all USC HDR supervisors continue to meet eligibility criteria. Supervisors whose registration lapses will be notified and alternative supervision arrangements made where required, at the discretion of the Research Degrees Committee.
Supervisor eligibility criteria
3.1 The following criteria must be demonstrated for registration as a HDR supervisor at this University:
3.1.1 An academic appointment at the University;
3.1.2 A doctoral qualification (AQF level 10), or demonstrated equivalent research experience as approved by the Research Degrees Committee;
3.1.3 Evidence of a minimum of three reportable research activities in the previous three audited collection years (research income or publications). Supervisors must maintain this minimum level of research activity in order to retain registered status;
3.1.4 Participation in at least one supervision related professional development activity each year. Supervisors must attend the USC HDR Supervisor’s Induction prior to joining their first supervision panel at USC.
3.2 Supervisory experience is recorded in the ‘USC Register of HDR Supervisors’. A supervisor is considered an experienced supervisor if they have previously supervised an HDR candidate to the successful completion of their HDR program at an Australian university. Every supervision panel must include at least one experienced registered USC supervisor.
3.3 Exemptions to supervisor eligibility criteria can only be granted by the Research Degrees Committee. An exemption may be granted where the researcher has not met all of the criteria for inclusion in the Register, but where there is clear evidence of research capability. The Office of Research will maintain a record of granted exemptions.
4.1 All HDR candidates must have a minimum of two supervisors: a Principal Supervisor and a Co-Supervisor.
4.2 Supervision panel matrix requirements:
|Principal Supervisor||Co-Supervisor(s)||Associate Supervisor(s)|
|Description||The primary academic contact for the candidate||An additional academic contact for the candidate.||Supervisors who do not meet the criteria for admission to the USC Register of HDR Supervisors|
|Required||Y||Y (at least 1)||N|
|Must be a registered supervisor on the ‘USC Register of HDR Supervisors’||Y||Y||N|
|Must hold a qualification at AQF level 10, or demonstrated equivalent research experience as approved by the Research Degrees Committee||Y||Y||N|
|Must be research active in the relevant field of research||Y||Y||Preferred|
|Annual participation in at least one HDR supervision professional development activity||Y||Y||Preferred|
|Participation at a USC HDR Supervisor’s Induction prior to joining first USC supervision panel||Y||Y||N|
|Must be an experienced supervisor.
An experienced supervisor has previously supervised a HDR candidate to successful completion of their HDR program
Either of the Principal Supervisor or the Co-Supervisor must meet this requirement of experience.
In cases where the Principal Supervisor does not meet this minimum experience requirement, the Co-Supervisor mentors the Principal Supervisor through their first complete supervision experience.
|Academic appointment at USC for at least the proposed duration of candidature||Y||Preferred but not required||N|
|May be external to the University||N||N (unless an exemption is granted by the Research Degrees Committee)||Y|
|May be an Adjunct of the University||N||N (unless an exemption is made by the Research Degrees Committee)||Y|
|Supervisory workload||Maximum 90% of the supervision load for the candidate.||Minimum 10% of the supervision load for the candidate.|
4.3 Exemptions to supervision panel matrix requirements can only be granted by the Research Degrees Committee. The Office of Research will maintain a record of granted exemptions.
4.4 When a candidate is located partly at an external organisation, an Associate Supervisor who is a member of the external organisation is appointed.
4.5 The Research Degrees Committee will approve supervisors for each candidate, in consultation with the relevant Associate Dean (Research) or nominee. The supervision panel must be approved prior to the commencement of the degree.
4.6 The supervision panel arrangements will be reviewed and confirmed in conjunction with confirmation of candidature.
4.7 Supervisors must advise the relevant Associate Dean (Research) or nominee of any perceivable conflict of interest between themselves and the candidate or other members of the supervision panel. Supervisors must not engage in supervision of candidates with whom they have a close personal relationship.
4.8 The relevant Associate Dean (Research) or nominee is required to approve any change of supervisor. If the Principal Supervisor leaves the university, the Associate Dean (Research) or nominee has responsibility for ensuring continuity of appropriate supervisory expertise is maintained throughout candidature. Relevant Form: Research Plan.
4.9 If the Principal Supervisor is absent from the University for a period in excess of 6 weeks, the Principal Supervisor and relevant Associate Dean (Research) or nominee organise alternative supervisory arrangements for the period of absence (with approval from the Research Degrees Committee and reported to Office of Research). Relevant Form: Research Plan.
4.10 Faculty and School will give proper recognition of the workload required for supervisors to carry out their duties, taking overall workload into account. Supervisory loads will be monitored by the relevant line manager and by the supervisors themselves. The ratio must be low enough for effective intellectual interaction. A supervisor whose other duties have not been reduced (for example teaching, administrative duties) should not normally be permitted to have a total supervisory load greater than the equivalent of five full-time candidates.
Supervisors from a different faculty to the HDR candidate must have approval from the relevant line manager to participate on the supervision panel.
4.11 Principal Supervisors of a candidate who has overdue milestones which have not been addressed in progress reviews or by extension request (or other change to candidature as appropriate) may not be required to undertake specific professional development, and may not be permitted to accept new HDR enrolments (refer to section 5.1 for further information).
Supervisors who are found to be lacking in any aspect of quality HDR supervision may also be required to undertake specific professional development, may not be allowed to take on new students and may be removed from the Register of HDR Supervisors on the recommendation of their line manager and on the approval of the Research Degrees Committee. In such cases alternative supervision arrangements will be made for current candidates for whom the de-registered supervisor is a member of the supervision panel.
5.1 The Office of Research will provide regular candidate milestone reports to Principal Supervisors to support them to monitor the progress of their HDR candidates and to resolve any outstanding milestones.
5.2 Supervisors experiencing difficulty with any aspect of their supervision of an HDR candidate should discuss the problems with the candidate and Co-Supervisor(s) in the first instance (if appropriate). Where the issue cannot be resolved within the supervision panel, the matter should be brought to the relevant Associate Dean (Research) or nominee for resolution. Where the Faculty 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.
5.3 Where supervisors do not wish to discuss the matter with the candidate or the other members of the supervision panel (e.g. in the event of a breakdown in the supervisory relationship) they should approach the Faculty 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 Office of Research.
Supervision professional development
6.1 The University will provide supervision professional development opportunities and resources for supervisors. This includes a Supervisor’s Induction.